Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fifty-Five Years Ago

On this day, fifty-five years ago, my mother was born. 

A year ago today I took her out for her birthday with my sister.

We took my sister’s car since it was difficult for my mom to get in and out of my little car.  Elinore and I picked our mom up and we went across the bridge to Destin.  We grabbed dinner at the Olive Garden and for the first and only time my mother and I drank wine together in public.  I felt like a true grown-up with her for the first time. 

After dinner we all went over to the Rave at Destin Commons and watched Tangled together in 3D.  That was the first and only time my mother saw a film in the new 3D style.  She loved it and the movie and couldn’t stop raving about it.  For one night she was the mother I remembered from my childhood, making no demands on me or forcing me to feel guilty about things outside of my control.  As we drove back across the bridge, listening to Christmas music, I wondered if we’d ever get to do this again.  I didn’t know where I’d be for her birthday this year, so thought it quite possible I wouldn’t be able to see her, though I assumed she and Elinore would do something together.

Little did I know that this year she’d be at Barrancas and I’d be in Korealand.

Things can change so fast, something that’s easy to forget when your life is the same for so long…

This was the last time I spent all day with her.

From January to April I was too busy doing my student teaching to see anyone.

For the month of May I was out of town, though I did see her when she went to lunch with my sister.

During June, July, and August I talked to her a few times on the phone, but only saw her once.

We met at Whataburger at about 2200 and I bought her a burger.  We just chit-chatted and I showed her some things I had written.  She liked them and ended up giving me a Weird Al CD to give my dad on his birthday.  I paid her back for it.  We parted after about an hour and she gave me some homemade cake.  I didn’t eat the cake because her kitchen wasn’t the cleanest and my sister had gotten sick from eating things at her house before, but I still took it with a smile and a hug and thanked her for it.

That was the last time I hugged her...

That was the last time I saw her alive, or, rather, at all, until I saw her resting in a cherry box no larger than a shoebox.

I carried her to her final resting place and I suppose it’s rather symbolic.  All the years I tried to take care of her, trying to save her from herself, with her fighting me every step of the way, they were finally over.  I hadn’t been able to save her, but I was able to finally carry her.

I walked under the blazing sun, my black dress making me think that I was suffocating, carrying my mother in my arms, with my sister by my side carrying her flag, and I realized that all my efforts had been futile.

I wasn’t able to save her from herself, because the only person that can save you from yourself is you.

A year ago if you had asked me what I would do if I won the lottery, my answer would’ve been simple, after all, it’s been the same wish for years.

I would make sure my mother was taken care of for the rest of her life.  Sure, there were little things in there also, like a new computer or car or something, but those always came after her in order of importance and they tended to change depending on the time of year and point in my life.

And if you ask me now?

I have no idea.  I’d probably just let it collect for awhile and keep living my life as I am now. 

Well, maybe I’d buy myself a new computer and a couple nice clothing items, but not enough to make a dent in the winnings. 

For so many years my mother dominated my life, even when she wasn’t actively in it or on my thoughts and now I suddenly find various parts of my life at loose ends because she’s no longer there.

Is this what’s going to happen when my other family members begin to pass away?  Will the void they leave behind become so large that it consumes me?  Or will I find new people to love and care about to, if not take their place, help fill up some of the void?

I hope so; I can’t imagine living a life without anyone to love or care for.

After all, what is life without people to love?

Yes, I know it's still the 19th in the US of A, but it's the 20th in Korealand.

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