Saturday, May 28, 2011
"Berry picking with Mama was a delicious time. Just this once, I'll gather more than I eat, thought Suzie Mae. Quick as a wink, she placed each plump strawberry into her bucket. Caw..caw. A crow swooped down and perched on the fence, giving Susie Mae a suspicious look. "Don't worry, old bird," she whispered. "I can pick and not snitch." Mama began to hum, moving swiftly between the rows. Joining in the song, Susie Mae picked the sun-ripened berries. The singing and the sunshine made her stomach rumble. She could almost taste the juicy red strawberries with homemade ice cream. One or two won't hurt, thought Susie Mae..." (from "Just Like Mama" by Beverly Lewis)
This page in the book ran through my mind today as I went to pick strawberries with my kids. Our second year without Ashley. It still hurts, it always will. It seemed as though I went through all of the motions. I even had a good time picking and watching my kids pick. I got home, sat down to hull the berries, and realized what I just did. again. without Ashley. I missed her deeply as I sat at the table with 20 lbs of berries to put away. I could see Ashley sitting across from me. She would insist on helping. We would work together in the kitchen as we turned the berries into sauce and jam. I remembered her getting mad if I hulled too fast...not leaving enough for her to do. She was beginning to work me out of a job.
Each year, Ashley would insist on picking more strawberries. She didn't want to risk running out of sauce for homemade waffles!
I kept on asking myself why I am doing this. How am I doing this? What did I just do? Is this for real. Jake reminded me that we have to keep living. We can't stop life. Even though I often wish I could, I know he is right. Hopefully one day the memories that come along with every day will cause more joy and less pain. I am amazed at how sometimes what hurts the most are the little things in life. I felt as though I had to hold myself up, and remind myself to breathe this afternoon. I had finished the berries and felt the cost in the end.
I took some time to read the book, "Just Like Mama" to Emma this afternoon. Ashley loved that book. We read it often. Ashley always wanted to be like me. She reminded me of "Susie Mae" always trying to do the things her Mama did...following in her footsteps. I taught Ashley to do so many things..but most of all, I taught her to love Jesus and to serve Him daily. She is loving Him and serving Him today.
A song came to my heart today as I drove home. "Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage, Your defender is He, who is always the same. Mount up with wings as an eagle ascending. Victory is yours when you call on his name. Be strong. Be strong. Be strong in the Lord, and rejoice for the victory is yours." I Imagined that Ashley was singing it to me, encouraging me to press on, keeping my eyes fixed on God.