Looking for a Positive Future amid a Sad Present
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
My mom had a good day yesterday. I’d been worried about how things would go once the crowds had disappeared and Daddy’s absence became more pronounced. But she had, in my opinion, a good day.
There were some shaky times. Like a visit to the cemetery. Like my talking about how hard it can be to learn to sleep alone again. Like the exact details of his last day. Like what it will be like to sit alone at the kitchen table when you’ve spent 60 years sitting across from some- one who isn’t there anymore.
But she spent a lot of time with the girls and a lot with me, and we ran errands and did what we needed to do to get her through the day and the evening, too. We went out to dinner. We watched a movie. We rode around to view the Christmas lights in town. We sat in the rockers on the back porch and talked.
And she looked bravely toward an unknown future and talked about things she’ll do now to fill her time, things she’s never done before or, at least, not in a long time. She looked to the future in a positive way, for the first time I can remember. Her future, not mine. She’s looked to my future…to the girls’ futures…but never to her own in a positive way. Her own future has for so long been so bleak, it rips my heart out to think about it.
This time, for once, wasn’t about the dread of Daddy’s illness getting worse. It wasn’t about the worry of what might happen to him next. All the worst has happened now. All that is behind her now.
Our focus, as children and grandchildren, has shifted from Daddy to her. To whether she’ll be okay. To what vultures are waiting to descend and try to get a handout (be warned: Archangel Michael is on the job!). To which old men are going to realize how good my mama looks for a woman in her late 70’s and start hanging around. To whether she can write a new life plan for what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
Her own focus can now shift to her, too. For as long as I can remember, her focus has been on her children and grandchildren, and on Daddy. Never on herself.
Amid all the sadness of this past week, this is a moment of celebration, seeing her think for once of her own future, of her own potential for happiness. She’s always had someone else to put ahead of herself. It’s finally her turn. Amid the grief, it’s finally her turn, and I’m so wanting her to be happy again.