In the midst of the 4th anniversary of my mama’s passing, I believed I was too tired to blog tonight. Then I realized – isn’t this the best time to write? Two cups of emotion, one cup of sadness, ½ cup of fading adrenaline and 3 cups of chardonnay. What’s not to write about?
Mama – There is so much left to tell you. We didn’t realize how little time we had together. Even when we realized you were terminal – denial set in.
We didn’t truly value each other. Oh, we got better by the year, but there are so many more values we left undone.
We missed SO SO MUCH and for that I fight the everyday battle of being the best I can be when I’d trade it for cheap to stew in bitterness and loss.
The last several weeks I’ve had recurring dreams of past ghosts. John wakes me up from my own nightmares. Nothing worth talking about to my current loved ones. The ghosts no longer matter….but, they were ghosts that you understood with minimal verbiage from your only daughter.
I miss your involvement. I miss your birthday cards – to all of my kiddos and especially to myself. Each carefully handpicked, with your special message, “Love you special, Mom (or Granny)”. I miss the beautiful bouquet of flowers you would send every year. I miss hearing you call me “Mija”.
I miss the feeling of your hugs, your phone calls (even when you called all three of my phones within a three-minute period). Only to be reversed as you got sicker…I’d call on all three of your phones within a three-minute period just to ease my anxiety that you were fine, not in the hospital and still with me.
I miss your oversized, over weighted Brighton purse. You carried this with you EVERYWHERE you went during your journey through cancer. It didn’t even fit in your carryall of your walker. I carried it half the time. It contained your notebook of your meds, your doctors, your appointments, phone numbers, medical record numbers, your glasses, your ear plugs, your check book, your wallet, tic tacs, Nicorette gum, antacids, Kleenex. I can’t say I miss your wheelchair, but I miss your “suck bottle” – a water bottle that you kept by you 24/7 to try to stay hydrated, avoiding additional I.V. Joy Juice to get you through each chemotherapy treatment.
I miss your sayings. Even the ones I detested growing up. As I share these with Aaron, I’ll share a new one he hasn’t heard before…He remembers them and quotes them back to me at unexpected times. You’d be proud. “Can’t cook it cold.” “The camera never lies.” There are so many more.
I never told you how much I valued your quick wit. From when I was a young girl and you pulled the Kleenex out of my stuffed smocked sundress on my way out the door to a party; when I was a teenager and you knew I was on the pill, but you never said anything. From your first encounter with Roger where you let him stew in a growing puddle of coffee at Scotts Restaurant. From being a hip granny to me telling you my husband was in a midlife crisis (again) and you looking at me, from under your tattooed eyebrows, you leaned forward close to my face and said, “Ya think? I valued your talent – You played the ukulele, sang (relatively well), you sewed, your did handcrafts, you could re-wire a 220 outlet and clear a wall during demolition, strip layers of old wallpaper and hauled wood like a lumberjack. You were smart, successful, really quite brilliant.
Your time with your grandkids in the good days. Laughing at Alex and his antics. Your legitimate panic when two of your grandsons were due two days apart. Sewing crib ensembles, heirloom bassinet covers, quilts and christening gowns. Sewing all of the badges on Anders eagle scout costume. I miss the gleam in your eye when we were going through your photo albums. We came across your wedding picture and I exclaimed how beautiful you were. You looked at me across your antique dining room table with your current husband in the other room. You didn’t say a word but shook your head to the left and to the right. I realized then that your current husband didn’t know about your very first marriage right out of high school. I cherished that moment for so many different reasons (mainly because your current/last husband was an asshole).
You were my organizer. You alphabetized my spices, my cds, my cassette tapes. You were my biggest fan — through thick and thin. If I needed money, you never blinked an eye. If I needed gas, you filled my tank, you bought my groceries, you filled my first apartment. You encouraged me to fly, even if it meant leaving you three hours away. You were generous and without (most) expectations.
You know what I really really miss the most? Throughout your cancer journey, you always stated that “You were one in a million.” You most certainly were not wrong. What we BOTH missed was the fact that while we were so busy fighting your cancer and trying to make sure that all of your “I”s were dotted and your “T”s were crossed that we were fighting losing odds and here is why, my dear mama.
You cannot be one in a million TWICE. You are so missed. You are so loved and you are so treasured.
Loved you last, Mija.