It’s 1:09am and, as usual, I’m wide awake. I know what the problem is too. It’s my non-stop brain. As age settles in and my body starts to shut down, my crazy brain keeps going. So, if anyone knows how to turn off your brain before you go to bed, please send me the instructions. Mine just isn’t working properly. I mean, really. How am I supposed to sleep when my list on the wall has 17 unchecked items on it?
It starts like this:
- Book Charles
- Proposal Sally
- Xxxxxxxxxx …….done
- Write syllabi
- Find a place
- Hire movers
- Find address’s
- Mail letter’s
And the list goes on and on.
Just the other day, a friend said to me, “I don’t know how you keep going and trying. You are the strongest woman I know.”
Of course, I nodded my head as to say ‘no, I’m not.’ I’ve always been bad at accepting compliments. This is mainly because, as many people are, I am my biggest critic. But, it is also because I’m not good at trusting people. People always have alternative motives for saying nice things; that’s what I tell myself.
As I think about whether or not I’m strong and how I keep going, I’m suddenly reminded of an old Cheshire Patch blog. It was about some moments in my life that help sustain me through the bad times. And, right now, with a move upon me and the ongoing recovery, I could use some warm thoughts.
I said I would share for a while, so here you are. This is me sharing and reminiscing. And, as I click to copy and paste, the tears begin to flow.
Moments That Keep Me
Posted on August 20, 2011 at 9:57 am
Okeaora at her best!
I wonder who she was on the phone with. Maybe it was
me calling to say that I was going to be late. Sometimes as I sit at my desk,
daydreaming instead of working, this is what I’m thinking about. It’s the one
picture of my mother that always catches my eye – her standing in our kitchen
on Pace Drive and listening intently, so not to miss anything.
Months after my mom died, I put together a collage
of her pictures, her old business card, her obituary, poems given to and
written for her and an envelope of the last time she attempted to send me a
note. This was a gesture meant for both me and my mother. I tell myself that
she can see me looking at her face as I smile and feel her smiling back. I
found this to be cathartic. I found this to be hard.
I used an old board that I had. I taped some
mementoes that I’d enjoy seeing regularly. Then I took it down to the frame
store to have it bordered with our favorite color, ‘green.’ And each day, I get
to see my mom smiling. And though I have pictures of her, I think back to
moments and wish I had more snapshots. Like, I think it would be cool to have a
picture of my mom and her old green Granada. Oh well, I enjoy the keepsakes
that I have.
This past Easter, I sat home alone and watched an
old VCR tape of my mom. She was doing one of her elementary school workshops;
she read folk tales and sang songs to children. She taught them about her African garb. My
mother was so happy with her huge smiles and bright colored clothes.
I remember when I was young and I couldn’t get
enough of her. Then I grew to be a teenager and, though I still loved her, I
had less time for those mother/daughter chats. Then when I was 26 years old, I
lost my mom. My mom died of cancer. Now all I wish for is to be held again.
The saying ‘you never know what you have until it’s
gone’ is real. Mothers are the one love affair that you hope will last forever
– you expect to last forever.
I often daydream about times when I was a young
girl. My mom and I enjoyed watching television together. I can still hear her
calling sometimes, “Me-lis-sa, Me-lis-sa, The Incredible Hulk is on. Do you
want to watch with me?” I’d come running down the stairs and she would always
have the healthy snacks and drinks ready on the coffee table. No need for a
throw cover. I had mom. Good times. Good times.
My mother made me who I am today and gave me so many
warm memories. And though I still dialed her number for months and still cried
for years (and still do), life without her has become easier as time goes by.
People often ask me if the hurt of losing my mother
ever gets better. At times, I have said ‘it never gets better.’ What I wished I
had said is, ‘you will always feel the loss.’ When you lose a loved one, you
feel as if part of your heart has been transplanted elsewhere – as if your
purpose in life is no more; as if your heart has stopped; as if you died; as if
your soul is burnt; as if you could no longer see the world. This barely scratches the surface of what I
felt when my mother died.
Mother’s Day will never be the same. But even with
this emptiness, life can still regain its usefulness. I have my on and off
days, but overall my passion and yearning for life are still there. My mom gave
Some days, I’m so mad at her for leaving me alone to
figure out this complicated world. And other days, I just remember her love,
her warmth and her smile.
She was beautiful. She was smart. She was eccentric.
She was funny. She was private in ways. She was an extrovert. She was my mom.
And she loved me. She wanted me to be happy. She wanted me to learn and love. That’s
what keeps me going.
And with those thoughts in mind, I keep going; I keep moving on.
P.S. I get my sling off soon, and boy am I excited. Party time.