There’s all of these thoughts that run through my head when Life gets real like it has today.
“This too shall pass.”
“It’s not the end of the world.”
“Keep on keeping on.”
“Papa killed can’t.” (They really told us that growing up.)
“If this is the worst that ever happens…..”
And the clincher, that Mama would say if she were here to answer my phone call, usually preceded by a sigh, “Well, at least they’re not shooting bullets at us.”
Today I’ve been talking back to my the voice in my head.
“How soon do I have to wait for this to pass? ‘Cause enough is enough.”
“It might not be the end, but I sure might be okay if it were, because this is hard.”
“I don’t have it in me to keep on anything.”
“Can’t. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t. I just can’t anymore.”
“It’s not. The worst happened over the past two years, but this isn’t too great either.”
And finally, shaking my head, “No Mama, they’re not. But sometimes these things hurt like bullets flying…..”
My head, my heart, my mind–it’s as discombulated as my Mama’s once neat house. “Everything in its place” was her motto, but right now, you’d never know it. Things being sorted, piles made, nothing where she left it. I know it has to happen, I do. It’s all part of the process of taking care of business. It’s just that everything is lost, but mostly me. I wander through what was once familiar, and I find nothing but chaos, mimicking the turmoil in my heart.
I promised I wouldn’t write about this every day, but today it has hit pretty hard. The grief, the needing to talk to her, the need for her organization and my old home to be my safe place for sorting it all out. The need for her wisdom. The need for her.
Instead the time has come for me to sort things out myself. I don’t even know what that looks like. I do know that it’s what she would have wanted. She would not have appreciated my dragging my heels or my moping about. “Take a moment, do what you have to do, then let’s get this done.” I can almost hear her whisper in my ear.
Today I found a little storage box with drawers that Daddy had kept on his worktable in the back bedroom. Once my brother’s room, it had become a reflection of their interests, of who they were. The drafting table with Mama’s art supplies, her sketches and drawings, rough drafts of stories, and stored underneath, copies of her favorite books for giving to those children she loved. Under the other windows was Daddy’s table with his paper model airplanes–so intricate, the amount of patience they must have taken! They hang in Cooter’s room now. Daddy had notebooks with notes about interesting words and pages with drawings for his next woodcraft project. In the drawers there were bits of wood, wood glue, and other materials he used in his projects. I opened it today, and I saw Mama’s hand close it, and her voice saying, “We’ll just leave this for now. We can just put it on this bookshelf for the time being.” It was just yesterday that we moved things around, so we could put it on the shelf. Just yesterday, I’m not kidding. And now, today, we are having to make the decision without her. What to do with it? It’s funny that she let that one thing go. She was so strong about going through other things and sending things like clothes to organizations that could use them. She offered tools to the family. We folded up the table to move it out of the room, but that little drawer, filled with this and that, she set aside for another day.
I decided that today wasn’t the day. I closed the drawer, and I stopped for a moment to breathe. It’s all gone by so quickly, this past year, and yet it hasn’t. This year without being able to dial the same seven digits I’ve known almost all my life, and hearing her cheery “hello?” each time she answered. Without asking her for her advice and then arguing with her that there was no way it could be better and then later finding out she’d been right all along. Her hugs. And telling me how much she loved me. Yeah. All of that and her biscuits and pork roast gravy. There’s a lot to miss in that little woman.
Mama was strong. Right up to the end. She didn’t give up, not once, through all the heartache and joys and ups and downs in her life. I’m sure she wanted to, but she simply did not. Tonight I’m going to take that thought to bed and mull and it over and see if I can garner some of that strength from across the thin veil that keeps us apart. And hope that somehow one of the other things Mama would say at times will prove itself true.
“Go get some rest. Tomorrow is another day.”