Humbled and Honored

I got the following message sent to me by my cousin yesterday:

“Hey sweets. The Relay for Life committee is wondering if you would light the first luminary in memory of your mom at the Luminary Ceremony. Let me know.”

I nearly broke down into tears as soon as I read the words (which would have been awkward as I was working at the time). I would think the rationale behind it was that my mom passed away very recently, but I don’t really care about the reason.  To be asked to light the first luminary (out of hundreds and hundreds) is a tremendous honor, and I’m extremely humbled that they thought of me to do it.

The luminaries I lit for my cousin & my mom at my first Relay in 2008.

Luminaries are candles that are placed in special bags that bear the names of cancer survivors and loved ones who have lost their battle with cancer. At each Relay For Life event, the luminaries are lit during (what is normally) a very moving ceremony at dusk. A luminary is meant to provide light and inspiration for the participants all night long as they walk around whatever track they are at.

There have been times over the past few months since mom passed away where I really thought I had been able to move on an remember mom in a very positive way. What I’m finding now, especially as Mother’s Day just passed and with her burial tomorrow morning and the Relay in a couple of weeks, is that I’m still struggling with the loss. 

I realize that there’s no set path to take.  I understand that everybody grieves differently. So I’m doing my best to not beat myself up too much over feeling the way I’m feeling.  I’m also doing my best to not allow the sadness to take over and keep me in this funk of mine.

Mom would not want me to think about her this much…she was overly selfless like that. Mom would want me to smile with memories of happier times and do whatever I needed to do in order to enjoy life to the fullest and be the man that I want to be.

So while I sit and reflect on this great honor that the Relay for Life committee has given me, I will also reflect on the great times I shared with mom over the course of my lifetime. I will use those happy memories to help get me out of whatever funk I’m in and back to being myself.  I owe it to mom, I owe it to Sunshine, I owe it to my children, I owe it to dad, and I owe it to myself.

I deserve to be happy. And I think this request, in a round-about way, has helped me to remember that.


12 thoughts on “Humbled and Honored

  1. And you know what?
    It’s good to grieve and even years from now
    most of us will still shed a tear thinking about a beloved parent.And I think this just goes to show how LUCKY those of us are who have great parents that we love so. I can’t even imagine how hard life must be for those who never knew their parents or whose parent was horribly abusive to them.

    We are indeed the lucky ones, and the price we pay
    for our blessed situation is the pain in the loss of something truly special.The good thing is (at least I believe,although I am not religious!) that these beloved are truly with us and beside us in life-
    they are in nature and all around us,still passing their love on always.

  2. Ok, CBG, I’m crying at my desk this morning. What a beautiful post. And, you know what? You are a sensitive, compsionate, loving guy. If you weren’t still having these feelings about missing your mom, you wouldn’t be you!

    My thoughts will be with you and your family tomorrow.


  3. Wow, that is beautiful. Man, I almost broke down reading that…such a beautiful way to pay tribute to your mom. You will make her very proud. You already do.

  4. Maybe it’s just one of those days but.. I was only about 2 paragraphs into this before you had me in tears.

    I’ve never lost anyone as close to me as my mom – but I have lost close friends and extended family members that I was very, very close to.
    In my experience grief isn’t something that ever goes away. It gets easier and it comes to you in different ways – eventually you’ll get to the point where your grief comes to you in the form of laughing and smiling about memories of happier times but don’t rush it.
    Let yourself feel and let yourself just be.
    Your heart and your soul are going to heal on their own time, there’s nothing you can do to change that.

    You’re doing an amazing job, personally.

    I’m glad that you have so many good memories to remember and reflect on and that they’ll give you the strength you need right now. I’ll be thinking about you and your family tomorrow and I hope that maybe it will bring you a little bit of peace.

    1. I guess that’s the thing that I’m having difficulty with…letting myself be. Sunshine is doing everything she can to support me and I know I can lean on her whenever I need her. In the meantime, I just need to find a way to not just tell myself that I’m done grieving, but to actually grieve and allow myself to heal.

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