My Mom, Betty Jane, was my best friend, my confidante, life coach and so much more.
When the going got tough, I could sit down with her, let it all hang out over coffee or a good gin and tonic and some jazz on the stereo, and she would inevitably offer advice that was subtle, yet spot on. I miss her every day.
Lately I feel as if I've lost my way a bit. We do from time to time. The way forward isn't too clear, and I cannot back track, so I'm dithering on the sidewalk, tired of doing the same thing every day and wondering how I can find the courage and motivation to make a change.
Times like this, I'd give anything to be able to go see Mom and have a chat.
Last week I had an ant invasion. They came out behind the heat pump on the wall, trooped brazenly along the ceiling moulding and traversed the top of the bookshelf to their destination on the kitchen floor. I put out some ant poison which they fed upon with gusto, carrying it back to their nest as they should. However many succumbed on their homeward trek, falling into the bookshelf and covering books, ornaments, CDs, DVDs .. you name it.
I mustered my domestic energy and set to with the vacuum, taking everything off the shelves to get up the dead ants. Standing on a chair to reach the top shelf, I discovered a book, way down the back which had belonged to Mom - 'Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now' by the wonderful Maya Angelou.
I could not remember how on earth it had ended up there, and assumed I had taken it after we went through Mom's things and placed it on the shelf. The book's pages opened up a to chapter called 'New directions' which told the story of Mrs Annie Johnson of Arkansas who, in 1903, was pretty fed up with the way her life was going so she ventured out with a new business. After thought, careful planning, and jolly hard, consistent work, Mrs Johnson was very successful. Maya writes: "She had indeed stepped from the road which seemed to have been chosen for her and cut herself a brand-new path."
I was telling a friend about this yesterday. She said, "That was your Mom helping out when you needed her. She was always there for you and just because she's no longer here doesn't mean she isn't with you. And what a feat she pulled off! She had to get the book onto the shelf, rally 20,000 ants, inspire you to clean up the mess and find the book!"
Maya goes on to say, "Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction."