This morning, I drove to East Texas to attend my niece's bridal shower this afternoon. It was a nice, but rather disorganized, affair. At all the other bridal showers that I have ever been to, everyone in attendance watched the bride-to-be open her presents and oohed and ahhed at each one. This setup gave the bride-to-be a chance to personally thank each person for the gift. Today, while she was opening her gifts, a group of us were watching and oohing and ahhing, but all over the house were small groups of women, just chatting with each other and totally ignoring the proceedings. I just thought it was weird, and my brother's sister-in-law thought it was weird too. Maybe my niece isn't outspoken enough to demand everyone's attention, and she certainly didn't seem a bit bothered by the lack of attention. She was having a great time opening all those gifts. I think her older sister was having as much fun helping her. Her older sister didn't have the big wedding with a big bridal shower, at least I don't remember a bridal shower. She and her husband got married with only their parents present then had a big party afterward. It was a really nice, big party, but I'm sure she feels now like she's experiencing some of what she missed. It was a really sweet thing to watch though.
While I was there, another niece, one who is very good friends with the bride-to-be niece, told me that the bride-to-be niece was in tears earlier in the day because her grandmom, my mother, isn't alive to see her get married. My mom had such a great love for her 7 grandchildren, especially with the five girls. The bride-to-be was named after Mom, and I didn't realize until my mom passed away that the two of them were so close. Apparently the bride-to-be would often use my mom as a sounding board and a venting place when she had her frequent fights with her parents. I'm sure Mom always knew the right thing to say to make her feel better.
So on the drive home--3 hours--I was missing Mom, something I haven't been doing lately. While I was at my sister's house before and after the shower, I looked at some photos of Mom and me in France, someone had found them in a box yesterday. In two of the pictures we are on the middle level of the Eiffel Tower, and you can actually see my mom's fear of heights in the pictures. I remember telling her that she didn't have to go up (we had not gone to the top of a mountain in Switzerland because of her fear and my lack of funds for the extra excursion). She could have gone to a cafe with my friend Lois, the trip organizer, another group member, and the tour director, but she insisted on going up. Once we got up to the second level, she was okay for about five minutes, long enough for us to take a few pictures. She was like a scared little kid; it was really quite cute. She stood behind me and hid her eyes in my back in the elevator on the way up and on the way down. I think she held onto my jacket all the time we walked around the platform, even when we went into the gift shop on that level. When we got to the bottom again, she was all smiles, but she had really been afraid. Her smiles in the photos were really grimaces of fear. I wish I had a scanner, so I could put one of the photos with this post.
While I was missing Mom during the drive home, I started thinking about how comforted I was knowing that when she died, she was going to heaven. When I first went into her ICU room, I had a feeling that only a miracle would save her. When I left that room, all I could think about was calling my co-worker and friend Laura to get the praying started. (Laura is a true prayer warrior.) As I was recalling this, I realized that for the last year, I had not been praying much at all. I have been struggling with my faith and spirituality for the last year. I really chafe at the intolerance and ultra-conservatism in my old Baptist religion. I have been going to a Unitarian Universalist church for over a year now. I love the open-mindedness of the people in this church. However, I haven't quite figured out how to have my own faith/spirituality that includes praying/meditating on a regular basis but precludes all the intolerance and close-mindedness. So now, when I pray, I feel like I'm just covering all my bases, not praying from the heart. Maybe I should just stop praying and begin meditating. I don't know, but I do know that when a miracle is needed, I will always turn to my friend Laura. Even when the miracle doesn't happen, like in my mom's case, I am comforted by the faithfulness of Laura and her prayer warrior friends/family.
So now, it's very late and I need to go to bed.