dragonfly totems follow me to beaches and coastlines.
i get greedy with her memories. being around her handwriting… these things are fading from view. in her house that is no longer her house, pieces of her are fading from cabinets. it’s empty, and still i go searching. wanting something i know i won’t find. a smell, a memory, a lost moment i can tuck away. in her old junk drawer is where i find them… each scrap of paper with her penmanship is a treasure.
“put clothes into dryer”… “take trash out”…
“make lunches”… “starbucks friday 1pm” …
when death hovers, you grab onto whatever bits of life are left and you hold on tight. it feels frantic. like a hand slipping loose at a crowded fair. it’s the riptide that threatens to pull you under. these things i seek and seldom find are the things we took for granted. her handwriting makes me cry because i know i won’t see it again. ever. these papers are treasures i want to keep with me always. me, her little girl, with a pocketful of three year old grocery lists and notes to self.
when i was a kid and i missed my mom, it was because she was in maine.
here. now. driving down the street where she used to live… i allow myself this only on strong days. i find it no coincidence that a good friend lives in the same neighborhood my mother lived in all those years ago. i find comfort in that. in the collision of worlds. she is with me here. now.
it’s strange to drive down these streets, where things seldom change, and see the woods where she walked. to see the cemetery where she stole the flowers she used to decorate her apartments, the college she attended, the life she lived on her own surrounded by friends. here. then. now.
now when i miss my mom i know i can find her here, in maine.
the other day i was talking to a dear friend of mine, wondering just how much sadder it can get when she dies. crying my fears into the phone of not believing i can deal… with. anything. sadder. than. this.
she reminded me that there’s a release in the dying. she felt it with her father. there’s a release out into the world. and yes, while we know their spirits are trapped in a body full of decay and memory loss, there is freedom in the release. my friend comforted me in the experiences she’s had since her fathers funeral. and how she feels him now even more than when his body was locked in dementia here on earth.
there are many of us on this cusp of motherloss. fatherloss. parentloss. there are many friends who just in this past year have lost their mothers or fathers and now stand on the other side of this. i’m still here in limbo. waiting. cursing the long goodbye as much as i am grateful for it.