The Things I Remember

My mother died on August 15, 1995, but I remember August 16th better. August 16 was the day that I found out she had passed away, as my sister and I were several hours away camping with church friends. 

I remember feeling so GUILTY that I’d been up late, in my tent, playing cards and crushing hard on a boy while my mom was dying. 

I remember Santa Monica Boulevard playing on the boat radio, the wind in my hair as I lifted my face to the sky, those first few motherless hours feeling so surreal. 

I remember the picnic table that my sister and I sat at, my dad in the middle of us, as we looked out over the water. My sister remembers making comments about the clouds for lack of anything else to say. 

When my mom was very first diagnosed with cancer, I remember wondering what it would be like to be the girl whose mom died of cancer. And I remember feeling guilty when it DID kill her. Did I cause that to happen by letting that thought cross my mind? 

I remember asking her if I could keep a blank book that I’d found and I remember being upset that she told me no. She later did give me that book and I remember being elated to have it – not cluing in that it meant that she knew she would have no need for it herself. 

I remember walking the hospice grounds and writing bad poetry by the large fish pond. 

I remember writing to my camp counselors that she had passed – and finishing the letter asking for advice on how to get a boy to like me because apparently I coped by not coping- by grabbing on to anything else to think or obsess about. 

I don’t remember any part of the actual service. I don’t remember who spoke, who was or wasn’t there. I DO remember running around with my sister and some friends and asking people some stupid immature question about snot or boogers and I am APPALLED that I did that. Coping by not coping. 

I remember the boat pulling into the dock and those first few seconds upon seeing my dad before I realized what his presence meant. 

I remember playing card games with a giant-sized deck of cards in the hospice sitting room. I remember spending a lot of time in the hospice that summer. 

I remember her smell. 

I remember her. 

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