Monday, October 6, 2008


My mother died one year ago today.

I guess I feel it should be acknowledged somehow.

I just don’t think I know how to do that, though.

I’ve been trying to find a way to package the last year into a tidy blog full of lessons that I have learned. I want to tell you stories of how I have been profoundly affected by the death of my mother. I want to share the newfound wisdom that arrives when one emerges on the other side of a life changing event.

I just don’t think I can do that, though.

I could tell you that life does go on. People adjust. Good things still happen. I could tell you that it’s still possible to be happy and laugh and find tremendous joy in life. I could tell you that my memories of my mother’s uniqueness and way of navigating through life are priceless. I could tell you that I am grateful for the time I had. I could tell you how aware I am that things far worse happen to people every day. I could tell you how lucky I feel that they haven’t happened to me. I could tell you that things eventually do get back to normal.

I just don’t think I would be telling the entire truth, though.

I could tell you that, every single day, the phone is still maddeningly silent. I could tell you about tears, negativity, anger, unfairness, feeling cheated and grief pounds. I could tell you about sleepless nights, crazy dreams, well intentioned advice and the standard steps for a journey of grief. I could tell you about my obsessions with obituaries, pineapple pizza, 3 Musketeers Mint candy bars, super soft blankets, a box of decoupaged soap and one cheap white vase. I could tell you about how nothing will ever be normal again.

I just don’t think you’d really understand, though.

I could tell you about the 85 year old lady at the soccer field who was so agile in both mind and body and had a mouth like a sailor. I could tell you how much I loved her at first and then how quickly I found myself resenting her vitality. I could tell you about the thousands of energetic and hopeful women I saw on TV who were walking to cure cancer. I could tell you how I yelled out in disgust, “Oh please, like that will make a difference! People are still going to die!” I could tell you about the lady in the grocery store who needed my help finding bran in the bulk foods department. I could tell you how shockingly livid I became when she told me a young girl like myself probably didn’t know a thing about “being stopped up”.

I just don’t think I really want to talk about those uncomfortable moments, though.

If I tried really hard I could come up with a representative parable full of deep meaning. I could reiterate how all of the standard lessons of life are completely true. I could implore you to connect with your loved ones while they are still alive. I could tell you to hug your kids and to call your mother. I could tell you that life is too short to be ruled by pettiness. I could tell you to count your blessings and appreciate all that you have today. I could tell you how much meaning these lessons take on after it’s too late to do anything about it. I could tell you to live each day as if it were your last and to not waste a moment.

I just don’t think it would really make that much difference, though.

When it comes down to it, I really don’t have a clue what to say about what happened a year ago today. Nothing about it can fit into a tidy little blog. I don’t have any good advice, or valuable lessons or touching revelations to share. When it comes down to it, I guess I feel just a little bit numb today.

Check This Out!

In honor of my mother, head on down to your local drugstore today and buy some nice lotion that smells like freesia or lilac, a couple of extra pair of black ankle socks, a National Enquirer newspaper, and a 2 liter bottle of cola. On your way home, pick up a biography of an old movie star and some Architectural Digest’s from the library. For dinner, you may choose a pineapple pizza from Domino’s Pizza, fish and chips or fettuccine alfredo without that spicy parsley on top. And don’t forget to activate the Bat Phone by calling your daughter and telling her what her brothers and father have been doing.


Anonymous said...

Hang in there. Enjoy pizza, family, great kids, and all the people who love you dearly!

Gray Matter Matters said...

Hey Melissa, found you through the loop (and confessions of a suburban slacker) and now know that we might have just been separated at birth. My father died 16 years ago and I think you expressed so beautifully and honestly all the crappiness that goes along with that loss.
I never goes away (sorry) but it does get easier (lots). I related to your phone reference, there were many times during the first year I picked up my phone to call my father, and then would remember and be devistated all over again.

Well, you have a new fan--does that count as an "on the bright side?"

Anonymous said...

Those who haven't lost a parent or weren't close to them just don't understand. I lost my mother just like you did and your blog made perfect sense to me. Thank you for making me feel a little less crazy.

Anonymous said...

omg - learned via compliments of my daughter. my day is now full. i will be spending it reading as many of your blogs as possible, between loads of laundry, until the kids get home. anyone who can may me laugh to tears, then cry tears of thankfulness that i still have time with my mom, is one amazing writer. to think i started at your most recent article and am working my way to the past.