Monday, November 13, 2006
The Only People In the Whole World
The last words my mother said to me were over the phone as she had entered a hospital for the last time were I have to go. I need to take my medicine. She'd been ill so many times before that I didn't know whether she'd rally this time or not -- I remember being seven years old and being told she was going to die. My sister asked my dad in a panic -- Is Momma going to be all right? Instead of the usual reassurance, he said, I don't know. The doctor told us that he couldn't figure out what was wrong, and that it might be the end. She made one of many miraculous recoveries that time.
Now that she has been gone four years to the day, I find myself thinking about her life far more than her death, especially those years when I was child. Once she told me the following story: When you were a baby, your dad had to go to Minnesota for a business trip. It's the only time I was ever in Minnesota, and we stayed in the hotel room all day watching the snow. I never saw so much snow! It was like we were the only people in the whole world. Of course, I have no memory of this day because I was so young. But maybe I do -- I still love watching the snow fall more than almost anything else. I don't get out and play in it. That wasn't my mother's nature, and it isn't mine either. I admire other people's snowmen, and that's the best I can do, not being terribly unique (like each snowflake) or all that ambitious. But I love the way snowflakes dance in the frozen air like the most perfect confetti, the kind that glitters for a short time before it vanishes into a pile with all the others before it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A woman is her mother/ That's the main thing." Anne Sexton
Drinking movie suggestion: Grey Gardens
Benedictions and Maledictions
Here's my beautiful mother, in the prime of her life: