Sunday, October 26, 2008

Joining The Club

Dear Mom,
It’s been ten days since I joined the “Motherless Daughters Club”. My initiation was fast and you gave me little time to prepare. I mean, I knew this would happen eventually but I wasn’t planning on Wednesday morning while I was taking The Beav to school. What a blessing I feel loneliness rather than regret or relief now that you are gone. Our relationship wasn’t always easy but are they ever between mother and daughter. We weathered a few years of estrangement and moved to a place of loving friendship many women don‘t get to share with their mothers. I just wish we had lived closer and I had had the gift of the daily relationship.

Dad is bereft. But that isn’t any surprise because you were his hero and he was always so proud of you. Did you know he was smitten at first site and was afraid to ask you out because you were so pretty and popular? “Too good for a hillbilly farm kid like me” is how he tells the story. The other night Dad and I were looking through some papers he found and we were discussing my past difficulties with relationships. I told him what a tough act the two of you were to follow. Of course your marriage wasn’t perfect. The perfection rested in how you dealt with difficulties. Dad shared with me a story I had never heard before. During the late 1960’s, he came home and found you preparing to leave us. You were terribly unhappy and felt like a failure as a wife and a mother. The two of you talked things out and were able to work through your angst. You were about 37 when this happened. I remember how hard 37 was for me. How sad for you, to be dogged your whole life by such feelings of inadequacy when you were breathtakingly beautiful and so talented at everything you did. One of your friends, from many years ago, was at your memorial; she said sometimes it was hard to be your friend because you were so good at everything you did. I laughed and asked her to imagine being her daughter. I’m sorry you ever felt like a failure. I’m sorry my sister and I were so hard to deal with and you wanted--in a moment of desperation--to leave us.

Even though Dad wasn’t a big chocolate mess on Wednesday (that was my job)we didn’t want him making the journey home on Thursday alone so me and TG joined him. It was the first time in many years I’ve made that stupid long drive. But we had a good time and the stories we told diverted our attention from the overwhelming and shared grief. In fact, I laughed and smiled so much my face was sore the next day. You would have had such a great time with us. But I ached to hear your side of things. The weather was crisp and clear, too and at midmorning we drove though stratus clouds in the high plains. I think the last time I was that close to clouds we lived in the foothills. I almost asked Dad if we could stop so I could try to jump up and touch them. But just seeing clouds close to the ground made me feel close to your new home in Heaven.

All week long, while we planned the memorial and undertook the unspeakable task of going through your things, I looked for you. Several times, I had to remind myself you weren’t in the next room. TG took such beautiful care of us; making sure we ate properly. Providing the exact comfort Dad needed Friday evening when he broke down because he missed you so much. This has been hard on her, too. I believe she carries the cellular memory of losing her mother when she was a baby and losing her mother-in-law pushes forward the primal loss. I’m so happy you got to know her. She loves you very much.

Your memorial service was lovely. About two hundred people gathered and your old friend gave the eulogy and I read a short note from one of the nieces who couldn’t be there. You touched so many people and they were all anxious to celebrate your life with us.

The wake was a blast.

You would have been so proud to have your favorite nieces and nephews gathered with your children and grandchildren. (It was dear how they called me Laura Ann, I loved it.)
But still Dad and I looked for you. Wanting to share things with you; The Beav said he heard your voice a couple of times. I did too, but it was just the echoes of your sisters in my cousin’s voices.

Yesterday TG, me and the boys returned to our home and I realized how much unfinished business the two of us had. You were going to help me learn to make buttonholes with my new sewing machine; we were going to hang drapes; and you were going to help me arrange and group pictures. On top of all of that, before we went to bed that Tuesday night you promised to tell me funny stories about Sister’s adventures in dating.

Thank you for being my mother. I miss you and I don’t know if I will ever stop missing you.
Kiss your sisters and Grandmother for me.



Nicola O. said...

Dejuna, you write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Phyl said...

This is so beautiful, sweetie. Your mom would be immensely proud and moved, and probably amazed that she produced such a marvelous daughter.

Charlie said...

This is lovely. A wonderful tribute to your mom.