I cried for my mom today. She died 12 years ago today and I was glad of it.
My mother suffered with dementia for 10 years, so she's been gone to us for over 20. When she died, I was giddy. She was finally free! The relief of it was the only reason for my tears.
So today, on this damp and misty morning, after my middle son walks down the path in the dark on his way to school, I turn off the lights again, light a candle for her and sit as the sun slowly rises.
And I remember...
~ Her walking through the halls with her hands in the air, stretching and singing "Freedom!
Fre-e-dom! Freedom is a state of mind!" (a song from our elementary days that I'm now glad she imprinted on my memory)
~ or crooning, "The first time ever I saw your face" to my cherubic little brother as she gently removed something from his nose, while he beamed back at her and sang, "with the boogers!"
~ Her strength and skill on the tennis court and her brisk, duck-footed walk with her arms swinging high. Her body was always strong and healthy. I used to think that was enough. I think maybe she did too.
~ I know just what her wavy hair felt like, and her muscular back and even the point of her pinky toe, as I spent many days with those feet on my lap, pleading for my small hands to reach out and rub.
~ The slight overlap of her front teeth and even the smell of her breath. These are the things a child remembers, and it makes me wonder what I will leave my children with.
My time alone runs out and the memories retreat. I get the second round of children up for school. I leave the candle blazing and answer their questions. I tell them a few things about the grandmother that they never knew, and try be a little kinder as I prod them out the door.
And I wait to feel her with me. Please let me feel her with me. Please.
I only have to wait until I am alone before it comes.
I have dropped the kids at school and am headed to my favorite hike with my dog in the back of my van. I turn on my music and the song comes on--one I have never before associated with my Mom--but now I have to smile.
It's called "Freedom".
I always cry when I hear this man play. I never really quite know why. One of my sweet 10-year-olds wrapped his arms around me as I wept when I forced them all to watch one of his performances online. He held me and looked at my face confused and concerned.
"No!" I said, "don't look at me...watch him! Look! Don't you see??"
He released me and shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
My Mom would know what I was talking about. She'd feel it, too.
A few weeks ago I found out the artist was playing not far from where I grew up. I briefly thought about going, but the concert is mid-week and over two hours away from where I live now. Besides, I don't know any other friends that are fans. He's kinda been my secret crush.
But for some reason, I impulsively bought a ticket to the show yesterday. I just wanted to. I had no idea how I was going to get there, who was going to watch my kids or how they would get to school the next day. I just felt compelled to buy it.
Now I know that I won't be going alone. It may sound corny, but not to me. My Mom will be there with me. The venue is in of her favorite spots and she'll be happy to visit again. We'll watch this beautiful man perform and, together, we will weep.