Wednesday, April 5, 2017

It's been two years today since my mother yielded her soul to heaven. Last year I remember the one year anniversary feeling raw and emotional. Today, for better or worse, was just Wednesday, April 5. Another day of grading papers, and trying to teach young people how to write. And yet, thanks to Facebook, I was reminded what I was doing a year ago today, which was writing a post about a year prior to that on April 5, 2015 when my beautiful momma left her body. I don't know if I really have any new thoughts on the subject of losing a mother, except it still hurts. That, I know.

I recently moved into our first home. We've owned three other homes, actually, but (long story) I never lived in any of them. This house, we live in. Every day. And my mother won't ever get to visit. And that makes me sad. I want to sit at the kitchen table and shoot the shit with her. I really do. The home we lived in prior to this one is a place my mother never visited either. We moved there January 2015 and she was too sick at that time to really visit anywhere, then she passed away. I don't know if it's better, to be in space where you cannot picture someone sitting on the couch, or coming in the door. Or if it would be better to know that your loved one's presence once shared the space. It's a complicated notion.

I do have a plant that was my mother's. My daughter had asked for it shortly after "Rabbit Grandma's" death but then, as teenagers are wont to do, she nearly killed it by never watering it or letting it have light. It's a Christmas cactus and I saved it in November. And it bloomed all through January this year. In fact, it was still blooming a little when we moved in February. It has a new window sill to thrive on now and, if it's possible, there seem to be buds forming again. I know when that cactus blooms, it's my Mom. I mean, on a very organic level, there is a piece of my mom somewhere in that potted plant. Because she cared for it and nurtured it, so pieces of her DNA are part of that plant. I know I shouldn't put so much credence into a cactus. Because it might die, but then again, all of us organisms do that, unfortunately. Or fortunately, I don't know. Last weekend on NPR I listened to a reporter talking about the science of immortality and how billionaires may soon be able to pay top dollar to live forever. And you know what, that doesn't sound desirable at all. To live in this body forever. Because it's limiting. Because I'm pretty sure that we'd be missing out on something very, very cool if we refused to leave these earthly bodies. Because the transformative power of the soul allows us to become the ether of the unknown:  a silent wind in the hair of a loved one, the twinkling moonlight on the bay when someone needs joy, the transformative power of death releases us into the cosmos and we can indeed be a Christmas cactus. or moon dust, or both.

So, yes, I'm sad again on April 5, but it is the wistful sad that I do not have my mother's hand to hold or her voice to tell me she thinks my kitchen is too small, but she likes the windows. But I have the cactus and by that token, I have her with me.