It is Mother’s Day; my third without my mother, and my second without my husband. All over the Internet and Facebook I view postings about lessons we have learned from our mothers. While I learned much about mothering, faith, and creativity from my own mother, for some reason this morning it is the lessons I learned from my husband that are uppermost in my mind. The truth is, David will always be a part of me, and since his death, I find myself repeating some of his phrases and contemplating our relationship. Live with someone for nearly 33 years and you are bound to learn something from them. I am lucky to have had such a wonderful man in my life, a man whose wise words now echo inside my head.
Life is short. David appreciated life. He’d survived a serious car accident at age 19 and cancer in 2006. When he was going to turn 60, I’d asked him if that birthday ending in zero bothered him, and he’d quickly replied, “No. Think of the alternative.”
David had dreams. There were things he’d talked about doing “someday”: visiting Alaska, flying in an airplane, learning to do some carpentry, traveling with me when the kids were gone. There were many things we never got to experience together, but he would be the first to advise me to live life to the fullest. I am certain he would have said; “If there is something you’ve always wanted to do, do it. If you have a chance at love or if there’s something you’ve been afraid to try, don’t wait. Whatever it is, go for it. Don’t worry about what other people will think or hesitate to follow your heart. Life is short and the only way to avoid failure is to never try.”
Tell the truth. I don’t know how many times in our marriage David watched me worry and fret about how I was going to explain something or wriggle my way out of an uncomfortable situation. He would naively suggest that maybe I could just tell the truth. I’d usually shrug away his innocent, well-intended advice. Like that would even work, I would think. But when I began following his sage advice he just smiled as I was amazed by the results. Now, when I am not sure how to handle a delicate or distressing situation, I remind myself of that advice and simply tell the truth. Go figure. Who would have thought; truth works.
Slow down. David hated seeing me worry or become anxious about keeping up with my responsibilities. “Can’t you just slow down?” he’d lament at the frenetic pace I kept. I will never forget that last Sunday before he died, when he paused on the steps and asked if I would come upstairs to lie down with him, and I replied, “I’m sorry. I have too much to do.” That is one of my biggest regrets today; I didn’t take the time to lay next to him and hold his hand as he rested. I would never have that opportunity again. Now, when I have a long to-do list and there is half a dozen things I need to get done, I think about how stressed I can get if I let myself. Instead of frantically multi-tasking, I consciously slow down. I make lists and prioritize. I start each day with quiet time and prayer and face one task at a time. And lo and behold, I still get stuff done, and without that constant anxious feeling.
As for my Mother’s Day drawing, congratulations to Mona R. who won the two books and the $20 Walmart gift card. Thank you to all who entered. Mona, please e-mail your address so I can mail you your prize~
Happy Mother’s Day!