To my mom. As you might remember, the 4th of July was her chosen birthday. She would have been 74 this year on 07/04. And while I don’t the fireworks over Lake Union to share with her, I did find some sparklers and we’ll be setting them off tonight. Hopefully, in front of the fountain at Frankendael but that depends a lot on how flexible they are and if I am willing to do something first and apologize afterwards. I did get the biggest sparklers allowed.
I remember the first 4th of July that my mom and I shared in Seattle. It was the day she arrived from suburban Washington DC. Ninja, our Akita, had come in as checked baggage and so had Marky, our last bunny of that time. Ninja had the XXX Large kennel, which I don’t think they make anymore. It took 4 baggage handlers to push him out the claiming area door. I wasn’t working on the ramp yet then, I was still working customer service and lost luggage of all places. We were so relieved that the pets arrived okay and even more so that my mom had. For us, it really was a whole turning point. I had left Washington DC a year earlier. I know that the Pacific Northwest gave my mom a chance to heal and do her own thing rather worry about conforming – which she was never very good at anyway!
I have been here now 8 months. I still grieve. Coming here has helped me tremendously. In part to have the memories of my mom as she was in all her feisty self come to the front instead of the memories of when she was sick. Hearing the people use the expressions that she used, learning to stop for a small coffee instead of using a drive through or taking it to go, riding the bike, talking to anyone who will listen, eating Indonesian food, talking to her at Marum – all of these things have helped me make it through the images I never thought I would get out of my head.
I miss her and the grief is still right there. It is not a coincidence that I am crying as I type. But I think my mom would have been amazed that I could be making progress towards just being in the moment. Of course, she wouldn’t remark on it – that wouldn’t be her way. She would just tell me that I was getting old and turning into some kind of cranky old lady. I miss that too, her wicked willingness to say the most unacceptable things. And her love of getting me in trouble while she portrayed the innocent senior citizen.
Tonight I will celebrate her again. And break some rules in her honor. Right now, I am going to do something else my mom always advocated for – even while she was complaining about being a dog’s body. I am going to take a nap on the sofa with the dogs.
One last thing. We never have people in our lives long enough. I don’t think that is ever a right time for someone to pass away. What I do is that what is most important is that they know they were loved, over and over again. And that they have the freedom to go in peace, with their dignity, surrounded by the love people have for them. That’s something I hope for everyone.