Have a dressed up day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Learning

I'm dressed and ready to walk out the door, already late, and my phone rings.  Punch cups are needed at my girl's apartment warming party.

I put her on hold and answer another call.  Punch cups, again.

Juggling the phone I reach into the buffet to pull out my mama's glass cups - smooth and fluted, etched and cut.  The bottom falls as I drop my phone and stretch arms that fail to catch.  My eyes fill as I look at the floor.  All her cups.  What took her forty years to collect I destroy in seconds of hurried frustration.

They lay shattered on the floor.  Dozens.  I quickly scoop up the ones that survived and yell a warning to everyone as I race out of the house.  Tears are threatening.  They won't be hard to fall if I give in.  This day, which has been twenty-one years in the making, isn't surprising me with its pain.

In moments a friend from childhood wraps her arms around me as she says, They're just things. Just things.

I look at her and am reminded of her daddy, lost to her on this earth just months ago.  Found in heaven.  She waits to see him again.

As I pull into this spot in front of my girl's new home I reach for the few strong ones and wonder how I will tell my mama.  Mama who entrusted me to keep her things safe.  Years of hostessing wedding and baby showers for friends who returned the favor. 

I hug and speak the words.  I feel five.  I hurt today.

Rie, they're just cups.  It's easier to use plastic now anyways.  She squeezes back.

Does she remember?  Does she understand? 

I travel back and sit in the quiet of a hospital room and if I close my eyes I can imagine the blood flowing from my mama's brain as it drains.  Only later would we who love her realize how much more than just blood was lost those days.

I return and watch my girls smile in their joy, grin in their pride. I know a secret. Fear grips them both often as this new adventure struggle envelopes each new day.

Weeks have passed since that difficult day.

 One broken cup sits on a shelf.  A piece I couldn't throw away.  A reminder of Mama lost and of one found.

A reminder of days beautiful and difficult.  Significance.  Me struggling to let go and holding on to more than just memories, more than just a past.  More than my children and my Mama.

Does she understand?  More than me.  But I'm learning.


Anonymous said...

Oh Marie...I hurt for you too after reading this. I can't imagine your mom any different than she is now. A beautiful, sweet, loving, sensitive woman. I broke my Nanny Moe's deviled egg plate a couple of months ago and I cried. I could not tell her because she would never even understand what I was talking about. It's funny how sometimes things makes us feel a little closer to those we love. Love you!!

Anonymous said...

Marie, I think that Mama does remember; she does understand. It's just that, after coming as close to death as she did, she now realizes that cups and clothes and possessions are just things. It took a long time for her to realize that she did almost die. She seemed almost angry at first when we had to tell her about something that had happened during that time and she didn't remember it. But as she has learned to accept that period in her life--even if she doesn't remember it--and as she has had to deal with Daddy's illness, she has seen what is truly important in life. We aren't the only ones who learned how fragile our family is. It has changed Mama and Daddy, too.
So, don't worry. It is true that those keepsakes hold memories we don't want to lose. (And, as we get older, we need more and more help keeping our memories!) But Mama and Daddy are so much a part of who we are, we can never lose them. And just think, you may have lost a cup, but you gained love and forgiveness. Not a bad exchange!!
I love you,

Jennifer said...

I can relate so well to this as I have been watching the effect of the "cure" for my Mama's disease affect her in more and more ways. I find myself trying to hold on to anything that reminds me of the time when I didn't know what 5 years of chemo would do to a person. Thanks for sharing ... even in you did make me cry!

Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12