Thursday, June 5, 2014

"The Right Way" to Remember

G'ma's been very present these last few days.  As FlapJilly bulks up in utero, perhaps her major work of supervising the construction of her great-granddaughter requires less of her attention.  All the organs and connections are made, she's just putting on pounds and growing lungs and rods and cones, and it seems that my mother's spirit has time to wander.

She's been next to me in the car, admiring the clouds and the big sky and wondering why the sun is so hot on her arm.  I smile and remind her that it is summertime in Arizona... and I pause for her to catch up.... "Tucson... right?"

There's a catch in my throat and a tug in my chest and then I start to judge.....

It's very un-mindful of me to do so.  Yogi Marcia reminds us to let the thoughts flow through and around and out again, noticing their presence but not assigning value. This is a difficult task when considering my maternal unit; she was the Queen of Judgment.

Wrinkles where there should have been ironed creases.... bad grammar ..... inappropriate laughter.... our obvious superiority to all things not ours... even when she knew that her life was far from perfect, that there was room for improvement, that she herself was lacking..... her ability to put others into their proper place never waned.

So, driving past the pod castle, I had to shake my head - hard... from side to side... more than once - to get the image of her last few weeks out of my head.  Her frailness had turned to near invisibility; she was skin over bones.  Opening her eyes to say hello was an effort; they didn't stay that way for long.  I sat beside her and watched tv and fled the scene.  It was too hard to handle.... and yet it is the memory which pops into my head.....over and over and over again.

It's not helpful.  It puts me back into the space where you were reassuring me that my avoidance was okay, that I should take care of myself, that G'ma knew I loved her ... even if I was only there for an occasional five minute visit.  I wasn't proud of myself during those last months; I thought I ought to have more inner strength.

I am my mother's daughter... therefore, I judge.

Finding myself with G'ma on Mt. Lemmon at the end of yesterday's post put a huge smile on my face.  Why don't I go to those spaces when I think of her?  Why do I put myself at the end, when things were winding down, when she was busy with the business of leaving me?  Why do I revisit the time I dropped her

There was a glass-half-empty quality to my house growing up.  That may be part of it.  Those days are closer in time than the happier memories.  Perhaps that's it.  There was so much raw emotion, the loss was so obvious, everything was happening in real time and the finality of it all was striking.... laden with emotional content to put it in clinical terms.... it made a lasting impression.

I wish it would go away


  1. I think you are still grieving and this is your way of doing it. I think we all remember the final moments with our loved ones. It plays like a bad movie in our heads. I try to remember by Grandma during happier times, but when I think of her, I keep going back to that place where she's hooked up to a bunch of wires with morphine coursing through her veins. I remember saying good-bye and just hoping she would go quickly. That was in 1998 and it's still very vivid to me. :(

    What I do when I feel like that is bring out pictures of us together, tell my children about her and keep the happy memories at the surface--so those horrible memories don't come up. I know it's hard, but you will need to do this to help your heart.

    Sending lots of healing hugs your way.

    Megan xxx

    1. I've been talking about making an album of happy times for myself.... thanks for confirming that it's a good idea.

  2. You are still very close to the end and so that is what you remember. Just don't dwell there. As time passes, that memory will fade and the others, the happier times, will become clearer. Grasp on to those good times. Carry them around with you. Tell those stories to your children and that new granddaughter. The good times will overcome those last few bad days. I can speak from experience. My mother lingered for 5 weeks after a major stroke. It was horrible. It took me years to get past that memory. Then I started remembering the really good stuff my mother taught me and I started telling those stories. Made all the difference.

    1. And, once again, my readers bring me back from the brink <3

      I have to run a different tape to carry around with me... you are so right.


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