Friday, June 20, 2014

Mama,

It's been a while.  I haven't been able to complete a letter to you or a post on my blog in quite sometime.  Some kind of grief induced ADD, I think.  I have a lot of grief induced issues, though, that I really wish I could rid myself of.  But I will save that for another time.

It's not just the grief.  I will sit down to pick up my laptop only to find that it has been confiscated by Madalyn to watch videos of girls playing with American Girl dolls or to browse the website looking at over priced doll clothes and accessories.  And then, when I finally get the laptop back in my possession, it's almost always dead.  So if I had the notion to sit down and write, it is gone after all the trouble it takes to find the laptop.  I have now officially reached the point in motherhood where I understand that it is much easier to parent babies and toddlers than older children.  They are more easily contained and controlled.

We took a vacation a few weeks ago.  A family cruise stopping in Key West, Nassau, and Freeport.  It was fun, but we spent more money than I dreamed we would, and I got off the boat feeling completely sick to my stomach of what we could have done with the cash besides a cruise.  I stood on the beach in Freeport watching a woman peddle handmade necklaces and bracelets for a few bucks a piece while I paid $4 for a bottle of water.  Something about that doesn't sit right with me, and maybe not many people would understand that, but you would.  It feels like an injustice.  I talked with another man on the Freeport beach as he poured a cold beer into a plastic cup, the table in front of him covered in beautiful wood carvings of various shapes and sizes that his own hands had made.  As we talked, he smiled to reveal he had no front top teeth.  I asked him how he learned his craft, and he told me his grandfather beat it into him, literally beating him when he did something wrong.  He said it in jest, but I knew there was more than a grain of truth behind it.  And so I told him he was amazing and how his talent was obviously a gift from God.  He smiled the most genuine smile I had seen in a long time like he felt understood, and it was a beautiful moment.  I haven't told anyone else that story, but you would have loved to hear it.

And one night on the ship, I think maybe the night we got back from Freeport, I had gotten ice cream with Madalyn (her favorite part of the cruise, by the way... the free ice cream), and we were waiting on Scott and a couple of others to come down on the stools in between the pool and the bar.  And there was this group of couples, no kids with them at all, and one of the men was sporting his Carnival plush white robe and was obviously in charge of entertaining his friends for the night.  So I started talking to a couple of the ladies, and I asked them how it came to be that they all were able to vacation without their kids.  One woman pointed to her friend, hair very short, and said she had just finished treatment and this was their celebration.  And then I talked about you, and there were tears and hugs to go around.  I sat there on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean crying with women I will never see again.  It was such an amazing moment.  Painful, but lovely.

I went to the mailbox yesterday, and there it was.  Dad had mailed a birthday card to David who will be thirteen tomorrow.  Thirteen.  And I stood in the driveway and cried because you won't be a part of him turning thirteen.  Nor will you be a part of any conversations in the next several years about teenagery things I will have a bazillion questions and concerns about.  That really sucks, you know.  It does.

I feel like I'm treading water right now, Mama.  Like my soul is stuck out there on the ocean with no cruise ship.  I am living and doing and cooking and cleaning, but that is about it.  I'm trying to read more as it tends to preoccupy my mind.  I am just still stuck in this weird place, and the strangest of things set my heart off.

A young woman I know has been sent home with hospice care.  Just sent home to wait to die.  It's such a crazy thing thinking back on our week of waiting, what a blur it all was, how painful it felt and still feels.  And that's just it.  Every single day, we live out our course of life not knowing how today will affect our tomorrows.  Not realizing how today may actually be a day that we think about for the rest of our lives.  That family and her friends who are caring for her have no idea that in a few years they will look back over quiet painful moments and cry about them still.  They have no idea how their life is about to change.  No clue.

But I do.  I'm writing my dead mother a letter, for goodness sake.  This grief thing... it sucks.

I wish I could feel you more around me lately, but I find myself shutting off my senses trying not to feel anything at all.  But I still see you in the birds.  You have left the birds for me, and there's a lovely pair of Cardinals living in the neighbors yard.  They perch on our fence quite regularly, and I love to watch their brilliant red flash back and forth across the yard.

I love you, Mama.  I always will.