You are non-stop on my mind. Lately though, its been sad memories instead of happy memories. I feel like I’m in a rut. Everything seems so blah. And its not just me. Your dad has been having a harder time lately too. Is there such a thing as real winter blues? Or is it my anxiety of thinking that we are just months away from living our lives a whole year without you in the flesh. It is so heart wrenching not having you here. Tomorrow will make 9 months. May seems to be fast approaching and I just want time to stop. Or is it that in the first year, there are so many first that your dad and me have to go through that adds extra pain to our heartache?
Ash Wednesday was this past week, but a lot of services were canceled due to the weather. It didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t going. It would be another first that I wasn’t ready to face. I clearly remember taking you to last years service with my mom. I couldn’t tell you if your sister or dad or anyone else went with us, but there is a moment that I will not forget.
I stood in line, holding you, waiting to receive our ashes. They placed ashes on my forehead and I thought nothing of it. Then they placed ashes on your forehead and my heart instantly sank as they said the words:
Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.
I remember holding you and looking at you with almost fear or panic when those words were said. They struck a chord deep within that did not sit well with me. I have heard those words most of my life, but never did they give a different meaning until I was holding my precious sweet girl in my arms and my momma bear instincts kick in to protect. I wanted to wipe those ashes off and say “No thank you! Have a nice day. My baby and I will live happily forever, together.”
I sat back in the pew and remember making a comment to your grandma about the way I felt about the ashes on your forehead and that it seemed depressing. Never did I think my life would change so much in a year. Recollecting these memories from last year made me really research the meaning of Ash Wednesday. I had forgotten the meaning of what the ashes meant and why we celebrated this day and what Lent is really about. The ashes just seemed like a mark of death. When you go through the motions for so long, you forget the true meaning of the religious holidays.
So the late night research began. One quote that really struck me is by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, “Lent is the time that the Lord invites us to come back home, come back to the Church.” Maybe we have lost focus. Maybe Lent is what your dad and I need to get out of our rut, focus on our faith and delve a little deeper into our relationship with God.
Also might I add, that in my research, there are two different options that can be said while ashes are being placed on the forehead. The first I already cited. The second: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Wow. Much more up lifting. Maybe that should be used a little more often. Just a suggestion from a mom.
I’m not sure how you do it Evelyn. My heartache keeps me from writing. Finally I get the nerve to write and I’m crying so hard that I can’t see the keyboard. But by the end I’m smiling and I can think of you with happy thoughts. Why do I put this off when I know my misery will turn into happiness? I don’t know, but you are there for me every time. Love you.