The Bark of Life

I am fooling only myself when I say my mother exists now only in the photograph on my bulletin board or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on in everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay. Loss is our legacy. Insight is our gift. Memory is our guide.
–Hope Edelman, Motherless Daughters

I love that quote and even though I knew what it was saying, I didn’t really understand what it was saying. Well, not until yesterday that is and the sad part is it took me a few years to finally get it.

I’m the caregiver for my grammers who was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few months back so between taking care of her and being the ‘guardian’ of my younger brother as well, I’ve been stressing to the point of overload where I didn’t even want to take my camera out which is something I love to do and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t wanting to anymore. I admit, I am the world’s worst when it comes to asking for help and knowing when to ask for it; that I know I get from my mama.

I was telling my uncle how my grammers is remembering her past more and blaming things that I know I didn’t do because, well I wasn’t born yet and as I was telling him about certain things all he could do was shake his head and laugh.  He ended up telling me that I remind the family of my mama because I look like her when she was my age and just how I am is how she was and no one ever told me that before and that’s when it finally clicked. My grammers sees my mom in me and when she starts to blame me for things (that I know are from the past), she’s upset at my mom because of what she said or did, so when those times pop up; instead of stressing over them like I have been, I can’t help but smile because I’m learning more about my mama when she was younger that I otherwise would know nothing about.

There has been so much going on that I needed to spend some time to myself reflecting over all the things that have happened in my life and how they all brought me to where I am today and usually when I start reflecting, I tend to notice those things that most people wouldn’t. After all the meditation, reflecting and spending one and one time with God; my day was brightened; so I took my camera out to the backyard to see what all I could find that I hadn’t already shot.  There’s this pine tree we have in the back that really isn’t that pretty looking if you look at it as a whole and the closer I got to it and really paid attention to the detail that’s in the bark, I realized that though it may look rough and ugly, it’s actually quite beautiful.

Life in a way is kind of like the bark. It can look ugly and rough but the more you look at it the more beautiful it becomes. It’s one of those small things that’s overlooked like many of the rough patches in life that are beautifully disguised as life lessons.


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