I wrote this letter to my mother in my journal while sitting on the above rock. It had been a month and a half since she passed, and I took a solo trip to Joshua Tree National Park.
Dear Mom, I miss you so much. I miss your laugh. I miss you in the morning when I visit, in your robe or pjs, making toast, sipping coffee or tea, so happy to see me. Your hugs at the airport, a small swell in your eye whenever I leave. Thank you for never making me feel guilty or bad for moving away. Instead you made me feel safe. Like I always had somewhere to fall. You taught me that it's not how much makeup one wears, but who they are inside that really matters. Heather [my sister] and I are our mother's daughters. I took a trip to Joshua Tree by myself. I needed time alone with nature. I wanted to take you to see the wild flowers. So many along the hike to that peak. You would be here with me. You would have come to SD for my birthday again this year and we would have laughed a lot, and gone to the beach. Joshua tree makes me realize that the littlest things make life extraordinary. All the tiny flowers that you can't see from afar, but when you get close you see how special each flower is. That's how I feel about each special part about you. From a far, you are like a pretty picture. But up close, there are jewels in each crevasse. Pearls of wisdom. Beauty. As I was home last month, spending a lot of time cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, sorting, clearing, I wondered why you didn't spend more time doing these things? Why did the entry room remain cluttered for so long? When was the last time you vaccuumed? And then I pictured you, rocking in your chair, Zoey on your lap, reading a book. And that is why. Because you understood that life is short, that you would much rather spend your hours reading, relaxing, loving your furry friend, than cleaning (something you didn't particularly enjoy). I get it now. A gem of wisdom you probably didn't even mean to leave me. I miss you so much. You were never afraid to just be yourself. You wore clothes that made you happy, comfortable. You were soft. In so many different, wonderful ways. Understanding, Yielding, non-judgemental, caring, kind, patient. This is wisdom. And you showed us that it is never too late to know yourself better, to find new joys, passions, lights. And you showed us that it is okay to rest and celebrate small victories along the way. That even contentment takes a lot of hard work, never mind the glimpses of happiness. You were strong. Showing emotion but still loving a difficult family who used guilt and shame to hurt you. You grew a shell to protect yourself and taught us how, too. You taught us that guilt and shame is not the way to love. Your love for us never tasted guilt or shame. It was pure. It is pure. You were so proud of us. I hope you saw all of your pieces inside us! My heart is big because of you. Love, Jessica