Sunday, May 13, 2012

a year to remember


I was filling out paperwork for a two-week summer camp Isaac will go to in July and I came across this question: “Has anything significant happened in your family in the last year?”

Dude. How much time do you have?

We could start with the natural disasters...This time last year, while we were still on our way, Mike stressing out that he wasn't working, Isaac begging for popsicles and playing with dinosaur bone replicas, Emily finding her balance in the space formerly occupied by an air conditioning unit in the van, Kitty foraging for anything that looked like sustenance for a pregnant vegetarian in the middle states – there was the tornado that tore through what would soon be our new hometown.

After that there was an earthquake, and a few weeks later, the coastline much too far for my liking or to make any sense of this weather pattern, a hurricane here in western Massachusetts.

In between the earthquake and the hurricane there was the birth of our baby – a month early, at the house we had purchased with no small amount of effort and moved into that morning. Six weeks on we would get the news that Mr baby needed open heart surgery, which would happen just after he turned 4 months old, shortly before Christmas, which somehow managed to come like in some Seuss-inspired movie (the one that did not star Jim Carey) providing my older son with what he would later deem a disappointing haul. Moving on to spring, my father-in-law dies, not unexpectedly and notably peacefully, leaving us hard-pressed to find many of the top ten stressers left out of our year.

Might I add that we still have not actually been here, in our new home for a full year. Can't wait to see what the finale might be.

The prelude, after all, was nothing less than staggering. When I arrived at my mother's house at in June of 2010 at 1:00am on a Saturday morning, I crawled into her bed. It was unoccupied as she had taken up residence in a cardio-ICU unit about 45 minutes up the parkway. After she died Saturday afternoon, I crawled back into it and slept there for three more nights, each day when the sun rose, unfeeling star, I got up and threw away her things. The path to the bed cleared slowly, like a river widening as the monsoon blew through its season.

If that bed still existed, I would still be there, surrounded by her smell and the pictures on her wall. Even in California it was a stretch to remember, to grieve in any productive way. And now, here, I feel uprooted from the process, unable to call to mind memories I want. This is a place my mother was never in. This is a life I never got to share with her. My own life uprooted so quickly after, I am derailed, confused, and yes, in a tradition my mother knew well, so, so tired.

On this Mother's Day, if you are out there, readers, tell me how you remember.

5 comments:

Christy HB said...

Go back to Cape May. See all the childhood places, if you are like me (I know you are) then you will feel her spirit. She is with you watching over and seeing your life. If angels exist, then your Mom is surely one. Love you lady, from one person having a bad stretch in life to another ... keep the faith. The force is strong in you!

Susannah said...

Memory comes only when my head hits the pillow, and then I am filled with the ache of all that will no longer be in my life, as a daughter and as a mother. I wish I could have met your mother. But I am so glad to see you as the wonderful mother you are, with the joy of you reflected back in the smiles and laughter of your children. Keep writing Kitty, your writing touches so many of us.

jaykaym said...

I like to remember my mother as she lived, not as she died, which was wretched, and horrible, and, although I was I in my 50's with children of my own, I was bereft. But I am not tied to place or things to remember but my mother is with me always in my heart and my thoughts and in my internal conversations, and sometimes, I sound so much like her when I laugh I know that she never left me. So I try to laugh often.

Namaste.

Daryl Edelstein said...

I sit down some where quiet, I either hold or wear something that belonged to her and I just let my memories take me to where we are together ... I recall once writing about how much I missed my mother and YOUR mother emailed me with words of comfort and also a pep talk ... I miss your mother almost as much as I miss mine

Kitty said...

Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. I take something from each of you and am very grateful.

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