That is the song they played at my mother's funeral service, it is the song they played at her fathers funeral service and it is stuck in my mind the past few days.
Shortly after my mother had passed away from a horrific 6 1/2 month battle with lung cancer, my dad, my sister and I went to Asheville. We were there for the church homecoming, I believe it was September.
Emmas Grove Baptist Church was founded by my great great grandparents and when I was little, I was related to almost all of the folks that worshipped there. Either we were related of my parents had grown up with them,there in Fairview.
Homecoming is the time of the old "dinner on the ground" for the church. A celebration of family and ties to the community, etc. My dad wanted to go, so we took him. It was quite an experience for my sister and I! We survived it however it wasn't always easy.
During the church service there is even more music than usual. As something of a tribute to my mom, the male singer decided he would do "Peace In The Valley". As soon as he started the song, I looked at my daddy, sitting in his wheelchair in the aisle next to our pew. He was crying. He looked so frail and lost. He and my mom were married 54 years and knew each other all of their lives. I started to cry a little bit, but thought I could get it under control. My cousin Lura was sitting next to me and held my hand patting it and put her arm around me. I lost it. I had to leave the sanctuary. I went downstairs and outside and I cried so hard from the bottom of my soul. I felt my mother and I MISSED HER so much in that moment, I didn't think I would be able to bear it.
I walked out into the graveyard next to the church. I sat down in my nice church skirt in the grass next to my mothers tombstone. I put my hand on the stone and realized very quickly that I had no ties to that rock and that plot. I understood then, as I thought I had already known, that my mother wasn't there, she was wherever I was. She was as easy to reach as she had ever been. I got up and walked to my grandmother's tombstone. Again, I felt the same way.
What I realized in those moments is that I missed them in a very visceral way. I longed to touch them and be held by them. I STILL DO. I'm not sure you ever get over the loss of your mother, your best friend. MY MOTHER, MY BESTFRIEND.
There are so many things I want to share with her every day. The way I feel about dad being sick, how excited I am about school, the trouble I am having getting rid of all this weight, the joy I am having writing again, and last, but not least, the love of the man in my life and our future plans. These are things I want her counsel on.
I want her to lay her hand on my forehead and speak to me in her soothing voice. I want her to laugh with me about something stupid on TV. I want her to be silly with me. I want her to fuss at me about something dumb I have done. I want to hug her close to me and call her "my little momma".
She has been gone since January of 2000. I miss her EVERY DAY. I think of her many times a day. It is getting less excruciatingly painful.....that sounds dramatic, but for a long time it was difficult for me to breath when I thought of her death. Now it is less painful. I more often think of the good times than of her dying now. That is progress. The loss is still pretty raw....but no longer hemorrhaging. For that and so many things I remain eternally grateful.