The other day I woke up with a bruise on my upper leg. Actually two bruises less than an inch apart. And then for the better part of the morning I panicked. Which may sound odd to panic over a couple of little bruises. But let me explain before you label me a hypochondriac.Continue reading
Occasionally I dream of my mom. I can no longer see her face but I can feel her presence. I simply know it’s her. Lately, when mom does come to visit in a dream it’s with the “she’s not really gone. She didn’t die. She was not as sick as we thought,” theme. I get this hope inside me. You know, like the hope Rafiki gives to Simba about Mufasa. Simba chases after the aged simian and the audience thinks, “Oh, I hope Mufasa is really alive!”
I wake up as disappointed as Simba when he looks at his reflection in the pool of water. Mom is gone.
When she does make an appearance in my dreams she usually talks to the family. Or helps us out. We tend to keep her pretty busy. Some things never change.
I experienced a rather stressful weekend last week. Not bad stress just busy stress. I kept busy from quitting time on Friday to Sunday afternoon. At times, I felt overwhelmed. Sometimes inadequate. I questioned if I am really cut out to do the job asked of me. Thankfully, I was so busy I didn’t have much time to devote to self-doubt.
By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around I felt exhausted. I gave my best and prayed it was good enough. That night I had a momma-dream. This time we just hugged. It was a long embrace that lasted until I woke up.
It was enough.
I received the strength I needed to face my week. Yeah, I got this.
I sat in the waiting room of the University of Utah Hospital. A day earlier I received my first introduction to CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia). That’s what mom had. She laid in a bed in ICU hooked up to beeping machines and tubes. This was the beginning process of what would become four years of what she called, “Poking and prodding.” On this day, only two of us could visit her at a time so I waited for another turn in the waiting room. I sat there and took a deep breath.
Today would be my mom’s 71st birthday. You may be aware we lost mom last December 2nd. If you have followed my blog at all the past year, you may have seen numerous posts on grief (see the Sad Days Tab under categories) as I worked through my mourning period. This particular post is not like those. This post will be a reflection of what I learned from one good momma. It’s a celebration of good memories of a good life.
Due to some recent changes at work, it’s been a tough month for me. I’ve come home exhausted in the evening. I don’t deal well with utter tiredness. Let’s just say, I get a little emotional and irrational.
Forty-eight years. According to www.convertunits.com that’s 17,532 days.
In my opinion, July 25, 1964 officially kicked off one of the greatest love stories ever lived. True, it technically started months earlier when they met, but this is the date marked to celebrate and it encompasses their whole story. For me, it’s actually the most important love story because it’s when Marilyn Teters married Richard (Dick) Lee. Many years later (let’s not get into the exact number), I was born.
First Mother’s Day: check. I handled it by running away for the day.
First Memorial Day: check. I handled it with routine.
We made our yearly pilgrimage to the cemetery today. I’ve always wondered if Memorial Day is recognized the same in the big city as it is in the small town. My guess is, yes. A city, after all, is made up of blocks. A zip code may be in Metropolis but life is lived in the neighborhood.
In a small town, people start gathering at the cemetery in the morning. Since I have fallen in with morning people, we were the first to arrive. Mini-reunions are held as fellow grievers arrive armed with cleaning supplies, flowers, and memories. When the weather permits, we can linger and chat. Today was not one of those days. The wind made it bitter cold. It was all we could do to shine the stones and tether the flowers.
In addition to the normal gravesites, we now have an extra one to visit. Mom’s favorite thing was having her family surround her. She still has that power to bring us together as we gathered around her tombstone. Dad worked hard to make her stone shine. His name is already on it. I asked him if it made him nervous to shine his own name. He just laughed. Much to dad’s disgust, mom’s death year has not been added on the stone, yet. I say, if there’s no end date maybe that means she’s still here. That’s okay with me.
We visited the other cemetery to place flowers on the graves of mom’s grandmas. Even though one died before I was born and the other died when I was too young to remember. Mom loved her grandmas and she always placed flowers on their graves. They were important women in her life and helped shaped who she was. So, we took flowers and placed them on their graves, too. Perhaps someday we won’t. For now though, we will.
This afternoon we had a family BBQ. Well, a Wyoming BBQ. We cooked the burgers inside where it was warm. The burgers were good. The conversation was enjoyable. We laughed and had a good time. For me though, I kept thinking of our Memorial Day a year ago. Mom just found out the CLL cells had come back and started treatments again. She was sick but she came home for the weekend for Bubba’s graduation. I had no idea she’d leave us in six months. Last Memorial Day was the start of a very hard and trying summer. But I’d do it again if I could spend a little more time with mom.
So, I survived my first Mother’s Day and Memorial Day without my mother. Whose bright idea was it to put those two commemoration days in the same month? Not cool. Do the days get any easier? Or has May become a bitter month?
As I tell Lyn, take a deep breath and remember, you got this. I got this. I know I do. Another deep breath.
My dad insists we live among angels. He maintains that angels aren’t confined to otherworldly beings. Some exist with flesh and blood. They are imperfect but have one perfect moment in which they are in the right time and right place. For some, they might have a series of moments. I’m hoping I’ll have at least one perfect moment in which I can be somebody else’s angel. That I’ll be in the right place at the right time to help somebody. As opposed to my habit of wrong time, wrong place. But that’s a topic for another blog probably dealing with my own psychoanalysis. Or just a private journal entry.