“Wherever you go, there you are.”
That’s a funny thing my mom used to say.
Only funny because she had no idea that the intended meaning of the phrase she used to encourage me actually meant something entirely different.
She said this to me when I was leaving grade school for middle school. Or, as we called it, “junior high.” Who calls it junior high? She must be old. I was freaking out about that transition. It turns out it was a pretty awkward couple years.
Still, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Even all awkward and stuff.
Track meet out of state against some really fast runners?
“Wherever you go, there you are.” It meant, you got this. You can run.
College? “Wherever you go, there you are.”
Getting married… yes. You will still be you, and you will manage your way through it. That’s what she meant.
I researched the origination of this phrase. It was written in a book by Thomas á Kempis, called, The Imitation of Christ. While my mom meant to say that regardless of where we go, we are still us — still just as capable of handling the next thing as we were the last — Thomas á Kempis meant that wherever we go, we bring along our brokenness.
Both are true.
My mom didn’t exactly tell me, “Wherever you go, there you are,” as she left this world when I was 25. She didn’t’ have to. She had said it so many times, I still hear it in my mind, in her soft, slightly Southern accent. Her wisdom lives on.
She was diagnosed with cancer when my firstborn was a baby. She willed herself to stick around long enough to help me figure out how to be a mom, I think, and for that I’m thankful. She loved being Daniel’s grandma.
I was expecting our second, Mary, who is my mother’s namesake, when she died. I speak of her often to my two youngest, who never got to meet her, but I can never quite encapsulate the degree of kindness and gentleness that was my mother. She was meek. Strength under control.
Facing Mother’s Day if you’ve lost your mom, especially if it was recently, is extremely difficult.
Grief is love with no place to go. So when a day comes around where you might express a whole lot of love to someone who was close to you, it has nowhere to go and it gets frustrated. And we — we get weepy.
If your mom is no longer here, this side of heaven, I’m so sorry.
My hope and prayer would be that if she’s physically absent, you still feel her love and still sense her wisdom. Maybe even hear her voice in your mind. And I pray that regardless, you understand that YOU are her living legacy.
Wherever YOU go, there you are. And you carry part of her, always.
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