She wrote each of us kids a letter, each started with the words, “I Love You The Best…”
As she lay dying in the next room, out of sadness, I read them all. I knew it was wrong, but I was in desperate search of the woman she once was.
When she first got sick, the doctor gave her 6 months, the bladder cancer battle had begun.
I first noticed that she wasn’t eating her packed lunches; she complained of being cold, I gave her my heaviest sweater and kept an eye on her.
She hated doctors, always saying they were sure to find something wrong and once something had a name, it had life. So, when she finally decided to get checked, I knew it was bad.
We brought her home, told her the news as the countdown began.
I took her to the hospital, they admitted her, she seems so small and fragile in her room. The lawyer came, we talked, why she chose me to be in charge of the rest of her life, puzzles me to this day.
I asked what she wanted, got her silk pajamas, down pillow to ease her pain, she wanted to go home, that’s all she wanted. So I went to the nurse’s station, they didn’t want to release her, I insisted, after all we weren’t in a prison.
Home we went, got Hospice involved ~ they came for an hour a day, during which time; I ran to a neighborhood pool and submerged my sorrow in silent swimming.
As time passed, it got worse, of course it did. She was a proud woman and didn’t want friends to see her, I stood sentry. Friends would come; I’d greet them, apologize for her not being up to visitors and give them an update. They went back to their lives as we carried on.
She left on Oct 18th, 1981 and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. I quote her often in a weak attempt to keep her memory alive. The hardest days are her Birthday, her Deathday, Mother’s day and Sundays. She always had Sunday dinner, a turkey with trimmings, in her words, “to keep the family together”.
After she left, the family fragmented, everything changed. The string which tethered us together was broken and like balloons, we scattered aimlessly.
Why are these thoughts mine today? My songwriting prompt is about not letting go of something we no longer use and I am drawn to the letter she wrote, framed and hanging in my music room. It’s travelled with me over the years, something I would grab in the event of a house fire, along with my cat.
I’m sitting next to the guitar I purchased before she left, it was a huge amount of money back then, for an Ovation electric/acoustic, which my agent said I needed for my lounge gigs. I asked her if I should buy it, she said yes, so I did. It’s the guitar that I played for hours with her on Sundays, her with her drink and cigarettes, singing along with me in her off key way.
I take great solace in those memories, the way she would come to my shows and try and hush the audience into silence.
In a closet in the next room, is my first guitar, the one she bought for me when I was 15. I was taking lessons on a broken guitar; my teacher called her and asked if she couldn’t get me something playable. How she came up with the money will always be a mystery to me, a gift that changed my life. I lost the guitar once in a move, but somehow it was mailed back to me, found lying upon the back steps of where I was living, that also is a mystery. I don’t play it much, it’s a small classical Yamaha, but like the letter she wrote, it’s something I would save in a fire. Imagine, cat under one arm, guitar in another, framed letter in another.
Material items clutter our homes, memories clutter our minds, the things we never use, but cannot let go of.
Question: In an emergency, what 3 things would you save?
Today’s Musing: “Do the best you can, no one can expect anything more” ~ Much Love Always, Your Mom.