Slowing Down the Day

Do you ever hear your breath? In and out? Softly? Labored? Quiet. You have to slow down the day to hear it. I remember listening to my babies breathe as they slept in my arms. It slows down the day. I almost blogged the other day on how I should be blogging. I’ve had some things to say to you, but there hasn’t been time. Today, though. I slowed down. It’s a day of remembrance, see. And on those days, you must slow down. Three years ago this morning, my mother left us. She went to the safest place as brave as anyone, and now she is dancing around laughing with Jesus. I dreamed of her once a year or so ago doing this dancing. I think I wrote about it. Oh, here it is:

I saw her last night. She was with You. There was a meadow or a field or something. It was a green place…full of life.

She had on her boots. The ones she gave Maile. She was wearing her cowgirl outfit. You know the one she sewed herself with the material that she put on layaway at Leonard’s Department Store in Fort Worth? Yes, that’s the one.

You were sitting in a random chair at the top of the hill. She was dancing. She was so young. I just stood there and watched her beauty shine. I never saw her like this. She always looked like my mom. It was how I saw her.

She was skipping.

You were smiling at her. And then You smiled at me. Then she saw me.

I waved. Her smile brightened and she laughed. She laughed that loud, cackle laugh that I heard even in her hospice room. It was a lovely sound.

The trees swayed. She twirled around in her freedom. You were constant joy… just there.

I came closer and knelt. I put my head in Your lap. Your hand covered my head. Her hand pressed my shoulder. I heard her voice.

And I woke.

Thank you, Jesus…for this dream.

Anyways, she was lovely and she always was. I miss her. I always will. So, I slowed down. We didn’t do anything fancy. There are tickets everywhere for our school Fall Festival, and after church we all just sat and counted and sat and bagged tickets. Oh, and we watch half of the first season of Survivor. The girls had never seen that show. It was fun and slow and we ate popcorn. And we sang together in church loudly. And my heart squeezed in my tight chest while a daughter on each side of me played with my hands, my ring, my veins just as I would do with her. Her veiny hands were so cool to me and I held them in church and I moved her veins around and marveled at my thick child skin. Her hands were pretty and small and dainty. And I remember with a deep breath in holding her hand up to my cheek after she had passed and remarking, “She’s still so very warm.” to my siblings. My sister grabbed the other hand and nodded. My brother winced a little ready, kinda, to move forward, sort of. And then they came and took her body away, and we watched. And then we hugged each other wearily and left to go home. It was a slow day, a loud day, and I could hear my breathing.

And I remember her hand on my chest as a child having an asthma attack. Warm, comfort, light. Checking to make sure. Willing my breathing easier. And when any of us couldn’t sleep, she would gently play with our ears and it would work, oh wow, we would sleep. Her hands cooked begrudgingly with duty and sewed delightfully with grace.

And here these girls are, holding my hands, and playing with my veins, and I’m still here and breathing. My breath exhales in gratitude for the slow day, and maybe I’m not dancing, but I’m smiling. And I’m remembering. And I’m still loving. Thanks be to God.

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