Both My Privilege and Heartache

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As excited as I am about moving, I find myself missing my mom now more than I ever dreamed was possible.

Since my mom’s death, my relationship with my daughter has strengthened. Also, my brother and I are closer than we’ve been in many years.

Since we were mere kids, really.

(Sometimes shared grief pulls people together; sometimes, it pulls them apart.)

I am thankful but they both work long hours and are busy with their own lives. My brother has a family of his own, so I can’t be constantly messaging him with every little fart that happens in my world.

I scramble to find somebody to tell the highs and lows to, besides my boyfriend. Nobody is able to fill in the empty hole in my heart. Like everyone else, he’s often distracted by his own issues (and smartphone.)

I sit for long periods of time and contemplate who I should try to reach out to.

Who will give me their uninterrupted attention?

Those last few months of her life, when she became so ill that she couldn’t even leave the couch, she was often grumpy (shit, if I had suffered as she had, I’d have been grumpy as fuck too) but she was thereĀ with her unconditional love.

I have yearned for a father figure ever since my sweet, hilarious Uncle Jerry moved farther from me and then sadly passed away back in the early 2000’s. He stepped up to the plate after my dad died in 1986.

It’s occurred to me recently that I’ll never be able to replace her, although nobody could ever come close anyway.

But despite that knowledge, am I now yearning for a mother figure?

For fuck’s sake, I AM a mother. I’m an old lady now, not some young woman, like my daughter.

It’s both my privilege and heartache to want both of my parents back with their beams of love to light up my life again.

Gifts From Heaven

A few weeks ago, my family ended up gathered in my mother’s now sparse bedroom. She had boxes of trinkets, mementos, and photographs, so we all began the emotional visit to the land of nostalgia, almost 8 months after her passing.

Within my father’s wallet, which she obviously kept after his death in 1986, were three photos of the two of us, tucked inside. I had never before seen these pictures of my father and me and I’ll be 46 later this year.

Here are two of them.

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Top Photo: Looking happy and handsome! Bottom Photo: There’s an enraptured me listening intently as my dad reads The Night Before Christmas.

The top one is my favorite and made me start to cry! Look at how happy I was and my dear daddy looking so handsome. How I loved him so and still do. The death of my mother last May has brought many old emotions to the top and I find myself missing the other people that I’ve lost even more so.

The idea that my dad had these pictures of the two of us with him in his wallet just amazes me. Maybe they were his favorite?

Whatever the reason they’ve been hidden away for so long, seeing them for the first time was like receiving a gift from heaven.

My daughter is going to get the top one enlarged for me because it makes me so happy.

Pinball Dream

I had a peculiar dream last night.

I was at a brightly lit arcade and an all you can eat buffet with my deceased mother and my ex-husband. The gregarious staff kept urging us to enjoy all that this fictional utopia had to offer.

My ex-husband is a large man and he absolutely loves to eat, so it didn’t take much persuasion to load his plate up with heaping amounts of food. Spaghetti, meatballs, pizza, meatloaf…there were buffet tables set up everywhere, with every type of edible that you could possibly think of.

When we got our food, we sat at a table, the two of them sitting on the one side and myself on the other, alone. He started to gorge himself, making a bunch of piggish sounds that disgusted me.

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My mom sat across from me and she looked pretty healthy. Older, maybe in her late 60’s, before her illness started to make her drop weight and lose her lovely glow. She didn’t seem bothered by the spectacle of watching the ex shoveling mouthfuls of food into his stupid mouth.

“I’ve been planning for everything once I’m gone,” she said to me cheerfully. “I also don’t give a shit about politics and I never really have. It’s such a relief not to care!”

The two of us only had small amounts of food on our plates. My mom picked at hers but I was too disturbed by asshat to eat.

She looked at me, smiling.

“You look great, honey. So skinny now.” It was always a huge deal to my mother that I’ve always been overweight, so this was a high compliment.

She glanced at asshat, giving him the mildest dirty look, which is the only way that I can explain it. She didn’t exhibit any sort of hatred or negative emotion. She seemed to be at peace.

I didn’t say a word. Actually, I don’t speak at all in the dream.

Suddenly, my mom and I are walking around this odd little playground with vivid colors that reminded me of the movie Willy Wonka. We were being called to play games like we were at a carnival, something that my mother loved when she was alive.

“Hey ladies, come on over and win a prize!!” one of the men calls out to us and we go over to him. There’s a huge pinball machine. When I pull the lever, the metal ball shoots up the shute and starts pinging crazy mad.

“Winner!!” the man says but I don’t get any kind of prize. I’m disappointed but due to the fact that I can’t talk, I’m unable to inquire about why.

We’re back at the table again and now my ex-husband has an entire extra-large pizza in front of him. He is happily munching away, sauce and cheese dripping down his chin.

I am revolted and want to say something but I am still completely mute.

My mom just shakes her head at him and then she smiles as sweet as pie at me.

I wake up.