Good tidings to you on the first day of Spring! I hope flowers and kindness and happiness it brings! Happy first day of Spring! It is one of my favorite seasons. It is quite the beautiful season; bringing new life, new opportunities, and the warm sun. Perfect time to garden.
It's also the perfect time for Spring cleaning! I was able to clean and bring out fresh quilts with floral tapestries that were handed down to me by my own mother, and I brought out all of my favorite vases for when the flowers begin to bloom and I can make exquisite bouquets. After a chore or two, I like to make chamomile tea with lavender and honey to relax.
I found something extraordinary when I got back to cleaning. I was dusting the picture frames and thought it would be nice to place more family photos around the house. I did receive new frames during Christmas. What a wonderful opportunity! As I looked around in my bedroom closet, I found several photo albums.
I flipped through every page in every one of them, taking out photos I wanted to use to decorate the house with. I found myself smiling ear to ear, with the occasional laugh and tear recognizing loved ones that have grown and passed. It was then I gasped and stopped. for I found a photo I never thought I had.
It was a photo of my mother in her mid-forties, holding me as a toddler wearing a very poofy dress. I was clapping my hands in the photo with a big smile. I assumed my father was making me laugh to smile in the photo. And my mother had a gentle smile, looking down at me with joy. Oh how I began to feel overwhelmed with joy and sorrow for this portrait.
I had told you before how there are not many photos of my mother. They were lost long ago. There was only one photo of her I had which was a grand family portrait where you can barely make out any of the faces unless you looked closely in the black and white background. And that is all I have of her.
I shakily brought the picture to my chest and wept. I thought I lost every photo of her I had. The truth is, most if not all photos with my mother were destroyed by my eldest sister, your great aunt Rachel, may she rest her soul. She destroyed them because she had a lot of resentment against my mother for how she was.
I struggle speaking of those memories, because I held mild resentment as well. My mother, your great grandmother, was not well throughout her life. She struggled with mental illness, depression, and anxiety. Living with her over time became nearly impossible because of her illness.
She would yell and yell until she lost her voice. She broke objects out of anger and cursed everyone she knew, whether they wronged her or not. She was a very bitter and self-centered woman. She never learned how to let go and move on from painful things, and refused to listen to anyone. She only wanted to talk about herself because she was in pain.
After a lifetime working in the fields, marrying a husband that cheated on her, endured discrimination, segregation, abuse, neglect, and poverty, she had a lot of reasons to not see the world as a bright and beautiful place, or that life was truly a gift. I was so fearful and obedient of her, but I was also defiant of her mindset, beliefs, and treatment of others.
I remember I would always put my foot down and take the most hits to protect Rachel, since those two got along the least, and my father would leave the house out of frustration. I would make her tea, bring her a pet, or just listen and talk to her if it helped her settle down. I would tuck her in when she drank too much and play with her hair to relax her.
I would console her when she was breakdown in tears, and bring her flowers I picked outside when she would stay in bed all day in a depressed state. I did things for her that, despite my fear and frustration as well, would make me very happy as a child. It would work too. But as time went on, even I couldn't reach her anymore. And we would argue.
She would call me terrible things and criticize everything about everybody, including myself despite all my efforts to be a good daughter. I had to move to my aunt's farm because at one point, my mother attempted suicide and had to be institutionalized. That would be the last I would ever see or hear from her again.
I knew my mother was not well, and all I wanted was to show her how beautiful life was to me. My aunt became like a second mother to me. She taught me everything I knew about writing, reading, poetry, gardening, quilting, cooking, you name it! We never spoke of my mother. To this day, I do not know where she is buried.
Rachel and my father would bring furniture and items from the house we once lived in, and that was when Rachel found several photos of our mother and ripped them to shreds. I cried and begged her to stop. It was all we had of her now. So finding one photo today, with just she and I together, looking happy even if it was just for the photo, was a gift.
My mother was not all a terrible person. She was kind to those that suffered more so than us. She would donate clothes to impoverished neighbors, and would save and shelter animals. I saw the beauty in her, and that is why I never gave up on her. I grew up and learned from her misgivings and mistakes, and vowed never to be the same.
I think this is why I am the person I am. I never think less of others, and value who they are. I listen and comfort people that need someone there for them, because I know how much they need that. I am always kind to mother nature, plants and animals alike. I still stand for what I believe in, and I believe life is good. Now I have a family too big to count every face.
Life is beautiful. I have hope in humanity and in the future. I believe in love and light. I choose to let go and move on and not hold bitterness in my heart, otherwise it will turn to malice and change me for the worse. I share my most powerful wisdom to those willing to listen and learn, so that they can understand and become their potential.
Now that photo is on it's own frame, with freshly picked flowers always around it, a cup of fresh tea at its side, and a burning candle. May she rest in peace, and know that I have a beautiful family with big hearts, wise minds, and valuable lives. And I will never think less of them, especially you, if you ever suffer so. You have the power to choose who you want to be. I made my choice long ago.
I love you all so much. Good luck with your studies. And now you know about a lost family member you never knew was lost, and a deeply kept part of my childhood. May her lost soul find peace. Choose to love, let go, and move on from hate and pain. That is our wisdom. -Bless