Journey Home

We left Charlotte yesterday about 10 am worried about the weather. The reports on Hurricane Hanna heading north were daunting since we were headed right for it. Then a news report put up a map that showed the heavy rain and winds mostly along the I-85 and I 95 corridor toward Washington. We changed plans and took I-77 to I 81 over Fancy Gap and through the Shenandoah Valley. Clear skies and dry roads all the way.

Not so clear and dry inside the car. I don't usually ride up the road sitting in the back seat sobbing but that's how it was. Finally grief rolled over me and I could not stop crying. Fortunately Karen was with us so that she could share the driving with Jim because I could not take but one turn.

Since last week I have been trying to wear my best face and act like Mama's Big Girl and all that fell away today. I received an email from Patti on my cell asking "how are you" and I wrote back, "sitting in the back seat of our car sobbing." Right away my cell phone beeped and she answered, "sobbing is good. sobbing is necessary."

My friend Elizabeth first called me on this Mama's Big Girl tendency of mine some months ago when we were working on a story. She wrote to me - "make room to grieve, Ellouise."

I guess grief is making sure I pay attention to Elizabeth's advice. It has come calling and it isn't moving on.

Memories are crowding my thoughts - memories mostly of when Mama and Daddy were young and beautiful and hopeful. As the oldest I have many of those and I love them.
Its the stuff of story. I think I will stay with those for awhile.

And share them.

I called my aunt, mama's sister from the car. Lovely to hear her voice and tell her about the service. And to laugh with her. I told her a story - a new story - and we both laughed and I felt close to her and through her to Mama and Granny.

I will tell you that story tomorrow.

Today - I am not laughing.

Three weeks ago when I was with Mama she asked me, " you are going home tomorrow?"
"No, Mama, I am going home now."
She looked at me intently. Quiet. Then, " Ellouise, that's just the pits."
I replied, "yes, Mama, it is the pits."

I was wrong. This is the pits.


Kate Dudding said...

Dear Ellouise,

Yup, grief is the pits. After each of my parents' deaths, I felt grief roll in and overwhelm me. Sometimes I stayed there. Sometimes I left, knowing that I'd have to go back there eventually.

I've sent you thoughts of strength and peace -- YOU, not Mama's Big Girl. After my mother died, I found that it took time for me to adjust to being an orphan. A friend didn't understand why I called myself an orphan. Then again, that friend's parents were still alive...

Jim's eulogy was very lovely and moving - a great tribute to your mother. I'm sure there are many stories for you to mine to help you through this part of your life journey.



Kate, thank you for your generous sharing - and understanding. I have felt your sendings and they have helped.

Stories are the heart of it aren't they. I think of your images of your mother's hands and you encourage me to reach for the images that will give me comfort.

You are right - embrace the stories for they hold the healing.

Love, Ellouise

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