A Summer Place–crooned by the velvet-voiced Andy Williams (requested by my mom to be played at her “Celebration of Life” ceremony this past Sunday), plays as I write this.
My mother lost her battle with COPD and multiple kidney failure (she was born with only one) on Friday the 13, 2018. She was born on April Fools Day, 1944. I keep wondering, do the commonly cursed “born and died” dates have any meaning, or are they simply ill-timed coincidences? Or, possibly, one last wink from a wild, rebellious-woman from the great beyond?
She wasn’t perfect, my mother, and she’d be the first in line to point that out. She was a gambler–not just video poker and slots, either–she gambled her way through life. Risking good and average for amazing and adventurous, never saving for a rainy day because “You can’t take it with you when you go,” and trusting people who’d wronged her over-and-over again.
But she loved–she loved deeply and unconditionally. Blindly.
Even stupidly, at times.
I don’t believe in painting people as saints or angelically-infused-entities after their deaths (nor would I want anyone blowing false horns or singing exaggerated praises for me when my time comes) but I DO believe in focusing on the good times with my departed loved ones.
In that spirit, this post is dedicated to my mom and friend, and the number one fan of my fiction WIP’s “Shitty First Draft,” flaws and all.
Her death hits me in waves: from gentle swells to towering tidal waves.
One minute, it doesn’t feel real; the next, only as real as a vivid dream… then, when I least expect it, BAM!!! the hollow finality and crushing despair bash me over the head and bury me under the suffocating weight of loneliness that I’ve only begun to feel. Just when I think I can’t bear it any longer, the sorrow lifts and the cycle starts anew.
Most of the time, my grief is filtered by my inborn need to “stay strong” for my kids, my dad, my sisters, nieces, and nephews–a trait I inherited from both parents– one that I both treasure and begrudge.
Other times, sorrowful thoughts of future holidays and special occasions without her famous stuffing and potato salad flip my tear switch. I’ll miss unwrapping gifts she crookedly wrapped, the backsides of discarded wrapping paper strips adhered by Scotch tape in place of name tags, boasting, “Merry Christmas, Love Always, Mom and Dad.”
I knew losing a parent would be hard, but I thought the close-calls they both had with the Reaper over the past few years prepared me and my family for the blow. I was wrong.
Mom desperately wanted to read the latest draft of the fantasy novel I’m writing and now she never will. To say I have “Writer’s Block” this past week is an understatement, but I push through because I know that wherever she is, she wants me to finish, publish, and succeed.
Thank you for reading!
Have any of you lost a parent or parental figure?
How long did it take you to get back to your daily routine?