Thursday, May 08, 2014

Lightning Bug

When I was a kid, one of my favorite parts of summer was how my mom would let us stay outside til it got dark and sometimes even longer. On super humid nights, she'd give the four of us old pickle jars and we'd run all over the grassy hills of our neighborhood catching fireflies. We called them lightning bugs. We'd capture enough of them in our jars to light up our whole room and we'd stay awake as long as we could watching them blink and glow.  Finally, we'd drift off to sleep, our room still illuminated with their soft light.  They'd be gone in the morning,  either freed or dumped out by mom who probably had more than her fair share of animal/insect disposal, raising four country kids. Then we'd go out the next night and do it all again, blink and glow, slipping off into sleep, beautiful light. The circle of life.

I have never seen a lightning bug here in Austin. I know they probably exist, but the air just isn't quite as hospitable for them here, I guess. In almost 20 years, I've never seen one.  Last night, as I'm sitting on my back porch, sipping some wine and thinking about my mom, this one single firefly comes up and buzzes my head. I swatted it away at first, as you do when a bug comes right up to your face and then I swore, "holy shit."

 You know, I'm not sure what I believe happens to people and their souls when they die. I know they don't stay here. I know our bodies are just shells and the essence of what truly makes us who we are leaves and goes somewhere else. I like to believe it's a better place. I like to believe that our souls find peace and that suffering only exists for those of us who are left behind because we miss them and our heart aches because it's stretching itself to find a new way to love someone you cannot physically touch anymore.

Someone said something to me about how losing your mom is losing your closest connection to life itself. It's true. Your mom literally made you.  She was the first to feel your heartbeat. The person who served as your portal into this world. You knew each other before anyone else.  It doesn't feel right that  life should be still going on without her. I feel cheated that I didn't get to say goodbye to her. I have no idea what I would have said if I had the chance, but I know I would have liked to  tell her that she meant the world to me and that I was so very grateful for everything and that I loved her, really really loved her.

So I whispered it to a stupid lightning bug who lost its way and found me crying by myself on my back porch. "I love you, Mom" I said. blink and glow, beautiful light. And it flew away.

6 comments:

Mel Francis said...

Lee, this is beautiful. Really, really beautiful.

I am so sorry for your pain. I can't even imagine the depth or the rawness of your loss right now. But this blogpost? It serves your mom well.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful tribute, Lee! My heart aches for you and I Love you! xoxo
Courtney

Bammbaw said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mother! She was so proud of all of her children. I feel grateful that we just saw her and Mike last week. I will think of her when I see a hummingbird. She had three feeders in her yard and we spent hours on the porch watching them and talking mainly about our children. She was a great sister-in-law.
Becky

Bammbaw said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mother! She was so proud of all of her children. I feel grateful that we just saw her and Mike last week. I will think of her when I see a hummingbird. She had three feeders in her yard and we spent hours on the porch watching them and talking mainly about our children. She was a great sister-in-law.
Becky

Uncle Donald said...

Beautifully written by a faithful daughter's heart. Broken only the way the loss of her mother and link to youthful security and love...written from Lee's heart which spilled into these beautiful and poignant words.
The grief is immense now, and honestly it never truly goes away. But it does get mufflered over time at least so that remembering is more a joy than the pain you now feel.

Older not wiser said...

Whenever I feel blue, I got back and read this post and I feel you with me. Now I have a lightning bug I wear around my neck-given to me by our other wonderful sister.It's true you really shouldn't ever underestimate the power of sisters.