Monday, September 14, 2009

Repost: Lessons from an empty room

Pin It Originally posted on July 10, 2009

I promised to only repost 15 of my favorite blogs of the first 500; this is the last of these. Strange, in looking over these first posts I found myself faced with the dilemma of choosing only a few.

I narrowed it down to 87.

From then came the arduous task of taking it down even farther to only fifteen of those 87. It was difficult…I found myself vacillating back and forth between posts, wanting to reshare some, and then others.

This is the last of the reposts.

I won’t say that these of the 500 are the only posts which mean something to me, because that simply wouldn’t be true—there are far too many experiences recorded on these pages to narrow it down and call it good.

So my reposting now comes to a grinding halt and the posting of new life will recommence. Ah, the pressures of finding new materials to write about…but perhaps not, “Joey” has been up to his usual antics, and he’ll soon be delighting readers with his usual—and not so usual—exploits. Also, there is much to write about New York as of yet, and a trove of photographs I still have to share.

It’s amazing that I’d all but forgotten about my trip over the past few weeks as school has taken nearly every breathing minute I’ve had; of course, that’s part of why I love teaching…when a job requires so much, there are big payoffs, too…

To explain this final repost though: this posting was one of the most difficult for me because it came at a time right after the passing of Mom. No, not the mother who gave me life, but still one of the women in my life I bestow the name of mother to. I cannot thank her enough for all she’s done for me over the years; for items far too personal to mention on a blog.

Here’s to you, Mom.

An artist paints with colors. A photographer captures images with light. A writer portrays thoughts to form with words which he feels and sees.

I sit.

I sit alone in Mom’s room.

I keep waiting for the feeling; waiting to feel her ghost—her spirit.

As I look into the vacant space where her bed used to lay, I feel the emptiness which has taken its place. It is this same void which fills me, this type of nullity which has been left behind that nobody else can understand—at least so it would strike as being.

My dad and I canvassed the room earlier today for mom’s framed pieces, tucked away in shadowed corners, several of which she created—cross-stitchings which she fashioned long ago during cozy nights with the aroma of scented candles burning in mixtures of amber and vanilla. As I gazed at these works wrought at her hands I felt that a piece of her yet remained, though her essence had gone; fled away to some far-away and distant place where the rest of us could not follow.

The sunlight dances on the other side of the window as my eyes fall on one of the stitcheries Mom made years before; its words burn themselves into my retina like an after-image of staring at the sun:

As I read over this quote I think of Mom’s crimson nails, filed and painted to perfection—a simple yet sublime act of love.

I remember sitting at the table.

It was a difficult time yet again; Mom’s breathing came in belabored gasps and haphazard moments of coherentness. My two younger sisters and brother-in-law had come to help; we were all taking shifts with sitting with Mom. This was good as it was keeping anyone from getting completely burned out.

I remember being slumped at the dining room table, resting my head on one arm when my dad made the pronouncement; he was going to have Mom’s manicurist come out to the house.

He fumbled with his phone and dialed the number. He spoke with the woman on the other end and set up the paltry details. He wanted the works—and price was no option.

Only the best.

I remember at first wondering what he was doing. Just why was he going to do this? Mom was in such a sick and weakened condition, what difference would this really make?

I had no idea.

The manicurist arrived. When Mom was told she was to have her nails done, her frail fingers outstretched—it was a sight to bring tears to one’s eyes. The job—no small one to be sure—took in the zone of 4 ½ hours to complete.

My dad had arranged this out of pure, simple love.

Mom knew. It completely exhausted her. She couldn’t speak, but she knew.

For the next several days, every time I saw Mom’s fingers or her carefully-painted toes, I found myself smiling. This was not merely a manicure and pedicure; this was an act of adoration of a man for the woman he treasured—the woman he knew delighted in this—the woman who was slowly ebbing away. He was giving her something which she couldn’t do for herself, something she loved; something which made her feel beautiful and appreciated.


The sunlight shifts and I find myself back in my Mom’s empty room. Though I find tears aplenty as I sit here alone, I discover that the room is no longer empty; it is filled with lessons, lessons of the heart and memories of love.

It is true…time truly cannot erase the memories which are created by love.


Anonymous said...

I suppose that the heavens are crying today, why not me as well? Something in this post touched me more deeply than the first time I read it. Perhaps it is timing. Nevertheless, if possible, it was even more beautiful to read this time around. It actually coincides with many thoughts I have been having regarding my own mortality as well as that of those whom I love. Regardless, thank you.

Linn said...

DEFINITELY one of the best--absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing it again.

Corine said...

I LOVE THIS POST! ...a real tear jerker

Should I die before my husband... I don't know what he will do, but I can see him doing something like this. It makes me feel blessed to be adored. :D

More importantly though, it inspires me to want to do (and be) likewise.

THANK YOU! :D You are a beautiful writer!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post even more the second time around, and found the photo a very moving addition. She was a beautiful woman.

I concur 100 percent with Corine's comment.

K.J. said...

I really like the photo you posted added to this post. This post is such a beautiful post. Beautiful!

mywest said...

Son, each time I read this I'm filled with warm feeling that boil over into tears. Its now almost 10 weeks without mom. I cry on a daily basis as I miss not having her here. I walk the cemetery now a minimum of three times a week watering the flowers I have planted along with any others I see. I also take cut flowers from the yard... These would have been the flowers cut for the home but now displayed for mom. Thanks for being our son and loving us. DAD

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