Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The First

Friday morning, I left to go visit my dad for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. This was my first birthday since my mom's death. I knew it would feel incomplete. My dad knew it would feel incomplete. But - we celebrated, anyway.

We got through Friday night by watching a movie I rented: the remake of Pelham 1-2-3. I never saw the original, but I have to say this version was entertaining. If there's one thing John Travolta can do, it's play crazy well.

Saturday was my birthday. I woke up feeling some trepidation - but my dad and I had plans for the morning to keep us busy. We went to the flea market, then off to my favorite store (Half Price Books, where I got a great deal on a tarot deck), and then to lunch. So far, so good.

We went home, and it was time for gifts and pie. I knew opening my gifts would be difficult, because the gifts were things my mom ordered from catalogs for me when she was bedridden. In other words, the gifts were from her, but she wasn't there to celebrate with me.

All the gifts touched me, but two stood out: a copper wall hanging of a pentacle next to a moon, and the Jessica Galbreth's Enchanted Oracle. My mom picked these out of my favorite "witchy" catalog without any hints from me at all. My mom was so supportive of my alternative life path - much more so than she was when I was following the independent fundamentalist Baptist path I was on when I was in my 20's. In fact, after I became born again, she told me I was not allowed to talk about God and stuff in her house. I think it relieved her greatly when I chose a different path later in life.

After my dad and I shed a few tears, we put "House of Wax" (from the clearance rack at Half Price Books) into the DVD player. Nothing can get rid of tears faster than Paris Hilton in a shriek fest. Again, this is a movie to which I hadn't seen the original, but as scary movies go, this one was good - and of course, pretty gory and quite frightening - at least to me.

It was difficult to say good-bye to my dad this afternoon. He started to cry when I left - and he hadn't done that since I was 17-years-old and on my way to boot camp. I know he must feel so alone there, surrounded by so much that reminds him of my mom. After all, he met her when he was 18 years old, and had been with her ever since.

And so the first celebration has come and gone without my mom. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't complete. However, I still felt her love and that certainly helped more than it hurt.

Monday, November 09, 2009

So Fresh To God

My mom died a month ago. I have so much sadness inside regarding that, and I'm not even sure how to express it. One saying that keeps running around in my head is this:

"I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing, when they, who are so fresh from God, love us." Charles Dickens

What grabs me is the "so fresh from God" part. That certainly describes the gift of birth - but what about death? "So fresh to God" is more apropos there. I feel that she is now fresh to God; it's as if I can still feel her here, and yet feel her gone as well.

Soon I will no longer feel her here. I look at some of the things I use in my daily life. Just today I used a notepad which she had put in my stocking last year. I just finished a bottle of water from a case she had bought for me before she went into the hospital. One day soon, those things will all be gone and I'll no longer have much tangible evidence of her existence - only memories.

I can remember sitting with her that last night at the hospital. I held one of her hands, and my dad held the other. Every once in awhile she would come out of her morphine stupor and say "Oh Pam" or "Oh John." Sometimes she would simply wake up and say "I love you." I can remember her voice, heavy with drugs. But will I remember it in a month? In a year? I hope so, because my greatest fear is that I'll begin to forget those things that were so clearly a part of her: her voice. Her eyes. Her laugh.

I don't want to forget. I want to hold on for dear life.