I’ll Fly Away

A Walk on the Beach
Edward Potthast

Will, the girls, and I are taking a little family vacation this week. I wish I could tell you about all the educational aspects of our little foray and include photos, but that will have to wait. We are first and foremost getting away to have some quiet time together as a family. Since the loss of my mother, I have been relentlessly pushing people away from me including my own husband and children. I haven’t really cried about things, but I wouldn’t even know what to cry about if I could.

My mother and I had a complicated relationship. I wish I could tell you what a wonderful mother she was because, in turns, she was. But then, it would feel like a half-lie. And a half-lie is almost always or usually very nearly a full lie. If I tell you of the other topsy-turvy, spinning turns of my life with my mother, I would feel like I was betraying the good in her. She was a woman living her life as best she could on this planet. How can I criticize that?

If I tell you how much I want my mommy right now, you would assume I meant my mother. I assumed I meant her. Now I am not so sure.

I feel so lost. I want someone to hold me, rock me back and forth and softly, through my great heaving sobs, tell me that everything is going to be okay. Someone who won’t care that I am getting her shirt all wet with my tears. And I want to stay there as long as I need to stay there. Not until she tires of it all and plops me back down on the hard wooden rocker all alone. I want to be able to cry myself to sleep and wake up still in my mother’s arms. But not really my mother.

My husband wants me to get on with my life. To buck up. To be the adult. I don’t want to be the adult right now. I want to have a great, screaming meltdown in the middle of the supermarket floor just as the cart is already half full of groceries and everyone is staring and muttering that someone really should do something about this child.

My children want me to help them with their math problems. To fix their dinner. To clean the tub. I want someone to do those things, too. Someone to make sure I have fresh sheets on my bed and a clean dress laid out for tomorrow. Someone who knows where my shoes are.

Where is she? Where is this person called Mother. Who is this person called Mother? Why is everyone looking at me?

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  1. I am saddened by your post,
    but am enjoying your blog immensely.
    The music by Nick Drake is beautiful,
    I had never heard it before.
    The black and white photos
    of your family are lovely.

    Reply

  2. This month marks 5 years (April 20th) since my mother left this world for her heavenly home. Even this week I wanted to throw a tantrum in the middle of the park. I cried in the car on the way to the grocery store.
    The pain is not less, I have just grown use to it. I have found the Mother I need in my Heavenly Father. (ok I know he is my Heavenly Father but he has the qualities of both genders)
    He listens to my cries, He wipes away my tears, He does not mind if I get angry with Him. I crawl up in His lap and let Him stroke my head and I fall asleep.
    This is starting to sound like a new blog post. I think I will make it one.

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  3. Dear Firefly,
    I just happened upon your very personal blog….I love the simplicity of what you share and what you see through your camera. I can identify with how you are feeling….my husband has been finally diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has been very, very depressed and suicidal for a long time now. I feel lost too sometimes. Really lost.
    As I was reading about how you feel, it is wonderful that you CAN feel this way and understand how important YOU are to your girls. Just think, you know what you desired in your relationship with your mother and what lacked….you can make up for that now with your children. I know it hurts when you want the comfort and security….it really hurts, but fill those empty spaces up with love and comfort towards your own girls. Do you know how rare it is to have a mother who will take the time these days to really know her children….to really be there for them and hold them. Brush their hair, put out those clean clothes….to care enough to take the baby when going down for a nap and put on a comfortable cotton undershirt and clean nappy and nurse them to sleep. Even to kiss their little sweaty head off to sleep!!!!! It is RARE!!!! You are a gem!!!!!!!!!!! What a blessing for your girls AND your husband.
    Well, I have to go and check on my little pumpkin upstairs now….he is fast asleep. I am building my blog called “The Late Bloomers In Life Ladies Society”……yeah, pretty long name. But I am 41 (almost 42) and have children ages 24,18, 3 and 1 year old. No kidding. I am far from perfect and far from even sometimes being a “fine lady”. But I do love God and really do try to be pleasing….but alas I fail miserably lots of times…..I hope we can become good friends. I hope you find rest and enjoyment on your vacation and God will place in your heart a new perspective.
    C.A. Worcester
    http://www.latebloomersinlife/typepad.com

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  4. Wow. I know exactly what you mean–it doesn’t make sense, my mother is still alive but when I cry out for her that is not who I really mean. All I know is that somehow in the end the Lord always comes to answer that cry in me.
    I am praying for you. My heart goes out to you.

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  5. Dear Firefly, I just popped over to congratulate you on your (still unofficial) win in the Homeschool Blog Awards–but this doesn’t seem like just the time, does it? Praying for you–and I will email you later too.

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  6. sometimes, in my opinion, it’s okay to just go ahead and have the tantrums in the grocery store or to cry ourselves to sleep. those feelings won’t last forever – or at least they’ll come and go.
    you are in my thoughts and prayers, my friend. i hope you find some peace and comfort in vacationing with your family.

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  7. I can relate entirely, every single word you said. I wish I could be that mommy you need, but I struggle every day to be the mommy my own children need. What a crazy thing it is to be a mother, to have a mother, to want a mother. What did God really have in mind for this? For us?
    Thank you for sharing your heart. Your thoughts will surely be on my mind today.

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  8. Oh, friend. I sigh from the depths of my soul for you – I feel your sadness in a very real, but strange way, for I have never lost a mother. But the way you write it, I sense your sadness in such a tangible way.
    I just rose from my knees on your behalf. May your time with your sweet family be blessed, and renewing.
    Hubby loves you. Daughters love you. All need you. May God strengthen and gird you to slide back into that role with a light spirit, and the love of the Father filling your heart.

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  9. Firefly, this is the most touching and tragic post I have read in a long time. I can totally relate, as my mother passed on two years ago and I also have mixed feelings about her. Yes, there is a hole. Yes, I am sad she is gone. Yet, I’ve been having to live without “Mom” for many more years than these two. I will pray that God will help you know how to heal and to grow. Here is a great big hug.
    Carol

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  10. Congratulations on your homeschoolblogger award! I hope that it encourages you to keep on blogging!
    Carol

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  11. Find the grace, and there, find the much needed rest.
    In kndness, Dana
    From a friend’s page… may it help:
    http://teeveebee.wordpress.com/2007/04/
    God?s Grace
    April 17th, 2007 at 9:37 pm (Gospel Notes)
    God?s Grace is immense. It spans the universe. His Grace lends significance to every-day life. Grace is the hammer that softens the blow. Grace plucks the sinner from the mire that is despair and sets him on a wide place, the rock that is Jesus Christ. Grace asks no favors; it is the favor of God. God?s Grace is deep. God?s Grace is wide. It is also pointed and precise. A blade that cuts to the quick, then heals and quickens. Grace preserves, transforms, destroys and edifies. Grace does not flinch at the truth. It is safe and predictable. It is dangerously wild. God?s Grace reaches to the heavens. It stoops low to illumine the dark hearts of men. Grace costs nothing, yet its worth is incalculable. Grace sentences the God Man to a tortured death on a wooden cross. Grace absorbs wrath. Grace gives life. Grace will have its way. Persistent, constant, irresistible Grace!
    Oh, to be a recipient of such a Grace as this! And so I am. Herein lies a mystery. How can it possibly be? By Grace the Son is my salvation. By Grace I am the object of the Father?s love. Grace invites me to fellowship with the Spirit. Bound by Grace, I am a willing slave. Utterly dependent, I am set free. Saved by Grace, unto Grace, and for the glory of God. In and of myself, I stand empty-handed save for God?s wondrous, astonishing Grace.

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  12. Hey, beautiful piece of writing. Especially the last line! I am truly sorry for your pain, but I appreciate how you are able to use it to create something beautiful that speaks to others…that’s art I guess.

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  13. Firefly~
    I hope that your family has a wonderful time together, and that you return refreshed and renewed. Be sure and find time for that cry. I’ve found that some of the best and most cleansing ones for me, have been the ones that I could not even give an intelligible reason for, the ones that were pent up for too long. All those little things really do add up to alot for a Mama anyways, but especially when you’ve got deeper soul issues storming within you already. I’ll be praying for you today, for peace.

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  14. You are in my prayers and I know all too well what you may be feeling. I have been in those shoes, ones in which I would rather not tread.
    I hope your vacation is a time of healing.
    Blessings,
    Hallie

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  15. It’s my first time surfing through. My first thought was, “Oh, we have the same mother.”
    My second thought is, “I’ll be right over. I love changing bed sheets; it’s my favorite chore.”
    I’m praying for you this morning.

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  16. I have the opposite issue. My feeling is want of Daddy. My parents split when I was the tender age of 2. Daddy went on to have another family in which he replaced me with two other little girls. Our relationship was never the same.
    I think that even when you are fully grown, there can be a hole in your heart left by a parent that can not be mended. It only remains to show us that we are broken people and no other person in our lives can really fill us up enough. The ones with the deepest potholes in their road of life are usually the ones who need the most from God. The wonderful thing about God is that He is able to fill ALL the holes up with His never-ending love.
    Your husband and children are God’s arms and hands in this physical world for you. They are there to embrace and love you, to share your burdens, to fill your life with companionship. Don’t let these precious years of fullness pass you by while you long for something that never was really there like you hoped. Trust me… sieze what IS THERE. It is better than the dream of yesterday.
    In the outskirts of your family circle, the rest of us are here to pray for you and provide you with friendship. Any time, night or day that you need to chat – you have my address and number. I’d be more than willing to change sheets if there wasn’t such a nasty-long drive between here and there. Maybe mailing you a good book and a card will suffice?
    Listen to all of these wonderful comments. Bask in the glory of your Father.
    YOU are the mother you always wanted now. It is your turn to serve and love. You are doing a good job of it. Your daughters will never have that same hole you have. You have stood in the gap for them. Well done, good and faithful servant. :)

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  17. I understand your grief. Not because my own mother has died, but because your mom sounds a lot like my mom. I have often felt as if I have no “real” mother, and wonder what that is even like?
    And now you grieve because you will never know. At least when your mom was alive, you had the chance to someday know.
    I am so sorry. :-/ Remember Psalm 32:8. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
    God has your back covered in a way that even the best mom could not.
    Love,
    Becca

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  18. Hello
    I love your blog and template layout. It’s just wonderful! I am JacqueDixonSoulRestES’s daughter from HSB. I added your HSB to my friends!
    Blessings,
    Jocelyn

    Reply

  19. Parts of your post I can COMPLETELY identify with! Yesterday was 12 weeks since Mom died. Last night in 3 seperate dreams, twice I watched her die again and once she was very sick and getting ready to die. Suffice it to say, it was an awful night and I’m feeling woefully sad today. I miss my Mom – dreadfully. I was very blessed and she was one of my closest friends especially in the last 5 or so years. The hole left by her absence is unfathomably large and the pain is great. ~ I hope your vacation away refreshed your spirit. Blessings to you and yours.

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  20. Praying for you, Firefly. (four words, but they say a lot.)
    Your poignant post got me thinking, too – am I that kind of mommy to my children? I sometimes look at myself through them, and wonder, would I want myself as a mom?
    Pondering, praying.

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  21. Oh, dear … an absolute window into what I know I will feel like when my own dear, misled mother passes. My heart mourns for you. May you find peace.

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  22. Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day and that makes it worse. My mom has been gone for a little over one year. I still absently pick up the phone to call her. The tantrum events seem to occur at random, unforseen times. It scares me that I’m the next one; the next responsible adult, the next person to be depended on, the next person in line for old age and…death. My idealistic, youthfulness was instantly removed from my soul. I mourn for that carefree existance. I want it to rock me and hold me and take me back to innocence. In my “moments”, I pray for God’s peace to flood my soul and He always provides.

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  23. I read this post today, coming over from Wittingshire, and first of all, it resonated with me. When I was away at school, and I’d get sick, I’d whine “I want my mommy!” and then I’d think about my own personal mother and look at my room-mate and say “Wait. Maybe I want YOUR mother.”
    I think the thing about death is …it’s so final. I know that sounds obvious, but what I mean is – there’s no more potential for change. There’s no more chance for the great Redeemer to work His magic in your relationship, and have your mother be who you need a mother to be.
    Maybe that’s what you’re grieving? The loss of potential?
    Praying for you.
    Susan

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  24. I hope it’s okay to say that I understand how you feel.
    My mom died so soon after I was brought to this world, and as a child I envied all the other kids I know. My friends were not allowed to complain about their moms, otherwise they’d hear from me.
    Now, I just treasure my relationship with my daughters, and am thankful to God everyday that I could be the “mommy”.
    What a beautiful post.

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  25. What a beautiful post.
    I think it is a blessing because how many of us have “complicated” relationships with our mother?
    We lover her, yet we struggle with her. With her acceptance of us, and with our decisions in life.
    It really is a complicated relationship, and your grieving blog spoke so loudly to me.
    You have a positively beautiful blog.
    Antoinette

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  26. My mom has been mentally ill for a while and while she was raising me things were all over the place. Sometimes life hurts so much I feel I need exactly your description, of being held and taken care of. I honestly don’t know how to be a mother and I want to be cared for like that, yet I have five children who need a mother. Your site is very beautiful, like the mother I wish I could be.

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  27. Having never lost a Momma, I still have this same feeling from time to time. I’d love to say that it is satisfied for me in Father’s lap, but alas, even that peace is elusive at times. Not because of Him of course…
    Oh, how I ache for you and your heart that is so raw!
    Father, please comfort Firefly…allow her to find this very real need met, someway, somehow…in You..because You will never leave.

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  28. I’m so sorry. I hate to say it, but I can commiserate with the feelings you expressed in this post. My mother has been deceased for 3 ? years, but really, the essence of her motherhood has been gone for most of my life. It’s so tricky to think about what could have/should have been and it makes me sad. I just hope I do a better job with my own children.

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  29. I linked here from Holy Experience am I am so grateful to have found your site. This post brought me to tears and means more than you know. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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