Sometimes, when the house is dark and quiet and I have a few stolen moments all to myself. . . I give my mind permission to travel there. In the busyness of life I think my subconscious steers clear, knowing that there is too much to do and now is not the time. But there is something about a dark quiet room lit only by a candle the draws my thoughts toward her. Draws my thoughts toward my Mom.
We have pictures of her hanging in our kitchen. The pictures have become such a fixture that I notice them like I notice the microwave. You know what I mean? I know the microwave is there, but how often do I stop to really look at it? But every once in awhile when the house is quiet I pause and stare at the images of her from not long ago and my breath catches.
In those quiet moments I am struck with the reality that she will age no more. At age 57 the aging process halted for her. It probably seems like an absurd thing to think about, but I can’t seem to get past it. Despite the fact that my grays and wrinkles will increase, my Mom will forever be 57. Sometimes, I feel angry about it, but most of the time it just makes me sad.
Recently a good friend asked me, what is your fondest memory of your Mom? Oh, how I appreciate these questions. The permission to talk about her. To remember. To reminisce. I didn’t have to pause before answering. I explained that I miss the everyday phone calls. The sound of her voice saying casually, “whatcha up to?” Oh, how I miss that.
Oh, how I wish she could see what we’ve been up to lately. I’d love for her to know how independent her grandson has become and how his character has become only sweeter and more confident with each passing day.
And I think she would get such a kick out of the fierceness of her granddaughter. I think she would be surprised at what a strong little girl she is. I think my Mom would LOVE to hear the countless silly Chanelle stories that arise every day.
There are days when I wish that she could see the kind of Mom I’ve become. A different Mom than I was a year and a half ago. . . a better Mom.
And in just about eight weeks I will become a Mom for the third time. . . but for the first time without my Mom. This is a thought that pains me. For Charlie’s birth it was my Mom’s face that was the first one to walk into the room after we welcomed him into the world. For Chanelle’s birth, my Mom was by our side shedding tears of joy with us as we heard the words it’s a girl! My Mom was the one who ran out and purchased the “going home” outfit and made sure that Chad was equipped with a big bag of Reece’s Cups for our hospital stay. My Mom did the Mom thing well.
Please don’t hear me wrong. I know we will be okay. We will get through it and all will be okay. But as with any loss, happy moments always carry with them a feeling of deep sadness. Sadness because someone very important is missing.
When I write in this space I often wish my Mom would have known the Running Chatter, Summer. I wish she could see how my passions have grown and changed. I wish she could see my new camera and the way that I’ve learned to see beauty everywhere and in everything. I wish I could show her how much life is all around us if only she would look to see it.
And yet even as I write it I am aware that the loss of such a precious person in my life opened up my eyes to all the other beautiful and wonderful things in the world. Was one necessary for the other? I will never know. What I do know is that losing her forever changed me and I wish I could hear her reaction to it.
I know that in this life I will never hear her answer, but I like to think that if she could see me now. . .