March 15, 2007

A non-eventful anniversary

A Non-eventful Anniversary

For at least 7 years after my Mom died, my year was threaded with emotional anniversaries. We got married March 22nd and returned from our honeymoon to her April diagnosis, which lead into cancer summer. She died September 27th She and my Dad were married November 1st. (I never knew how to handle that one. I mean, I’m thinking of my Dad on that day, but it’s a bit awkward to call and say, “Sucky Non-Anniversary”? I usually chose not to call.) I’ve written before about her extensive Christmas traditions. That meant that from Dec 6th to January 6th I was sad/depressed. January and February was the only reprieve. March led into her birthday and the beginning of the whole cycle again.

When Mom was alive, we never remembered her birthday. Even now I’m not great at connecting dates with actual days. As in Jrex announcing,

“OK, babe. I’ve taken off next Tuesday night so we’ll go out to a nice dinner.”

I look confused.

With a shark-like grin he asks, “Do you know what next Tuesday is?”

I rack my brain, “No…”

He pumps his fists in triumph, “Yes!! It’s Valentine’s Day. Major husband points for me!”

One morning Mom woke me at 6:30 am (never my finest hour) and asked, “Did you remember today is my birthday?” I was 15 (so it’s not like I can blame my Dad for not reminding me). When I shook my head, she just cried. None of us had…

The first year after she died, March rolled around. I was braced for her birthday but missed the date/day connection. In my mind, for no particular reason, I ended up having a horrible day. I could barely move. It wasn’t 'til I went home tried to journal that I wrote the date on my journal page, 3/13/98. I burst into tears because it was her birthday. I was SO mad that my subconscious remembered it now that she was dead. It would have been much better for all parties if that trick had worked when it mattered.

On Tuesday I noticed the calendar in the morning. I had a fond moment of thinking of my Mom, but otherwise it had no profound impact. It’s wonderful to be able to think of her without being sad or depressed anymore.

Tuesday night Jrex told me that Aunt Ruby called (different aunt than Aunt Gemstone). Mom was the oldest of ten kids. There were nine girls and one boy. Since Mom died I’ve mostly had contact with Aunt Gemstone and the two younger aunts, Aunt Bird and Aunt Country Singer (all these are horrible puns on their names…). Last night, Aunt Ruby called again. She mentioned she was thinking of me, I nodded,

“Yesterday was Mom’s birthday.”

“Yeah,” she sighed. Aunt Ruby was with us for one whole week of the two weeks Mom had at home before she died. As a result, she’s closely tied with Mom’s death in my mind (in a good way). She was an energetic and careful nurse and certainly helped us figure out how to handle home care.

There are so many random questions I want to ask my Mom. I’d forgotten that my aunts could be a fantastic resource. Mom had terrible arthritis and I’ve worried I would get it, but Aunt Ruby and my Mom both started getting symptoms in their 20’s. So far my hands look more like my Dad’s father (yeah, not so girly…). Now I’m hoping I may have dodged that gene.

I was happy to hear how some of my cousins are doing. Her youngest boy is serving 4 of 8 years on a submarine!

We’re not so great at staying in touch, but every time I have contact with any of my aunts I remember how much I enjoy them. At least these days I can enjoy them without getting sad about what I’m missing.

Sorry for rambling on like that. As with much of life, there are too many threads that overlap and it’s hard to edit down to the core. I love Kitchen Fire’s posts because she can imply the threads yet keep her posts succinct.


Rachel said...

Losing a parent must be so hard. I am glad you've found healing, and that you have your aunts around to share your memories of your mother.

k. said...

I remember that sucky year. Ugh. Did you ever think, during those crazy bohemian days way back, that one day you'd give anything to be unremarkable? Sometimes unremarkable is nice.

And sometimes Jrex cracks me up. So much for not keeping score...

OTRgirl said...

We are SO much both firstborn kids. At least we both enjoy competition...

I remember Jrex often talking about how he would like life to be boring. As a bohemian afficianado I had NO idea what he was talking about. I still wouldn't want 'boring' but a different version of 'drama' might be nice.

OTR sister said...

I had a similar reaction to Tuesday...I thought it was ironic that I remembered Mom's birthday when we were so bad at it during her life. It was a good and pleasant day for me.

For anyone who thinks that a Mom waking her daughter up at 6:30 sounds a little psycho, we had a tradition of birthday breakfasts...

OTRgirl said...

Well, I thought it was a little psycho, but that may just have been my early morning grump reaction...

Actually, thanks for clarifying that, sis. It's true. Mom would wake up at 5:30, decorate the kitchen with streamers, pile up presents and cards around the birthday person's plate and then make a wonderful breakfast. Did we ever return the favor? Sigh. Poor Mom.

Anonymous said...

I hope to be better about the death of my dad, but I'm not fully there yet. Thanks for the post it was very touching for me. I like reading your posts, the "overlapping of the threads" it's how I think things, so makes wonderful sense to me:)

Wishing you well!

Wistful one said...

Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful post. You're in my prayers.

Beloved said...

Non-eventful has to be good. I'm glad the pain and sadness surrounding this anniversary is easing, while in the meantime you are keeping your mom's memory alive.

I don't think it's such a big deal that you didn't remember your mom's birthday while she was alive if you don't even remember Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day!?! I'm in awe. I wish I could not care about that one. You're such a guy (which is a good thing here)! :o)

Snickollet said...

I really enjoy reading your memories of your mom. Thank you for sharing them.

Like you, I admire Kitchen Fire's eloquent, succinct posts. I also love your voice. You are so honest and real, very grounded.

ekburz said...

Hi Cousin,
I got an email today from your dad with your blogsite, so I thought I would check it out. My mom (Aunt Ruby) likes to keep me updated on what all our relatives are doing, but I am not very good at keeping in touch.

I, too, am worried about the family arthritis gene. One of my fingers is starting to show signs, and I asked Aunt Gemstone (starts with a C, right?) if my hands looked like hers. She shook her head and said I most likely would have hands like hers and your mom's. I am going to the doctor tomorrow to see about preventative things to do. Thirty-six seems so young to have arthritis.

I am glad that my mom and the other aunts are around to try to keep us all connected. The cousins are pretty disparate. And separated by age. People think it is a little wierd that my two youngest first cousins are the same ages as my two youngest kids.

So good to hear a little about your life. I think about you and your family and my beloved aunt often.