Today it’s 8 years ago that Mom passed into the light. On the day that it happened, Seattle was experiencing a strangely beautiful winter day. The day was cold, clear and sunny. When she left, it was with the sunlight shining down on her face through the windows. Later, it was as if she chose the most beautiful moment of the day to go since Seattle in January usually consists of grey, plus more grey, plus rain.
Today it’s snowing. I didn’t believe it would happen since I think most weather forecasts follow the CYA Forecast Methodology – the Cover Your Ass kind. When they say “There will be a chance of showers, some breaks and a light wind may occur in the evening. And there’s a chance of some sun.” Everything in one forecast, take your pick and you will always be partially correct!
It started snowing in the middle of our walk this afternoon. I didn’t think it would continue or pick up in intensity but it has. After all, we’re too much of a city, it’s too warm, etc. It also started earlier than they said it would. Then again, why shouldn’t it today? Mom wasn’t known for her “go along with crowd” personality.
Where snow is concerned, I have some really good memories of my Mom. For example, the day we went to pick up George at 3 months of age from the shelter in Yakima, it was snowing. He and Henry first met each other in the snow. When I surprised her with a trip to the Yukon Territory (CAN) for her 72nd birthday, there was so much snow that if you stepped of the path to to your cabin, you would be standing in snow above your knee. I remember her stepping off the path by accident and how much we laughed then.
We were the only guests during the time and the toilets were in the main building. If you left your cabin at night, the only light was from the sky and the snow.
As it snows today, there won’t be the chance of seeing the Northern Lights or hearing her laugh. Instead I’ll make soup out of all of the leftover things in the kitchen and think of her doubting if all of those things really belong together in one pan. And I will miss her When the snow stops, I hope the world outside will be as magical as my Mom was.
I really tried today to have a brighter mindset. Riding my bike this morning, I tried to find the freezing cold weather and harsh wind out of the NE as a way of bringing my Mom closer. She used to say that all of the cycling in the rain and wind is what made her tough. I tried to use that wisdom this morning to keep missing her at bay. Not particularly successful.
By the time that I got to the classroom, there was just no salvaging it. Today was going to be hard and I wasn’t going to be able to get away from the feeling of missing her and still being sorry that she is gone. And yeah, still feeling angry – too early. I wasn’t ready not to have my Mom at my side anymore. Or more realistically, standing behind me and giving me a swift kick.
The thing I want to yell most is “IT’S NOT FAIR.” It’s not and it won’t ever be. That doesn’t make me unique, it makes me one of the billions of people who have lost someone that they loved. It makes me mad that there are so many things I didn’t get to share with her, all of the energy and determination she had that didn’t get to start as many shitstorms as she had a right to and a capacity for and that sometimes I think that all of my strength is not my own but came from my mother.
It’s that last one that I have spent a lot of time with today. I know that the wild and stubborn will of my mother is within me. As is the anxiety and the fear that I am not doing enough. But how do you know that you will have enough endurance to keep going?
When I think about her life and all of the things that she experienced, I wonder if I would also have had that strength? Would I have made it through like she did? Would I have continued to be myself and not fade away into some type of people pleaser? Because if there was one thing my Mom was not, it was a people pleaser!
I can try to wrap it up in sentences, to see if I can make sense of what I am feeling. The reality is I know what I am feeling. Today, when we should have been going somewhere to eat really good Mexican food and drink a margarita, I am instead missing her deeply. I’d like to say “Happy Birthday, Mom” and have her look at me over the top of her glass with that spark of mischief in her eye.