Some of you may have noticed that lately I have not been around these parts much. I haven't posted anything, I haven't been on Twitter, I haven't read or returned any emails, and I haven't mailed anything out to the people I need to mail things out to (I have not forgotten you - promise). Here's why.
A little more than three weeks ago, I piled into Sister Snarky's minivan with her two lil' Snarks and we drove to Savannah to celebrate my mom's 65th birthday with her. I was kind of a surprise present of sorts; we didn't tell her that I was coming and she was overjoyed when we all walked in the door (I put a big bow and a ribbon on my head and everything). My laptop went kaflooey approximately thirty seconds into this trip and I was out of commission for that week. After we got back to New Jersey, I sent the computer off to Texas for repair and was relegated to sharing the desktop with Mr. Snarky rather than doing my usual, which is sitting on the sofa with one hand attached to the laptop every waking moment I am home.
Then a little more than a week ago--last Wednesday night, to be exact--my cell phone rang after ten p.m. It was my father. On a one-to-ten scale of not-good-things, this is an eleven. He'd never called me this late in my life. I knew before I picked up the phone that something was horribly wrong. My parents moved to Savannah five years ago to care for my father's parents. My grandmother passed away six months later and they continue to care for my 94-year-old grandfather. While his good health is remarkable for his age, I was pretty sure I knew what was going to be said when I answered.
I braced myself. And then had my world shattered into a million pieces when I heard these two words instead: Mom's dead. My mom. My mother who was fine when I had visited and hugged and kissed her only two weeks earlier. She had been watching TV and dozed off and had a heart attack. My father came home and thought she was sleeping. He said it looked like God had flipped her switch off. She was gone.
Five hours later my sister and I were hugging in the middle of Terminal A at Newark airport, on our way back to Savannah. The following days were a surreal blur. As we put together a collage of photos spanning my mother's life, it felt like we were planning a party for her. And in a way I guess the memorial service was a celebration of her life. The fact that she would not be there didn't seem real. It still doesn't.
After my father eulogized his best friend and wife of 45 years, my sister and I read this together:
Your Mother Is Always With You
Your mother is always with you...
She's the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.
She's the smell of bleach in
your freshly laundered socks.
She's the cool hand on your
brow when you're not well.
Your mother lives inside
your laughter. She's crystallized
in every tear drop...
She's the place you came from,
your first home. She's the map you
follow with every step that you take.
She's your first love and your first heart
break...and nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time, not space...
Not even death
will ever separate you
from your mother...
You carry her inside of you...- Sherry Martin
So now you know why I have been completely MIA lately. I'm still going to Forks. I might get extra teary along the way, but I am going.
I thought long and hard about whether I should write about this. And decided that you are all such a huge part of my life that I wanted and needed to share what had happened.
Tune back in tomorrow for your usual fix of snorteling and saucy hi-jinks (perhaps not written by me for a bit - baby steps... but then again, humor is strong medicine ). In the meantime, if you'll allow me a few more moments behind the pulpit...
Don't leave the house or go to bed mad. Be nice. Don't put off doing what makes you happy. No matter what your beliefs are on the afterlife, enjoy your time on Earth as much as possible. Manage your stress. Listen to your doctor. If you suspect something's wrong, don't stick your head in the sand. Make sure that your loved ones are taking care of themselves even if it means you have to go to the doctor's office with them and actively help them to change their habits. Tell the people around you that you love them. Frequently. Be safe.