I’m not sure if my mood mirrored what was happening outside, or it was the other way around. Frost covered the greening lawn. The crocus peeking their purple heads through the white crusted ground. The promise of spring held in a frosty standstill.
Dense fog rolled in off the lake making visibility difficult this early in the morning. It was trash collection day in my neighborhood and in my heavy pre-cold, gunk filled head, I had forgotten to take out our containers the night before. Those guys come early, so I didn’t bother to shower or change before lugging all the waste to the tree lawn.
No one was out this early. There weren’t even any cars heading off to work yet. I was relieved that under the cover of darkness no one could see my heavy eyelids from a night of restless slumber. Too many things on my mind to allow me to sleep. Properly.
I tossed. I turned. I couldn’t get comfortable.
My elbow was throbbing. I know I should go see a specialist, but have been putting it off. The pain of the tendonitis at times unbearable. It hurts. How did I manage to strain it so badly? Everything I read tells me to let it heal by resting. Sure thing. No problem. I’ll just not use my arm for 6 weeks…as if.
I turn to my right side to maybe give the left a stretch, some relief from this discomfort. In the darkness my eyes can see the familiar photos of my family on the bureau beneath the west window. The large portrait of all four of us when I was but two. A snapshot photo of my parents on their wedding day as they exited the sanctuary. A studio photograph of my brother and I; big, laughing smiles with our backs to each other, arms crossed captured for all time. I was very pregnant in this photo and gave birth to my daughter three weeks later. There’s the solemn sepia photo of my maternal grandparents. One of my brother and my mom I took a few years back up at his house on the lake. And my favorite; both of my parents and my daughter holding Dad's prize tomatoes in front of their home just months before my mothers first stroke.
I have next to them a framed copy of ‘A Mother’s Love‘ that we had displayed with the photos set around for my mom’s funeral calling hours.
She never failed to do her best, her heart was true and tender;
She toiled hard for those she loved, and left them to remember.
A loving mother, kind and true, her equals on this earth are few;
A happy life, a peaceful end, she died as she lived; everybody’s friend.
If we had this world to give, we would give it and more;
To see our darling Mother, come smiling through the door.
Those who have a mother, should tend her with care;
For you never know her value, 'till you see her vacant chair.
The moon was almost full and spread a soft light into my bedroom. There were cirrus clouds wisping over a portion giving the low, full moon an eerie appearance. Through the wavy glass of my century home windows it had both a calming and unsettling effect.
I could lay to the left and see the moon, or to the right and see the photos, the mementoes and makeshift shrine to my mom I’ve unconsciously created in my bedroom. No win situation there. There wasn’t anything to do but have a soft cry.
I miss my mom.
Easter was her favorite holiday. I always bought her a corsage. We would go into church for Easter Sunday and my mother would look so proud to have her family with her. Her head held high, color on her cheeks, she would greet her friends and introduce us to each, although we’ve known them for years.
“Lucille! You look lovely! You know Nancy and Charles, and my granddaughter…don’t you?”, she say, gently pushing us forward into the line of pinching.
“Oh, why yes.”, Mrs. Shurtz responded. “How beautiful. And big!” she’d say as she reached for my daughters cheek.
We’ve known Mrs. Shurtz for years. She is the epitome of classic lady. Matching handbag and high heel shoes, proper dresses straight from the 1950’s. Always the right amount of jewelry; a brooch, a necklace and some ear fobs. On Easter she’d even wear gloves and a hat. And if my memory serves, she even had cat shaped silver eyeglasses, flowers etched on the temples.
Yes. We knew the Shurtzs, and the Meekers, and the Mauers and Andersens. But this was a ritual that my mother enjoyed, and so we let her introduce us once again to all those she knew. This was her moment, her time. And I would smile politely and make small talk and shake hands.
And my mother would glow.
Easter is coming rapidly upon us and it will be the first one without my mom. Her birthday is just 5 days later. I suppose this is why I’ve been in a bit of a ‘funk’, as my ex used to say. I waiver between gratitude and remorse. What should I do? How should I go about honoring my mothers seemingly short existence on this earth?
My brother and I have talked about it. Our family is getting together for Easter, but we both don’t feel quite ‘right’ about attending Moms church this Sunday. Part of me feels as if we should be there…and part of me thinks that I should perhaps find a new ritual to follow. I don’t know if the congregation would understand my crying when they sing the Hallelujah chorus. Nothing like a well known visitor wailing between stanzas.
Did my mom know how much she meant to me? Did I tell her I loved her enough?
The fog stayed all day. The sun only broke through once. What was supposed to be a lovely afternoon by the weatherman’s predictions, turned out to be cold, foggy and damp. One of those days that chilled you to the bone. One that crawled under your skin and you couldn’t shake no matter how many pairs of socks you put on.
I went to bed early. I took some cold medicine and hoped that I could rest. Shut down my brain for a bit and recharge. I silently talked to my mom. Asked for her help. And fell asleep.
This morning the sun woke me up.
And I feel better.
Did I bring on that foggy chilled front with my thoughts? Or did my thoughts reflect the fog. A question of which I may never know the answer. But thanks Mom for making the sun shine for me today. I know I’m still going to be smeeshy as the holiday approaches. Because I cried writing this.
And once again while proof reading it.
I think I need to get some waterproof mascara.
I love you Mom. XXXOOO