I had a bit of a rough night. I colored my hair because what gray I have was showing, and I remembered my mom a few years ago noticing I had gotten a few grays. She got this horrified expression on her face and I thought I had a tick or something in my hair. She leaned over to my sister Cathi and whispered something. I kept saying, “What! What?!” Cathi broke out laughing and told me what Mom said: “She has gray hair!” Like I had gone completely gray overnight! And as I remembered all of that, it was so unreal that she was gone; I felt like I could pick up the phone and laugh with her over the whole thing again.
Then I remembered her last day, and how I pointed out that she never went completely gray. She still had nearly as much black as she did gray. And suddenly, it was VERY real that she was gone. I remembered sitting next to her in the restaurant for lunch, and her voice as she talked about thinking she’d never live to see her great-grandchildren. Or how she wanted a housekeeper but was worried she had a big medical bill again, like she might have had with her cancer treatments years ago or the heart attack years before that. Or how she got impatient in the mall when she saw something in a store and I wasn’t around to push the wheelchair in that second, so she’d scooch around in it but moving the chair around with her feet, like Fred Flinstone in his car. And I’d come back to the spot where she had been and call out, “Where’d you go, crazy lady?” Or see her scuttling by in some aisle. How frustrated we got trying to find slacks in my size, and I was fed up but she insisted on keeping at it so I’d have a birthday present.
And I just broke into tears. Because I intensely felt how I’d never see or hear any of that again.
Tonight I’m having dinner with my aunt and my sister Cathi. We’re in the same area as that day when we had lunch with Mom, although not in the same place. Still, I feel it…. John and I went into the bookstore this weekend, the same one I was in with Mom that day. It ate at me for a long while, as I remembered her wanting some book and I kept asking the people for it, because it was on the computer and was supposed to be there. And how I couldn’t find what I was looking for either and her disappointment that she couldn’t get what she had planned as my present.
It’s so odd that I had that moment last night, where I felt like she wasn’t gone, because it’s the first time I felt like that. I’m always aware that she’s gone; it’s just a fact that your heart knows, and then something comes along, like driving through our old town, that brings it sharp and hard to my attention. But last night, everything in me rebelled against that knowledge; it became a bad dream that I had and was only trying to convince myself it had been real.
Until I remember that last day….