There is a large interior window in a dance studio where I teach early childhood music. On one side of the window is the seating area for waiting families and on the other, my teaching space. As I was prepping for class this morning on my side of the glass, my students came in with their grown-ups, ran up to the window with their coats still on, pressed their faces against the glass, and waved.
There’s no missing their presence, even as I’m busy in my own world, getting things ready for them. They’re insistent and joyful, little two and three-year old faces, wildly waving and smiling and waiting for my response. And of course, I wave back, also smiling, but it never seems to be enough. They keep waving and I keep waving back. I’m not sure they see me, actually, it’s possible they see their own reflection primarily and me, only dimly. There’s a lot of light on their side of the glass.
I stood there waving today and taking in their sweet faces and I thought, this might be exactly the picture of what it’s like for me and my mother. She went to Heaven six years ago today and since that day, we’ve been separated and I’ve been waving. Like the kids, I’m still wearing my travelling clothes; I never really learned how to settle into a life without my mother in it. It’s been hard, and I need her take on so many things. I need her to tell me that everything really will be okay. And there’s no doubt that if she has any say in the matter, my mother not only sees me, but she’s right there and waving. She’s waving and smiling and maybe I can’t see her clearly because I’m too caught up with my own grieving reflection looking back at me.
There’s no way to reach through glass and touch someone on the other side, but, oh, how I wish there was. I wish we got something like visiting hours with our dear ones who art in Heaven, say, one hour every year or so, but that’s not the way it works. Accepting the way things are rather than the way I’d like them to be is a big part of what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown in the six years since she’s been gone. Still, I don’t have to like it, and I don’t.
Today I’m waving and trying to get her attention. And I’m sure she’s smiling and waving back. I wish I could see. Maybe she was making herself known through the teal fairy tattoo on the forearm of Mary, who checked out my groceries this afternoon, or in Mary’s kind smile. Maybe it was in a sweet text from my daughter. One thing’s for sure, my mother is busy getting everything arranged for her dear ones who remain on this side, choosing just the right music, getting our places ready, and preparing for that moment the doors finally open, and we dance.