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The Scent of Lilacs: Missing My Mom on Mother’s Day

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The Scent of Lilacs: Missing My Mom on Mother’s Day

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John Michael’s newest Life Is a Sweet, Tender Bruise column, “The Scent of Lilacs: Missing My Mom on Mother’s Day,” shares about lilacs, his mom, and Mother’s Day. 

I stepped out of my apartment building the other day and was greeted by the scent of lilacs. This eased my heart a little and made me happier to greet my day.

It’s been an odd spring here; cold, rainy, windy. I’m not complaining about it, I try and let nature do whatever she wants to do, and pretty soon those of us who live here will be complaining about the heat.

One of my early memories with my mom was making a cone out of construction paper and filling it with lilacs and giving it to her for Mother’s Day. She gushed and was appreciative, called me “sweetie.” I love that my apartment building has many longtime lilac trees growing around it.

One of my early memories with my mom was making a cone out of construction paper and filling it with lilacs and giving it to her for Mother’s Day.

My dad passed away earlier this spring and I’ve had a little more panic sense. I woke up in a panic this morning, in fact. I dreamt I was losing my mind and physical functioning which wasn’t that bad; the scary part was people were abandoning me because of it.

I came out of my childhood with the usual amount of anxiety, which is a lot without even knowing it, doing my best to present myself as “normal,” just like everybody else. My dad had wonderful protective qualities and I always felt safe around him. I’m growing into these qualities nicely myself, however belated.

My dad was not around enough when I needed him after my parents’ divorce. My mom was my rock, I suppose, always there, even when I thought I didn’t want her to be.

I was driving over to church from the coffee shop on Mother’s Day—a little late since I have my mom’s gift for gab—and was just a little overwhelmed with missing her and was a little teary-eyed most of the day. The thought that came with the tears was, She was beautiful.

During my meditations, Gods and Goddesses will occasionally show up with some wisdom, a song, or some encouragement, but often my heart overflows with love and gratitude for Jesus. He and his teachings were there for me in a real way during my time on the streets.

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I am blessed with a bunch of young people in my life. Mary, Mother of God, I must confess I call on her quite a bit, she nurtured Jesus into manhood, and I use her presence as best as I can to nurture those around me.

My mom’s nurturing of me blessed me with the gifts of sensitivity and tenderness which have always been there when I see people who openly struggle. This, despite the many rages in my life. I used to think they were maybe a curse, but I now consider them my better qualities when I allow them to surface.

At any rate, I love you, Mom, and I miss you dearly.


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John Michael

Hello, good people. I am rarely sure how to describe myself. If I say I am a Christian, many things may arise in your mind that ain't necessarily so. I was homeless for seven years and learned more about myself in that stretch of time than in any other segment of my life. I read the Bible a lot out there and came across a passage in Proverbs that has shaped my approach to life: "A man's pursuit is his kindness." I am well educated with a Master of Social Work degree and have worked a wide variety of jobs in my 52 years. None have lasted too long however. When I was homeless, the beauty of Texas wildflowers made me decide to want to live again. Along with kindness, beauty, play, and self-expression are life-guiding ideas. My shadow contains things like feeling sorry for myself, a truckload of defiance, a desperate need to please women, and no small amount of cruelty. A quote from Luke also has had a lasting effect on me: "For God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil." When I read that I thought, "Hell, I have got a fighting chance." I am here to tell you, you have a fighting chance as well. Besides Christianity, practicing Buddhist and Shamanic techniques inform my relationship to God and the world.

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