When She Inconveniences You By Being Dead...
Excitedly, I snapped the pic.
You had talked about Holiday Inn and Memphis since I was a child. You shared your experiences, your fun times, what you learned and expounded how I had to go there to feel the 'soul'. How could I be standing in front of this history and not think of you?
But, I can't. On the inconvenient fact of you being dead and all.
You would have loved it. All of it. The music, the history, the culture, oh...and the people. Mom, you would have loved talking to these people. You would not have shut up one bit, you would have chimed in the history you knew and threw in cultural comparisons between the North and South. There is no doubt you would have loved the hotel and the pillows. You would have mowed down on some delicious treats. Your walker would have gotten its wear and tear hitting the road and taking breaks while you took in the sights...and low whistled at the eye candy you would call 'scenery' you would have certainly noticed.
You were with me, in spirit, I know, I know. While I appreciate the memories and knowing you are at peace ....it just sucks when I have to choke back tears on the ride back home, while scrolling through my pictures because only then did it hit me that I wouldn't be able to sit on your bed and show you what I captured while you asked every question under the sun about traveling as the pups ran around like little lunatics.
The last year before you left me, although we both traveled more...I feel that was the time I was away from you most. I took breaks from caring for you-I trusted our family to take over, I took mini-trips with friends, went on hikes and little adventures-without you. At times, I beat myself up for that. I cry until it feels like my chest cannot bear this guilt and wonder if it will rise again, but it always finds a way to make it through the pain. Then, I take a shaky breath and begin centering myself.
When that false guilt overpowers me, I try to remember you and your feisty zest for life.
One week you had gotten ill and I was ready to cancel a weekend trip I was very much looking forward to...even though it was a once in a lifetime experience. I had bailed so many times on other things...but also knew time was limited with you. I didn't mind, really, I didn't. But you did.
You looked me dead in the eye and told me you were going to die. Then, you kept the light-hearted conversation going by telling me I was going to die. You were kinda intense sometimes ma. Jackass too. But, then again, I was slightly stubborn and you knew I wouldn't listen if the message was not direct. We didn't shy away from those conversations. Ever. You were the one to hold me when I lost people I cared about whether it was to addiction, suicide, car accidents, cancer or the other kind of loss of losing someone while they were alive due to a unfortunate falling out. I knew that life offered us the greatest of joys by giving us people to love as well as the biggest pain by tearing them away, but I listened anyway.
"We wont be here forever. Go kid. Get crazy and stop being so serious. See things you don't normally. Don't let me be an excuse for you not living life. I won't allow it. I can die while you're sleeping. You can die while you're sleeping. That would be a damn shame if you didn't live life because you were waiting around for someone to die."
She wasn't wrong.
We can live life wondering when the other shoe is going to drop, how it will drop, where it will drop and ignore everything else in life....or we can just say screw it and choose to live in these in between moments, these moments before the pain wrecked us, after we started healing, the moments that offer us a tiny opportunity to seize life and experience the extraordinary and just be for a moment or two.
I'm exploring. I'm living. I'm good for now. And, in those moments I'm not so good...I know I have the life I shared with you to reflect on to give me courage to try new things, because, your strength and courage got us through times I never thought would end yet...they did.
I can't show you the pics, Ma. But, it's okay...I know you don't care.
It's not a priority for you while you are pulling pranks on St. Peter or singing your heart out in the heavens. I also know though, you would be proud that I got on that bar even though I was anxious, you would love that I didn't obsess over my image, you would adore that I enjoyed some real food, you would laugh that I wasn't shy and talked to strangers and asked for recommendations. You're not here with me, and it sucks, but I can feel you nudging me to see the world and not be afraid.
Here's to the living in the in between moments before devastation and after picking ourselves up....let us all be brave enough to remember to live in spite of what life can throw at us.