Sunday, November 29, 2009

November 26, 2009

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.

I smiled.

Photographs still remain. Videos might be left behind. Recordings of voices might still be in existence…and testaments of love will not be forgotten.


Lars said...

You have quite the way with words. This was beautiful. Hope you have more days to fill your soul with warmth.

Mamma has spoken said...

I miss my mom too, every single holiday, celebration, and event that I know she would wanted to be a part of. Time will heal your heart and you'll be able to find her in the smallest things without coming to tears. Or at least you'll want to share those tears and thoughts with others who loved her as much as you do.

Lydia said...

I'm so glad that you where able to feel conected to her on such a great day.

Richard & Natalie said...

I'm glad you found something of meaning to help you through the holiday. She is fortunate to be loved and missed so much.

Rachel said...

The holidays seem to make missing those we love even harder.

A few years ago our Christmas tree fell over. Brian and I were up in bed, kids all bedded down, and we heard this loud crash! When I saw which ornaments had been shattered a pain of which I'd never had before or since lodged itself in my chest and throat. It was huge. A huge pain I couldn't get past. I could hardly breathe. The ornaments that had been placed high up on the top of the tree so they wouldn't get broken were now on the floor shattered at my feet. They were Levi's...... A few other ornaments had been broken too but they could be replaced. Not the Levi ornaments that had been broken. The ornaments with his name on them, the year, his first Christmas, etc.

I went into my room finally recognizing what that pain was. It was sobs that wouldn't come out. Sobs that when Levi goes, these were the things I'd have left to hold and to touch.

What a beautiful gift your mom left you.

Linn said...

Your writing is absolutely incredible. Thanks.

Kris said...

All I can say right now....I Love You Jason!

Gerb said...

That song... wow.
And your words... yes.

Bee said...

I can only imagine the blessing that letter was to you. Timing is everything, isn't it? Happy Thanksgiving, friend.

Teachinfourth said...

B - I am sorry for your loss. I understand just how difficult that could be...

L - Thanks. I know that there are many more ahead of both kinds. Of course, that's life, isn't it?

G - It's always nice when somebody can empathize with you, but for some things, you wish they really weren't able. You know that I mean.

B - Thanks. Happy Day to you, too.

K - Love you, too. Hope to see you on my next visit to the land southward...whenever that is.

L - Thanks. Sometimes, you just write what is there. The words are just waiting to be used.

N - I am glad my dad found it, too.

R - I hope that you can create many more 'keepsakes' in the time that you have, more things to hold and to remember.

BTW, I asked him today as school was ending who was was the best, he or M. He said it was M. M, behind the sunglasses, just grinned happily away. What a great kid Levi is...

L - I am glad she wrote what she did. It makes me think that I could be doing so much more than I am...

Teachinfourth said...

You know, it's dad found this online the other day and shared it with me.

Scroll down halfway through the blog OR simply click CONTROL + F when you reach that page and it will open up a 'find' option. Type in 'Arlene' and you'll see why he (and I) was surprised. I wondered, just how in the world did he find her obit?

It's nice though to see one's words shared with others...

Richard & Natalie said...

I just followed the humbling is that?
I read her obit. awhile ago and was struck at how beautifully written it is. I hope that is how someone will write about me; not a list of things I've done, but the way I made them feel & how I let them know I loved them. That is what will remain long after I am gone. From your writings and the admiration and love you have for your mother that you share with us, that one thing is clear. Thanks.

Gerb said...

That is pretty amazing that someone would publish this on their blog, but it does not surprise me.

I've always known your writing could impact others in this way - you just haven't found proof of it until now. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there are many, many copies of that beautiful obituary that you wrote tucked away into people's journals and bibles or other places where it can be pulled out and read every so often. Do you know why? Because every person who has loved someone and had that person die has struggled to write a fitting tribute and not been able to find the words to convey what was in their heart. Everyone in similar circumstances wishes they had written such a loving and beautiful tribute for their loved one.

When you sent me a copy of it to read over this summer, I saved it and have read it a few times since. It helps me remember that someone else knows and understands the feeling and emotion associated with such a profound loss.

You don't need to publish this comment... it ended up longer than I had intended but I didn't feel like cut-and-pasting it into an email.

Thanks for the extra link.

mywest said...

I love you so much and had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Yes, we both got emotional and shared some tender moments that I will never forget.
My drive was very hard with memories of times pasted traveled with mom. I stopped at our usual places just to sit and cry. Its hard now being alone for someone who has been married for 40 years of his life. I'm so thankful for wonderful children who check on me and truly care about how I feel and just let me talk. I love you!

Rachel said...

Oh J, that is just beautiful! I Amen Gerb's words.

I pray that someday one of my children will write something about me that is so touching.

Rachel said...

:D .......doesn't surprise me that Levi would say that and Matthew wore those to school? What a nut.

Yesterday as a family we met with the Bishop for tything settlement. We threatened the Natives in the car with their lives if they misbehaved. We walked into the church and Levi walked up to the Bishop and said, "DON'T ASK FOR CANDY"!!......doesn't leave much question as to what we'd talked about on the ride over does it?

I'm glad Levi put a smile on your face. I think that is his mission in life here on this earth. Making everyone around him happy.....I know he does me!

Just SO said...

For some reason the holidays this year have been more difficult. I've noticed my dads absence more than I did last year.

I love that you found that message from your mom just when you needed it. I'm sure she was smiling as you read it as well.

Teachinfourth said...

N - It was humbling...really. I hope that there will be someone which will write such an obituary about me one day, too.

G - Thanks. I was trying to think of words, but they fail me. So, thanks.

D - As Mel said on Four Perspectives, "Grief is the proof that someone was really there."

I love you, too.

R - It's a little bit funny...I can totally hear the way in which Levi would make that statement in my head.

S - Thanks. It's true that good things can come when we least expect it. Hope your Christmas goes well despite the fact that your dad is not there.

Valerie said...

What do you say when you don't know what to say? I'm not sure what to say that won't seem trite or patronizing, or overused, or insensitive. So pretend I said something that wasn't any of those things, and that came from sincerity of heart.

Lori said...

I'm so glad you discovered that message (or rather, that your father led you to it). What a blessing to be able to treasure your mother's voice again in this way. Beautifully written.

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