Pin It My mind is a tumult of thought.
I thought about Mom today; as I did, I found it strange that someone you care about in this life could suddenly be whisked away. Photographs still remain. Videos might be left behind. Recordings of their voice might still be in existence…yet they are no longer with us.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to write about Mom, about how I’ve felt, about the good and the bad moments over the previous months since that fateful day this past summer. A whole lifetime has passed since those heartrending moments, and yet, it feels like it was only as long ago as a whisper shared amongst friends.
Time keeps going on whether or not we’d like it to.
The house was a melee of smells as family members were preparing the food for our Thanksgiving feast; however, I just felt that I needed to get out for a little while—to be alone—to think.
I decided to take out the trash.
I moved outside into the bitter crisp of November as the Thanksgiving wind buffeted me from all sides. In the distance, the pale light of the sun shone through the horizon’s misty clouds. I wanted that sun to bury its warmth deep into the empty and dark places of my soul. I stood, breathing in with lungs capable of still doing so, feeling the oxygen filling me.
I thought of the meal we were about to eat; the meal that she would not be taking a part in. It just seemed so inequitable, so unfair.
I retreated to my basement office to escape everyone and everything. I decided to organize files—as well as the accumulated slices of decades’ worth of living—to take my mind from the pummel of reflection. I settled down and found boxes rising about me in the minefield of disorganization…
Letters, photographs, various knickknacks and paddywhacks; they surrounded me like a vestibule of yesterday.
As I sifted though these fragments of my own life’s history, I felt myself remembering this particular student, that specific moment of childhood—a fragmented memory which had long-since been forgotten and lain dusty and dormant.
It wasn’t long before my dad came into the room.
Against the wall was a collection of artwork Dad had given to me on that last visit home, nestled amongst them were the sticheries, those which Arlene had done while she was still alive. Dad stared silently at each of these pieces in turn and then asked:
“Did you know that she wrote to you on the back of this one?”
I looked up from the papers I’d been sorting through, and shook my head. I arose from my place and moved slowly to where my dad was standing. The stichery was large, proclaiming “Welcome to the Zimmerman’s” proudly from its frame.
I turned the frame with trembling fingers and looked down at the brown paper backing. There, scrawled in curls I immediately recognized, I saw a message written to me. Mom had written it, she’d written sometime before—before the final days and moments that had taken her inescapably away.
I read over the note she’d written, my mouth dropping open. I was devoid of speech for several moments—I simply gazed at the writing before me.
And, just for a moment, she was there. Whispering those things I so much needed to hear, a message spoken from beyond the blistering confines of this thorny life.
When my dad departed from the room, I remained a few moments longer, gazing at the letter written to me.
Photographs still remain. Videos might be left behind. Recordings of voices might still be in existence…and testaments of love will not be forgotten.