Tag Archives: mom

she would’ve been sixty today.

10 Apr

6am aneurysm.

 You told me that I looked like her once,
as if it were some simple compliment
you could pay to a stranger on the street.
How can seeing another face in the mirror
ever be taken as a blessing? People
constantly comparing the way I look, the way
I speak, the way I walk, the way I carry my
books pressed against my chest. All they
see is her, her, her, her to a fucking tee.

I once made my computer applications
teacher cry in front of an entire class by
reciting the simple fact of who my mother
used to be. Little had I known of her
friendship with the departed. As she broke
down in tears, I felt so embarrassed, like
the fault fell on me for being the daughter
of a dead woman.

I’m reminded everywhere I look of a life
that crumbled to pieces ten years ago.
Tom Hanks movies, cat collections,
song creating, humungous scrunchies,
lizard impressions, lilies in spring, red.
Each taken away from me before I knew
the meaning of the word teenager.

God she loved red.

I wish I could be her more than anything, but
I’m not. I’m simply the shadow of a ghost.

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One Hell of a Woman

3 Aug

Today marks the ninth year of my mother’s passing. In the past, August 3rd tends to be a day where I take to the blogs to express my everlasting dismay of losing my mother at such a young age. This act instantly earns me loads of sympathetic responses, and I suppose that’s what this entry is in turn, a plea for sympathy, though I’m gonna try to hold off on the moping and the whining, as per usual.

I’m a little in shock that we’re already at year nine. One more year and my mom will have been dead a decade. Four more years and it’ll be half my life. That’s insane.

I don’t have much to write about. I mean, of course there’s always the fact that I miss her, but that goes without saying. However, there have been two occurrences in my life lately that apply to her, and I thought I would share both of them.

Recently I watched the film A Summer in Genoa, a movie that has been sitting in my Netflix Instant Watch queue for probably going on a year now. It was one of those indie films that Netflix suggested for me, and, well, I’m not going to say no to a movie starring Colin Firth, am I? So I turned the movie on sometime last week, not bothering to look at the plot synopsis. In the first fifteen minutes of the film: two young girls lose their mother, it is revealed the mother’s name was Mary Ann, one daughter throws up at the funeral, and the remaining family (the dad and his kids) go off to Italy for an extended period of time. I almost turned the movie off. All of this, meshed with the fact that I think that Colin Firth looks like a much younger (and much more attractive) version of my own dad, made me sick to my stomach. Why was this movie doing this to me? What had I ever done to deserve it? I did almost turn it off, but I stuck with it, believing I would be rewarded for my efforts. It ended up being an all right movie, not really as good as I had been hoping (thus no reward for me), but it’s still fascinating how, after all this time, something so simple as a movie can hurt me so much.

Secondly, I’m almost done reading Stephen King’s book On Writing, and I’m currently at the section where he keeps talking about how every writer needs to have an Ideal Reader in mind. The Ideal Reader is the person a writer writes for, whom they hope to please. I sat for a long time trying to distinguish who my ideal writer would be. My dad? My brother? My godfather? Nick? Brynne? Aileen? But, when it comes down to it, it’s my mom. Even when I get married someday I doubt it will change. I will always be writing to please a ghost.

When going through some of my drafts of unfinished entries on my WordPress today, I came across something I had written about my mother. I’m not sure where it was headed or what purpose it serves, but it was a nice quip so I might as well share it now:

I wish I could talk to you about To Kill A Mockingbird, The Things They Carried, Pride and Prejudice, The Lovely Bones, and all the other wonderful books I read in high school, college, and now. I wish you had been on the phone with me when I found out I had appendicitis. I wish you had been there for me when I spent two and a half years confused about my sexuality. I wish I knew what you were doing when you found out JFK had been shot. I wish you were here to tell me that every boy who’s turned me down is a jerk and I don’t need them. I wish we could’ve shared a drink or two together. And I wish – I wish with all my heart – you had been alive for the growth of my Muppet adoration. You not only would have been understanding of my Muppet love, you would have gotten on the band wagon right alongside of me. You would’ve watched The Muppet Show with me and told me stories about how you caught episodes when you were a kid. We would’ve argued about our favorite characters. We would’ve cried watching clips of Jim’s memorial together. I have no doubt of any of this in my mind.

I’m not quite sure when I initially started writing this. Probably a couple months back.

The loss of a loved one is a curious thing. As time goes on, years pass, seasons change colors, and you begin to only feel the effects of their death in short, random spurts of emotion. You have no control of when these spurts will take place. One day you may be walking down the aisle of a grocery store or doodling in class or watching a movie with friends, and suddenly a song starts playing over the intercom or the teacher begins talking about Italian families or some (asshole) actor makes a joke about aneurysms. Suddenly you can’t control your emotions. And yet, some days, like the loved one’s birthday or the anniversary of their passing, when you feel it is very necessary for you to be sad, the emotions don’t come. And that’s today for me.

It’s not that I don’t feel any emotion and I haven’t spent almost every waking hour thinking on her, because I have, I’m just not flooded with the amount of emotion I have been in the past. Perhaps this is a good thing. Hell, I know this is a good thing. I know that some things will always spark more emotion than others, like the book A Prayer for Owen Meaney or the episode ‘The Body’ of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I guess when it comes down to it what I’m trying to say is that I miss her and still wish she were here. I wish she never left. My dad has a saying, which I always roll my eyes at upon every utterance, but I can’t deny that it doesn’t bear a heavy dosage of truth with it. “Worry about the things you can control.” I can’t go back in time and fix this, no more than I can go back in time and stop myself from eating that meat that gave me food poisoning in Mexico or stop myself from getting involved with that dude last spring. I just can’t, and it sucks, but we’re human so there’s really not much we can do about it. At least, not until someone builds me a TARDIS and gives me the power of time travel.

And when my TARDIS day comes I can guarantee you that my mom and I will be riding dinosaurs with Gilda Radner and Frank Sinatra across the outer rims of space, and no one’s gonna stop us. No one.

regrets of the day

11 Apr

i regret not telling you “i love you” more than i could have

i regret not speaking to you as we walked for two whole minutes in absolute silence

i regret buying that quesadilla

i regret not raising my hand fast enough

i regret not leaving that lecture sooner

i regret not iming you more often

i regret making you the first to share in my secret

i regret not leaving the house five minutes earlier

 

They say “forget regret”, but sometimes I find that an impossible task to accomplish.

~*~*~~

Happy 59th birthday, Mom. I have no clue what lies in the great blue yonder, but whatever it is I thoroughly hope it involves you enjoying birthday drinks with Frank Sinatra, Gilda Radner, and Jimmy Stewart.

A Daughter Without a Mother is like a Bird Who Lost Its Tail Feathers…

29 Jan

Death is a difficult subject to tackle. It’s one that everybody tries to write about and, more often than not, one that people usually fail to really captivate. God only knows I’ve written about death a number of times, and I still don’t think I’m well equipped enough to speak on it.

But on some levels, maybe I am. Death was introduced in my life when I was five years old when my favorite uncle died of lung cancer, and then again when a girl named Audrey died when I was in the fourth grade. I don’t remember much of them. I remember Uncle Dave had a thick mustache and thick glasses, and I remember Audrey was one year younger than me and was in the same Girl Scout troupe as I was, but besides that I really can’t remember them. I can’t remember why he was my favorite uncle and I can’t remember if Audrey and I were ever friends or at least pleasant acquaintances. Time and age has stolen all my fond memories of the two of them.

Then when I was thirteen my mother died of an aneurysm. It was sudden and quick and nobody saw it coming. It happened at six in the morning and by 12:15pm she was gone. That was over eight years ago, but to this day it still hurts. It’s always going to hurt, I realize, even when I’m eighty years old and can no longer remember the sound of her voice – which is already hard enough to remember as it is.

The reason I bring up death, namely the death of my mother, today is because of two things that have happened in the last twelve hours: I watched O Brother Where Art Thou and I watched the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer entitled “The Body”.

O Brother Where Art Thou may baffle some to a certain extent, so I will explain. My mother showed me O Brother when I was just a kid, about ten or eleven, probably deemed “too young” for the movie, but for some reason she allowed it. It was one of the first times I was ever invited to watch a “grown up movie” with my parents. She instructed me never to say any of the “bad words” that I’d hear, she had to explain to me why a bunch of men in white robes wanted to kill an innocent black man and she had to explain the word “nigger”, and she made me close my eyes when the Cyclops squished the toad. That being said, it quickly became one of our favorite movies to watch together and we watched it several times before her passing. It’s not a movie that always makes me think of her though; not really. I watch it on a somewhat regular basis (at least once a year?) and while she may be floating in the back of my mind as I do, there are definitely other movies that are more emotionally tied into memories of her.

However, last night as I was rewatching it and shoveling Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream into my “I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-this-diet-anymore” mouth, I was struck with a sudden odd memory. When I was eleven, I had a major crush on Delmar in that movie. Y’know, Delmar? The short, little guy played by Tim Blake Nelson? Really simple-minded, the comic relief of the main trio, and says things like “Oh George, not the livestock” and “We thought you was a toad”. Yeah, him. I had totally forgotten this over the years and was highly amused upon remembering. I wanted to share it with someone immediately and, for some reason, the first person who came to mind was my mother. I fantasized how amazing it would be to have that one, simple conversation with her. It might seem strange to others, but the image of me calling up my mom and saying to her, “Hey, so, I totally just remembered when I was a kid I had this weird crush on Delmar from O Brother! Isn’t that ridiculous?” and then her saying something funny in response, as she always did, is the thing I want most right about now. I know it’s an odd thing to fantasize about, but geez, what I’d give for that moment.

The Buffy episode is a bit easier to understand why it made me think on my mom. (SPOILERS ahead for Buffy, just so we’re clear)

I have never seen a TV episode portray the loss of a loved one, especially a mother, so brutally honest. Whedon does such a great, poignant job when it comes to matters that are as serious as this, and he really did the death of Joyce justice… but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt any less to watch. I got to work this morning and told myself, “Okay, just one episode of Buffy and then I’ll get straight to the homework”… well, that one episode ended with Buffy finding her mom dead on the couch and I instantly knew I had to watch the next one. And I did. And I cried. A lot. And I was utterly thankful that no one came into the office during that time, because if they had they would have found me red-faced, tears streaming down my cheeks, and choking back sobs of empathy. The part that got me the hardest was finding out the character had been taken by an aneurysm and then realizing that the character of Dawn is very close to the age I was at when I lost my mother to an aneurysm. It’s so rough at that age. And Buffy’s reaction and shock to the situation was unbearable, and seeing how all of her friends took the news… ugh. Heart rendering. Also, I thought his line was extremely accurate:

Buffy: Was it sudden?
Tara: What?
Buffy: Your mother.
Tara: No. And yes. It’s always sudden.

It’s always sudden when we lose a person; whether it happens in the blink of an eye or it’s a gradual, slow process that you think you’re prepared for. You’re never truly prepared. Not really. It’s always going to hurt like a bitch to say good-bye to someone you love with your whole heart.

I’m sure this is not the last time I’m going to write about death, and it’s certainly not the last time I’ll reference my mother. There’s still so much I wish I could say to her, and I feel like writing it down is the only way I’ll ever find that sense of closure that I’ve been looking for ever since I was thirteen.

A daughter without a mother is like a bird who lost its tail feathers…it’s still possible for it to fly, it’s just a much greater challenge.