Julianne Marguerite wiped the tears that were forming in her eyes with her tissue and sat down after walking away from the casket that held her mother, Edith. Edith had passed away just a few days before and the thought of knowing that she was gone tugged at Julianne Marguerite’s heart strings. She looked around the room and saw familiar faces, many of which she had not seen, like her family, for over thirty years.
Julianne Marguerite silently chuckled to herself as she realized that many things may have changed while she was gone and people may have grown older but somehow it seems that we are always able to know who certain people are when we connect with them again…even as Julianne Marguerite had after all these years. Her thoughts veered back to focusing on her mother and how it was too late to ask more of the questions she wanted answers to, too late to try to reach out to Edith and try to soften her hardened heart, too late to try to help mend the wrongs that had been made, and mainly it was too late to hold Edith tight and tell her that it would all will be okay. With that last thought, more tears poured out from behind the dam that tried so hard to hold them back. Glancing over at the casket from her seat, Julianne Marguerite could see the fragile Edith, holding her rose as she was laying there smiling while soft music played in the background. Julianne Marguerite asked herself, “Who was my mother Edith?” “What made her the way she was?” And more importantly, “Was it too late to get answers to questions that haunted her for most of her adult life and even more so since reuniting with Edith after decades of being apart?” Julianne Marguerite began reminiscing on the woman she knew when growing up and somehow she saw her differently today than she did back then. She remembered her mother’s eyes and how when she spoke Julianne Marguerite could always tell there was more that Edith wanted to say, to reveal, but never did. There were times she could sense that Edith was afraid and insecure and that she carried hidden secrets that caused her pain.
Julianne Marguerite would never hear from her mother’s lips what the causes of these were, although she had her own ideas about what may have troubled Edith. She began to feel the pain her mother may have carried with her for years, and felt even more pain knowing that Edith was never be able to come to terms with the hidden secrets of her past and that she died unable to let others know why she was who she became. Again Julianne Marguerite took a moment to glance over and she decided to move closer to the casket. She looked at her mother’s hands and they shed some light on Edith’s strengths; how she used these to be the mother she knew how to be as she tried to raise her children. Julianne Marguerite thought of the thousands of meals she made, the thousands of loads of laundry she washed and hung to dry, and she thought of endless hours she spent knitting sweaters after we were all tucked into bed at night. Then Julianne Marguerite looked one last time at her mother’s smile and this showed her the greatest of Edith’s strengths…to be able to still smile despite all the trials and hardships she faced in her lifetime.
To still be able to smile knowing her failures, regrets and shames. The smile that she wore for many years that kept others from knowing what troubled her and how she believed that if she said nothing…all her pains would go away. Of course she now knew that even though she would never have all the answers she came home looking for, today Julianne Marguerite learned that her mother, Edith, had more strength then she had ever imagined. Edith had managed to get through her life, while enduring as best as she could, despite what came her way and she endured this life to the end. This gave Julianne Marguerite what she needed to move forward and know that she could do so in peace…even without all the answers I came home looking for.