- W. H. Auden
|The Convalescent (Zeffy in Bed) - Oil on canvas|
Lillian Hale, 1906
It’s been one week since my mother flew away on the supermoon. At least that’s the way I like to think of it, her soul lifting up out of her now-unnecessary body, soaring upward to alight on the gleaming giant moon, looking down at the glory of Gaia’s earth, then moving on to realms unknown.
Or maybe her departure was more like the explosion of fireworks, with tiny sparkling shards of her soul arching out in all directions , lighting up the heavens, some of them piercing into her family and friends’ hearts as the true “final resting place.” Who can know for sure?
What I do know with certainty is that I have barely begun the grieving process, and I need to be gentle with myself. I’ve been through the process before (who at my age hasn’t?), and there is no set time frame for healing to occur. I have no expectations but to allow the process to unfold as it will, feel what I must feel when the feelings arise, cry the tears I must cry when they erupt, and endure the pain that I am sure to encounter along the way.
Already I have reached for the phone several times, thinking it’s time for me to check in with Mom, when I remember that she won’t be on the other end of the line. It’s a strange and sad feeling.
When my husband insisted soon after our marriage over 35 years ago that we move to his hometown (ancient, pre-cell phone days), I acquiesced, though secretly I felt as if he was moving me to the other side of the world, rather than the other side of the state. I had not, at that point, traveled much in my entire life, and my roots had grown deep and spread wide and set firmly in the soil of my hometown. I agreed to yank myself up, roots and all, on one condition. He could not complain about the long distance phone bill. Ever. To anyone. Especially to his family. He agreed.
To my knowledge, he never did. I spoke with my mother frequently…not every day, but at least once a week at first. Then, as I went through pregnancies and childbirths and illnesses and injuries and birthdays and first dentist appointments and first soccer practices and first days of school and such, I was calling more frequently.
By the time I found myself with three little boys under the age of five, I was speaking to Mom every day. Of course I would. After all, she had raised four boys of her own, so there wasn’t much that she didn’t know about these feral beings and how to tame them. Oh, yeah. She was so wise. [If you want to read some of her “mom-isms” you can read them HERE.]
Mind you, she rarely called me. In fact, she rarely called any of her children. If the phone rang and her number popped up on caller ID, I was sure that either it was my birthday, or there was an emergency. She was the kind of mother who never meddled in her children’s business, never inserted herself in their plans, and never played the martyr. The truth is, she had a busy, productive life of her own outside of her children, and so maybe…now that I think of it…just maybe, she enjoyed her freedom from us!
At any rate, I never felt pressured to call her. I simply loved her company, her great good humor, her sage advice, and her attention. After all, I was one of six children, so it was with no small measure of satisfaction that as an adult I discovered that the best way to bask in my mother’s undivided attention was to speak with her on the phone.
As her health declined and my trips to check on her increased, our phone conversations waned (she never could get the hang of her hearing aid), but we still laughed a lot during our conversations. I loved making Mom laugh, and she certainly knew how to tickle my funny bone.
Even in the final weeks of her life, I would regale her with stories (complaints) about my routine experiences (problems) with everyday life (family), and soon we would both be laughing. She looked at me once on a recent visit, held my hands in hers, and said to me, “you are such a funny girl.”
“Funny, “ha-ha”, or funny, “odd?” I asked, which set her laughing again.
“Funny, “ha-ha,” she assured me, to which I asked her, “Now where would I get that trait?”
She released my hands, put both her thumbs in the air, and pointed them at herself, which of course, tickled me pink.
Yes, I think I will need some time to adapt to the quiet mornings without the phone conversations with my mother.
I guess I'll do what we usually do while healing...lie in bed a while longer than usual, get fresh air, breathe deeply, and carefully nourish my body. Like caring for a convalescent, I'll give myself a little extra TLC.
It'll be nice...it just won't be as fun.
Today, I wish for you a great conversation with one you love.
Today's music selection is the aria, "Song to the Moon" from the opera "Rusalka" by Antonin Dvorak. I'm sorry to say that this beautiful version has no English credits to share with you. I assume this singer is Korean, though I may be mistaken, but there is no mistaking the gorgeous talent she holds.
In this aria, a water nymph, Rusalka, sings to the moon that the moon might hear her desire to find the prince she loves. I especially love Dvorak's lyrics beseeching the moon;
Silver moon upon the deep dark sky
Through the vast night pierce your rays
This sleeping world you wander by
Smiling on men's homes and ways
Oh moon 'ere past you glide, tell me
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?Enjoy.