My heart is so heavy.
There are good days. The days it doesn’t feel crushing; the days I write my to-do list in my planner and bullet journal, and brainstorm on my white board, and tackle all the tasks, and wipe the counters, and make the lunches the night before. We laugh. We are so thankful for this life and these wonderful babies and health and Texas sun.
Then there are the other days.
The days when I am too short with the kids. The days I slam things. The day I shout “I can’t get this motherfucking milk cup open! What the fuck?!” and storm into the next room, proffering the cup for J to open and daring him to comment on my dark mood.
I’m angry. I’m sad. The worst part is FINAL. This is final. There are no do-overs. My kids are out a Mom-Mom. My step-father has no wife. It is bleak, and the bleakness weighs on my heart and there is just pain.
I realized the other day that I was living out that Sex and The City episode: the one where Miranda’s mother dies. I spent an afternoon in Pennsylvania buying black dresses for my mom’s funeral; the same mall I swept through noisily with friends, searching for prom frocks and taking a floppity-jillion photos at the laminated key chain kiosk. A few weeks ago, my computer went bat-shit crazy and the Geek Squad was all fuck if we know and sent it out to be repaired. The result? A dead motherboard. Jesus, universe.
My computer is now back in my possession, and I’m grateful the hard drive is intact. I needed a letter. I wrote my mom the night I knew that all would likely not end well. It was the night before Violet and I left for Philadelphia. I wrote my prayers for her.
It’s December 8, 2015. This morning on my way to drop Ailie off at school I thought I could write to you each day. To talk to you about special memories, and the kids, and then, when you are once again whole, I could give you this journal.
Then I got word from Uncle Jim that perhaps that wholeness may not come to pass.
Mom, I love you. I want you to pull through this. It devastates me that perhaps you will not see your grandchildren grow; that they will not remember you.
So tonight, I am writing my prayers for you. Let’s take this one day at a time. If you are to be whole again, and well and joyful and THRIVING, I want you to know that I was here, willing it. Praying for it. Like I told you, I’m not sure exactly what to believe. But I want to believe in the power of positivity and God and prayer.
Lord, please heal my mother. Help her body to overcome this sickness. Help her gallbladder to withstand this infection until miracle platelets arrive and allow her blood to clot. Sixty years seems like a long time, God. But we are selfish. We want her here. Let Hendrik and Ailie and Violet know their Mom-Mom. Let her continue to call me. To ask: how are the kids? Is that my Hendrik? I’m trying to remember our last conversation, God. We spoke of her pain. We spoke of her crying for her mother. We spoke of her hallucinations, including talking to me when only Bucky was there. She had watched the video of the kids crying on the plane. She thought it was hilarious as well. I don’t remember our last words though, God. I never thought they would be the last. I remember talking to Grandmom on that final day, driving on Martin, discussing Ailie’s imminent birth. What did I last say to my mom on Pool Road, God? Please, don’t let it be the last conversation. There is so much more to discuss. There is so much more life to experience together. Remember Paris? Judd wants to fly us to Paris in 5 years, Mom. (well, four-ish if we are being honest.) Can you hang on for Paris, Mom? You’ll be afraid of the trip, but you should do it, Mom. You’ve never been to Europe.
I needed the letter. I need to remember it all. I need to keep her memory alive for myself and my family.
I still don’t know how I feel about signs, but I know this: a mother cardinal has made a nest at eye-level just beyond our bathroom window. We discovered the nest on Saturday. There are three perfect blue-speckled eggs inside. The next day – Easter – the mother appeared. She sits most of the day, guarding her sweet babies. It comforts my soul to look at her. When I brought it up to my brothers (my mother birthed three babies), one of them had seen a bird that same morning. He was transfixed by it, he said, for some unknown reason.
Perhaps I will come around on this sign business after all.