Well, well, well….there is much to wrap up! So much growth and healing has transpired during this adventure, it is hard to capture in 1300 words or less. Even though I have included lots of photos to help capture pivotal moments, I simply must have two posts to cover it all! Hopefully you will bear with me a few more times, as I attempt to dissect all the goodness it has been my pleasure to know, in these dynamic and brilliant 52 Weeks.
Let’s start with a recap! My mission was:
#1 – HONOR my Mum, who I lost too soon
And what a mission! It was WAAAYYY more than I imagined it would be….reflecting, processing, articulating, then applying all of that, to my everything….a tall order that I failed too many times! Yet, each day starts anew….one step in front of the last, and here it is, a better day, a richer view, a deeper intention of regarding people….and life….precious. So precious.
Here is my LAST icon from memories of my Mum. These icons have been helping me every week, to add a fun, dynamic focus on growing into the woman I want to become. I saved the BEST icon for last, making this quite possibly my favorite post of them all; A little note from Mum a few weeks before she died. You may remember my lament over her not having a final conversation with me before she slipped into a full coma.
If anything should have been said on her deathbed, I believe she actually wrote it in this note. Her written words are ironically my most cherished icon, which I discovered amidst my own focus on written words, meant to honour Mum and find my better self along the way.
She writes: “Good morning! I love you. You are my special rose; more sweeter than its fragrance, more beautiful than its appearance. Mum”
She goes on to thank me for going into a thrift store with her, even though she know its makes my head itch to walk into those kind of places. As her writing tapers off onto the right side of the page, I cannot make out what else she was trying to say, although I have no doubt it was something to do with shopping! 🙂
#2 – HEAL hurts from my past and soften life’s scars
It was so easy to bury my pain with numbing behaviours, touting an invincible façade in an attempt to project wellness into my life. Drinking, promiscuity, and my pursuits of reckless freedom did nothing to offer healing for my emotional injuries, my spiritual trauma, or my physical recovery. Adrenalin made it feel like I was soaring….flying over barriers I dared never before to fly. I felt powerful, with nothing to fear; Time did not hold me….I held time, as I swooped higher and higher away from all the hurts that caged me in for so long. A year went by before I could no longer flap my emancipated wings. Exhausted, I stopped to look around, and did not recognize where….or who, I was.
I….was still lost. This….was still being caged. My life….was still as infected with the illness I had worked so hard to escape.
One night, through a fog of alcohol and the pressure to prove I was healing just fine, I looked at the stranger I had gone home with….took a deep, sobering breath and said….I am tired.
And I meant it. I took what was left of my dwindled energy, headed out that stranger’s door, and set my path toward getting back the parts I had shoved so far down inside, they threatened to never surface again. It was in that moment….I heard it.
The voice of Love.
It was entreating me through many voices, of people who had held me for a moment, as well as those who had held me since birth. It whispered to me, recalling memories of all the times It showed up; Reminding me of Truth.
Love is here. Peace is ready. Hurt is temporary. ALL will be restored.
Really….Restored? I have lost so much….my Mum, relationships with my kids, my faith, my identity….and all this is going to be restored?
These pictures are proof, that life is leaning toward Restoration.
#3 – LIVE how I want to be remembered when I am gone
Patience, Being Positive, Kindness, Gratitude, Graciousness, Humor, Strength, Smart, Generosity, Encouragement, Sensitivity, Curiosity, and Creativity all got my undivided attention. After exploring each of these 13 Characteristics I am attempting to have show up more in my life, I am ready to explore a 14th Topic!
In the words of Joel, the biblical prophet, “The Lord (whom I like to call Love) RESTORES to you, the years the swarming locust have eaten”. I have held this verse close to my heart in the 9 years since Love spoke it, and continue to cling tightly to it, as one swarm of locusts dissipates, and another gnarly throng grows.
I know I am not alone in experiencing ‘locust’ challenges that can seem like personal attacks. I have invited some of my locust attackers in….allowed them to multiply…. as they consume my vitality, creativity and hospitality, to ensure their own survival. It is in them to eat….use up….devour all they see. Sometimes, they kill each other to get enough.
My heart weeps for the public tragedies from this past week. Our world has always had natural chaos….hurricanes, fires, floods….where no one is to blame, so the trauma just IS. Calamities caused by human error or carelessness are harder to understand, although I think acceptance is possible for those seeking closure. But I cannot understand people who can control their behaviour, who choose when to hurt or destroy those who are innocent and vulnerable. What kind of strategies can we employ against this kind of human destruction?
I do not have the answer, but from my experiences of days that feel like continual plagues….where depression rises from abounding pain….where hope is blocked by a constant buzzing of tormenters….these are the moments that require my daily resolve to define for myself who I will be, how I will engage within the world given to me, and what legacy will I create for anyone filling my shoes. This requires complex reflection….and patience….but ultimately….Love, for ourselves and each other, to overcome….to Restore.
As I said, this theme started 9 years ago, so it is well overdue to be picked up again. My heart is bursting with all the Restorative, life-giving elements born from this revolutionary 52 Weeks. Once people heard or read about Finding 52, they generously gifted me some icons they had kept from Mum. I cannot say thank you enough for the stories, the photos, and the items shared with me. It is a rich blessing to be surrounded by such sweet souls.
These ‘things’ have been trickling into my life since the beginning of Finding 52 and I feel so humbled to make this amazing list to share with everyone!
Things Restored in my 52 Weeks: (in no particular order, because they are all very epic)
-Relationship with my oldest son,
-Tablecloths Mum made,
-Old family photos,
-My sanity, 🙂
-A healthy weight,
-Crafts Mum made,
-Photos of Mum,
-A Decorative Bag Mum gifted to her dear friend,
-Connection with the friend Mum named me after,
-Untold stories from people about Mum’s impact on their lives,
-Reunited with another son….one more to go….Love willing,
-Surpassed Mum’ s biggest regret by becoming a Grandma,
-Fully recovered from a brain injury,
-And….I am a better wife, mom, stepmom, friend, colleague, volunteer, and person….than I was 52 ‘Weeks’ ago.
Love kept showing up to surround my deepest pains, and stayed with me through hell facing nights. Peace uprooted the nagging fear of an unchallenged lie, that healing was not possible. Joy has faithfully persisted in lightening my heavy load, and brightening my path enough to stay grounded in hope.
So what will I do now with this Restoration? Stay tuned for Wrapping Up the Weeks – Part 2!