The Visit

The room is crowded. I’m in some sort of receiving line, standing on a dais or stage. I greet people as they come by – shaking hands, placing a hand on a shoulder here, kissing a cheek there.

You walk up to me, next in line. I’ve never seen you here before. You don’t quite look like yourself, but there’s no doubt it’s you. You look like a cross between Sophia on Golden Girls and Granny Clampett. I chuckle at the realization that there really was a resemblance – a bit in looks, but mostly in feistiness.

I touch your wrinkled but soft cheek, and then wrap you in a tight embrace. You are thin and my arms go all the way around you with no trouble. I have to lean down a little. I’ve been taller than you since the 8th grade, but you’ve shrunken even more with age.

I hold onto you tightly but gently, feeling the ribs in your back and your boney shoulder under my chin. The feeling of your arms around me, as strong and as sure as ever.

We have so much catching up to do. There is so much to tell you. So much to ask.

Emotion wells up and tears fill my eyes. I’ve missed you so much.

“Mom!” I whisper.

You dissolve in my arms.

I roll over and look at the clock. 3:48.

I close my eyes, listening to the wind and my husband’s breathing.

I try to go back to sleep, willing myself to reenter the dream.

Longing to see you and hold you again.

m

Advertisements

Waiting for the Scab

img_3750

I have always been the unofficial historian of my family. As a child I would spend hours going through the big cardboard box of photos. I’d memorize the faces and the events that were captured on film long before I was born. Mom would tell stories and explain who each person was and how we were related. I listened intently and committed it all to memory.

Not surprisingly, since the death of my Dad, and less than two months later my Mom, my role as the archivist for our clan has become somewhat more official.

I am now the keeper of the cardboard box, along with the photo albums depicting my youth, and that of my parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents before me. These treasures currently sit in a large plastic tub in the corner of our spare bedroom. Continue reading

Grief Takes the Holidays

Mom & Dad Wedding_0001
September 8, 1951

In 64 years of marriage, my parents spent only one Christmas apart. It was 1952 and my Dad was a United States Marine in Korea. They apparently didn’t want to repeat that experience. After Dad passed away suddenly on October 26, mom followed him just 51 days later on December 17. Continue reading

Life is not what we envision that it should be. Adjust.

IMG_1138

I’ve had this page from a daily calendar hanging on my bulletin board for more than 10 years. I first put it up at work, probably in response to the complaining of a coworker, or maybe as a reminder to myself to breathe deep and not let the little things get to me. At some point it migrated to my home and now lives in my kitchen with other odds and ends.

“Life is not what we envision that it should be. Adjust.”

The past several weeks I have had to heed this advice like never before. Fifteen days ago, my father passed away. Continue reading