I left home over a week ago to drive to Blythe, California to visit my sister and deal with the debris left by death. My Mom died in July while visiting me up here, but she had been living off and on with my twin down in the deserts near the Arizona/California border.
Between the almost 700 miles there and 700 back, and the driving around while I was there, I racked up over 1,500 miles in distance, but not much in spiritual mileage. In my personal life, I am trying to be a better Muslim, but it gets a little hard when you have to deal with the litter left behind by an accumulator…especially when you recognize those proclivities in yourself.
My Sister and I have been fighting over our Mother’s “Estate” for years – not over who would inherit, but who would have to clean it up. I thought that I had won when my Mom died while visiting me up here, I still had to take care of the local details and making sure her body got shipped back to LA, but I also only had to deal with the luggage she had brought up on the bus.
But as the oldest Daughter (by 10 whole minutes) I still had to bring my shovel down and sort through bales of leopard print mau maus (pronounced and should be called “moo moo’s), neon colored spandex, hundreds of pairs of sunglasses, cheap earings (including the toilet seat ones) and every piece of paper that she never threw out in YEARS. Sort, Shred, Sort, Bale, Sort Shred, Sort, Save for appropriate family member. I have to tell you that I wasn’t in a very forgiving mood. I wasn’t at MY house, I wasn’t doing what I wanted, and I wasn’t getting any of my walking to Mecca done.
But sometimes you don’t have to “walk” to Mecca, to get some of the blessings. The more I dealt with the debris, the more I tried to find some positives. Among the Papers, were photos of ALL of us, she loved us, and she loved her family. She had letters and printouts of emails I had sent 10 years ago. She had always taught us that family was important and she proved it by keeping OUR trinkets and memories.
She always accepted my choice to first become a born-again Christian, and then as my knowledge increased, my becoming a Muslim, while she remained a semi-regular Mass attending Catholic (Hey TV Mass counts).
She taught us, that Family is important and that you shouldn’t allow yourself to be embarrassed by them. And I proudly introduced my Mom in her Micky Mouse Shirt, flaming red spandex and enough bling to blind a pawn shop owner. (of course I was wearing my hijab…)
And as I packed the back of my truck with bags of her “extras” to donate to thrift stores and ladies of a certain “style” (Blythe Thrift Stores couldn’t deal with the largess) near where I live, I remembered that learning to accept other as they are, or were, helps you on your own path to God.