Wednesday, January 01, 2014

::In 2013::

nani.knits

I haven't a clue how this will work out. Writing about 2013. I've dreaded it. And somehow longed for it too. Incapsulating the year in order to frame it up and make sense of what it turned out to be. I really feel and have felt so utterly speechless.  I sit in the same spot on my bed as I did last year. Though last year, still a few months pregnant, a few months bewildered, I sat atop a freshly made bed in the morning light.  Looking back on that day, I recognize that I was holding my breath.  Knowing how this year might turn out.  This moment I sit in the same place.  But in the dark of my room, buried under the rumbled quilts.  Not above them.  It is cold.  So many voices through my house.  The year was such a bigger part of my life than I can effectively write here.  But if for nothing else it is so necessary to fulfill what has become my own custom.  I cannot make a summary.  But I can share a vignette and do my best to describe the most memorable moment of my year. It is an image that when I look at it in my mind still, I see it as illustrating every day, every thought, every prayer, every dream, and every hope that I have.

It is this.

Once my mother was at home in hospice I was able, to spend many days with her.  Her bed was set up in the round, windowed sitting room off of her bedroom and each morning, we would watch the sunrise.  She only opened her eyes every now and then.  Sometimes to see me and smile.  Sometimes to rub my belly. Mostly she would just look out at the water.  Her face watching the sunrise was like a child.  It was as though she was in disbelief at the beauty.  She would frequently make the sign of the cross over herself.  She had a hard time breathing.  She had a hard time getting comfortable.  I would rearrange her pillows dozens of times a day.  I read prayers to her.  I told her what the baby was doing in my belly.  I brought in visitors now and then.  My sister was there some days too.  Juliana and Nicolas each a day too.  But most of her 13 days at home in hospice care it was Dad and I.  Day and night.  I didn't want to ever leave her side or let go of her hand.  I never wanted her to wake and not see anyone there.  Even at night in the dark.  Dad would beg me to go sleep.  I kept trying to convince him that even 36 weeks pregnant I was fine to sit up in a chair at night next to her.

One night I finally made him feel a little better by curling up in the small sofa near her bed.  I positioned myself and left a small light on so that she could see me.  This room that she was in, it was where she had always read and prayed.  It is filled with icons on the walls.  Though most of it is windowed, with views out to the river.  So at night you feel afloat almost.  In a vessel.  Very late when she sat up needing a drink, my father rushed to get it so that I wouldn't.  I forced myself to lay there.  Watching him help her to drink.  She settled back into sleep, but sitting up in bed, as that was easier on her breathing.  My father sat in the chair next to her bed.  There was beautiful moonlight on the water all around in the dark.  I could see the profile of their silhouettes.  We all fell asleep.  I awoke again.  In the glowing room, from my place on the couch their heads bowing in sleep towards each other made a perfect archway against the moonlight outside and the walls aglow in low light from a single lamp.  I looked around to the icons, all the saints, and Christ and the Holy Mother, and their gestures all seemed set in motion and alive, golden.  I felt afloat.  It all moved but not in a dizzying sort of way just in a very alive sort of way.  I felt little Mary kicking within me.  I was grateful to be present, I cried tears of thanks to be an adornment in this architecture of my family.  Under their archway.  Within this womb where my mother had invested prayer and love and thought for each of us every day.  I will not forget that peace amidst the turmoil of losing one so dear.  I will not forget the ever moving light that guided her and all of us through those days.  Yes in sorrow.  Yes in anguish.  Still to this day it is sadness.  But it is filled with hope and light and an example of how to live and I am thankful for all of it.

I nursed my precious girl in the dark of her room a few nights ago before finding my way to gently lay her in bed.  I realized something about darkness and about myself.  If you're patient and you trust everything that you know, your eyes will eventually adjust to all that needs to be seen.  The rest falls away.  You will able to see just enough to keep from stumbling in the dark.  But it takes a little time.  Remembering where you are.

I think my eyes are just now adjusting a bit to the dark.... this new life without my mom.  There is so much to see.  Much to do.  Much to give thanks for.  I am glad for the turn to a new year and the marked reason to see things a little fresher.  I have been given sunrise after sunrise and I suppose another will come tomorrow.

I wish you love and light in 2014!!!
xoxoAnna Maria

(On the needles above for my niece Grace, who shares a birthday with my mother in February...more on my knitting journey soon!)

74 comments:

  1. This is certainly a different summation than last year. Anna, thank you for sharing these beautiful words with us. For giving us a glimpse of your life, the dark spots as well as the celebrated ones. As I sit and read this, I think of myself never wanting to relate to the loss of a mother, yet reflecting on my own journey over the past year and beyond and how much has changed. Thank you for sharing your gentle strength with us, your readers. God bless you and your beautiful family this year!

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  2. Anonymous9:35 PM

    Anna, I only know you from reading your blog, but you have been in my thoughts during this holiday season. I know you lost your dear mother this year, and I have been praying for you. Your blog post about your last days with you was so beauitful. Thank you for sharing earlier about her loss so that I would know to pray for you and your family.

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  3. Thank you for always seeing the beauty in everything...it makes this world a better place! Happy 2014 to you and your family!

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  4. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Anna, you have been on my heart so much, as you face this holiday season missing your mom. She was such a loving, grace filled, peaceful lady, and I miss her gentleness. I lost my mom not long before you lost yours and I know how bittersweet this time is. She was always proud of you and your brother and sister and she adored her grandbabies. She is holding them close. Hugs to you.

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  5. Such a beautiful memory to hold close in your heart. And I can see how it now lets your spirit rejoice in all the memories. Thank you for sharing those moments and all the others before.

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  6. May God bless you and your beautiful family!

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  7. These are such beautiful words. You are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing, and God bless!

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  8. I have no words, but I could not leave without saying that this moment has brought me to tears. That love and grace were clearly present in your mums last days. And that I am so glad that you have this memory to take with you and help soothe the wound that her loss is.
    E xx

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  9. Thank you for your beautiful words and for sharing with us. All the best for you.

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  10. Such a beautiful post Anna Maria. Wishing you and yours peace, happiness and contentment in 2014.

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  11. Such a heartfelt post. If it helps, know that you are not alone. We have struggled to see such heartbreak among our friends and family this year; four children buried, four miscarriages mourned, and my darling grandfather laid to rest. I think sometimes the tough years are sent to make you appreciate the simple, and important, things in life. Wishing you health, happiness and lots of good things for 2014.

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  12. blessings to you and yours in 2014! thank you for all the inspiration, honesty and friendship. xo.

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  13. my dad died this fall, and the darkness that lies over this whole season is a new one to get a handle on... the unreality of this reality, the humility about all that i did not know... you did bring a spot of light into this for me, none of us are alone, and that is, frankly, astonishing.

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  14. "I realized something about darkness and about myself. If you're patient and you trust everything that you know, your eyes will eventually adjust to all that needs to be seen. The rest falls away. You will able to see just enough to keep from stumbling in the dark. But it takes a little time. Remembering where you are." I find this quote so deep with meaning. Prayers for your 2014, I lost my Dad in 1989 and I felt this post so fully. Wishing you health, happiness, and peace in 2014

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  15. Beautifully written.

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  16. Such touching optimism is what life is all about.
    Wishing you a year filled with light x

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  17. One of the hardest things in life is losing your mother. My husband went through this 2 years ago. Hugs to you and prayers for a fresh new year.

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  18. Dear, sweet woman, thank you for sharing your life's thoughts and experiences...

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  19. Beautiful.
    Love and light for you, too.
    Thank you~

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  20. Anonymous10:41 AM

    I lost my Dad four years ago this month. likening it to sight adjusting in the dark is a very succinct description. It took time for my eyes(heart) to adjust to the darkness. But little by little they dark fades and the sun starts to rise :) Thank you for sharing. God Bless

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  21. Dear Anna Maria,
    Thinking of you. This was a beautiful tribute to your precious Mother. Thank you, Sondra

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  22. Anonymous12:13 PM

    I discovered your blog a few days ago,so I don't know much about you,but thanks for sharing your story,I think it wasn't easy for you.Thinking of you,may your mothers soul rest in peace.

    Good thoughts from Romania!

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  23. I think that's what you call a holy moment...

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  24. lovely, lovely love. having just done the same journey with my mom that ended Dec 4 i believe you captured the vignette perfectly. i too curled up on a chair in her sight with a lamp on so when she opened her eyes she would know we were with her. it is such a sad time but i wouldn't trade that time away, its precious, its a gift to be able to give the love back to your mom that she gave to you everyday of her life. hugs

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  25. Very beautiful writing about those precious last days and hours with your mom. I was with my dad at the end and will never forget those moments myself. So hard to lose a parent, so many things we wish we had asked about or learned before it is too late. I hope 2014 is full of happy memories for you!

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  26. your writing always somehow puts tears in my eyes. my mom lost her mom when my mom was my age (almost 39). i cannot imagine being without my wonderful mom, and so i pray peace and comfort for you, and for a joyful new year.

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  27. A beautiful post. I am sorry for your lost but rejoice in your new little one. Blessings to you and your family.

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  28. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Your analogy to the dark is spot on. Your eyes will adjust without you even realizing it. Wishing much love and light to you and yours this year as well!

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  29. what a blessing of a mother; icons and lampadas lit; we live in the light of beauty that saves us, thanks be to God; may God remember your Mother in His Kingdom!

    *

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us; it has stayed with me all day and is a true picture of beauty that saves us...the Mother of God's prayers and her icon ~ may they always be with you and uphold you through the year that comes with your Mother not physically with you...

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  30. This is so beautiful, your writing of life. All around there is love and there is light, and the laying down, and the marking with the cross. Thanks be to God for the blessed, blessed peace He has so graciously given you amidst the sorrow.
    May this new year bring you more of His choicest blessings.

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  31. Today I was thinking of my Mother & my favourite quote came to mind. I think it would suit you..."All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my Mother."

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  32. so beautiful. thank you for sharing your heart. blessings in the new year.

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  33. Anonymous8:34 PM

    I've never posted here before and am doing so now through tears. Your words have brought me back to my mother's side as she lay dying. I had the exact same feeling. Not wanting her to ever, ever wake up and not have someone holding her had. Someone by her side. A hospice saint saw this and said to me, "Dying is an incredibly personal experience. One that many people choose to do alone. Go take a shower. Go take a nap. Let her choose." I will never forget those words and that moment. A hug to you and a hug to your heart and a hug to our Moms - they made us who we are.

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  34. God rest her soul Anna. You have given so much life to so many of us through your work, and she is alive in all that you do.

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  35. Such a moving beautiful post, Anna Maria. You touch many hearts and souls with your writing. Thank you for always sharing your deepest emotions and heartfelt words. I only know you through your blog which I have enjoyed reading for many years now, and I want to say you are a beautiful, amazing, talented woman. I look forward to reading each and every one of your inspiring posts! Wishing you and your family a blessed joyful New Year!

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  36. Anna, thanks for sharing your sorrow and inspiration.

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  37. I really liked your post. I even took down notes of some of the sentences to keep them in my little notebook for times when I need some light and hope!
    All the best for 2014

    Carla

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  38. Although I've finally started to return to blogging, I also haven't been able to write about last year. It's too big.
    I'm sad that I still can't allow myself to remember the last days with my mum.
    Your words are beautiful, as always. I hope 2014 is beautiful for you xxx

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  39. Beautiful. I could see it. Thank you so much for sharing such an amazing moment.

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  40. Beautiful. A very touching recollection of the last days. It sounds like she was comfortable and Jesus found repose in her heart. May God rest your mother's soul.

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  41. So sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful memory.

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  42. such beautiful thoughts and visions... peace...

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  43. Beautiful and peaceful post. I hope you don't mind if I quote you. I think your words will help many find peace as they too struggle in the dark. Blessings Anna

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  44. We are given new Mercies each day! You are beautiful! Much Peace and Love

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  45. thankyou for sharing your heart with us. it is so beautiful and moving. much love and hugs to yous. xoxoxo

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  46. Kathryn4:03 AM

    Oh. Much love to you. You've been an inspiration for years, and not just because of your talent, it's your heart and soul, too. x

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  47. Anonymous5:11 AM

    You are such an amazing woman such beautiful descriptive writing it was as though I was in the room with you. Your mother must have been a beautiful soul may she now be at peace and watch over all her little family.Hope 2014 is filled with much love and happiness for you and your family.x

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  48. Your gift for writing is only paralleled by your gift for designing. Bless you and your family in this new year.

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  49. Thank you for your words.
    I too went through the valley of death with someone very dear in 2013. My own Father is now in his *longed-for real heavenly Home*.

    He entrusted me with his care during last of his Life here on earth. I love him all the more for the privilege of those weeks.

    Your thoughts are so poignant.

    XOXO
    ~Carolyne

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  50. Anonymous11:35 PM

    Beautifully written. You are so able to encompass in words what many of us have in our hearts when we loose a beloved family member. Thank you for sharing Anna. May 2014 bless you with many wonderful surprises.

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  51. Anonymous2:24 PM

    "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." - Psalm 116:15

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  52. Anonymous10:21 PM

    Thank you, my mum passed away 11 years ago and reading your experience had me right back at the exact moment that I realised my precious mum had passed. I was in her room only moments earlier and decided to get some fresh towels from the laundry for her ...and then she was gone. I remember standing in the doorway watching her and thinking - thank you God - Mum is now at peace.

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  53. Beautiful. There is nothing as precious and blessed as the time spent with a loved one in their last days. No regrets.

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  54. That was truly beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  55. Sending you big, big warm hugs from Berlin Anna with lots of love and light in 2014, xoxo

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  56. Beauty and grace and faith and peace in your words.
    My mom passed away when I was 19, a long time ago... I only wish I'd had someone to guide us through the experience. Our dad wanted to protect us from the hard parts and so there is so much more I wish I had done- for him, for mom, for me.
    I try to forgive myself for not being there more, but it still weighs heavily on my heart. How blessed you are to have shared this time with your dad, and with your mom. Thanks for sharing it with all of us too.

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  57. Thank you for putting into words those precious moments you experienced. I'm speechless in response and want to ponder so many different things you've said for a long time.

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  58. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post! Reading your blog is very often an experience like no other blog gives me.This time again your words have deeply touched me. The process of pain leading to acceptance through beauty is, to me, one of the most important motives for artistic creations.Extracting beauty from pain. Only great artists are capable of translating this into a unique testimony of their art. For me you are such an artist in your designs and in your words, here, in this blog.
    I hope this year will surround you with love and light!!

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  59. Thank you for this lovely, beautifully written post.

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  60. This brought me to tears. You write so beautifully. Your mom would of loved to read it. Peace.

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  61. as always Anna, I have been touched deeply by your words. God has given you many, many gifts, and it shows. May your heart reap many joys as you continue to find peace and beauty in all of His creation.

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  62. Anna, this is just beautiful.

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  63. Anonymous5:46 PM

    I lost my husband just after Christmas. He was only 47 & cancer caught up with him. He had so much to live for & yet this disease was beyond anyone's control. And yet even I can find wonder in his last days (sometimes).
    Be thankful for your mother & her long life. Be thankful for the beauty of life in her last days.
    Thank you for your beautiful post.

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