Monday, February 26, 2007

2004

There are some years that have more significance than others for some people. They are the years whose significance we never forget. The year of our birth or the year we graduated from high school, for instance. Or the year you got married, had a baby, last fit into your skinny jeans. We remember the songs on the radio and the movies that were popular. Hell, we even remember the weather patterns (if you have weather, that is). For me 2004 is one of those years whose importance outweighs most others.

It was the year the Patriots won the Super Bowl and the Red Sox won the World Series.

It was the year Mr. C and I took our last trip to Italy for some time, I suppose. Because...

It was the year I got pregnant.

And it was the year my mother died.

Three years ago, this week. In 2004.

They say that time has a way of helping us forget. Of healing all wounds. Enabling us to go on. As time goes on memories get soft around the edges. But honestly there are some things about that week leading up to my mother's death that I will never forget and I have no desire to do so.

It was unseasonably warm for the end of February in Massachusetts. The irony that my sun worshiping mother would choose to leave this earth on such a balmy day was not lost on me. It seemed fitting that she would break free from her shackles of pain and sickness on a day when her spirit could dance in the warm breeze, unencumbered by morphine, chemotherapy and cancer.

I'll never forget how her cool, dry hand felt on my cheek the last time she looked at me, the last time she really saw me without the veil of impending death covering her eyes. She said goodbye without saying a word, and though she lingered for a few more days she was never the same. She was never really there with us but instead in that space between life and death. I still lean my head into that phantom touch. I close my eyes and imagine she's still there in front of me. I imagine that I let myself cry in front of her instead of turning away to hide my pain. And I remember her face and her look that said she was at peace with what was going to happen.

The next few days are a blur of visitors, nurses and medications. Until the day she died. That day I remember vividly. And that's my memory to keep, for myself and my daughter one day. I may not remember which of her old friends came to pay their respects at her wake - in my defense there were hundreds of people there - but I'll remember each and every hour of the day she could no longer fight the cancer that was ravaging her body.

Is it a coincidence that my mother, the Red Sox fan(atic), died the same year the Sox finally won the World Series? Probably, but I'd like to think she had something to do with it. Our trip to Italy was planned months before my mother died, but I raised many (many, many) a glass in a silent toast to the woman who never saw the need to leave her country for far away lands. And my husband and I had decided to start a family that year, but after I lost my mother I finally realized how important she was to me. We named our daughter in her honor. There is a picture of her in my daughter's room. She is in my thoughts every day.

Three years have done nothing to dull the pain of her death. I still remember hugging her thin frame to mine, wondering if my shoulders felt as frail as hers and knowing that, yes, they probably did since our bodies closely resembled each others. I remember the feel of her hand, the shape of her fingernails, the roundness of the knuckles in contrast to her long, thin fingers. And I remember missing her immediately upon her passing. That memory has not dulled. The wound has healed but the scar remains. And I go on.

But I carry her with me. Always.

A Perfect Post - February 2007

58 comments:

Avalon said...

Breathtaking Mrs. C. She must have been a wonderful woman.....and how fully you loved her is so evident in that beautiful post.

Blog Antagonist said...

What a beautiful and touching post Chicky. I can't imagine the pain of losing your mother. I think I've mentioned that my mother is ill...and that her disease will end her life far too soon. I dread that day.

Thanks for sharing her with us.

Meena said...

Oh, hugs to you Chicky. I'm so sorry.

Coincidentally, it was two years ago last Friday that my father died. Sometimes, it feels like yesterday. That lump in the throat doesn't happen quite as frequently, but it still happens.

Lisa said...

I started crying during this post. I had to get up a few times to compose myself.

My heart aches for you... Sending you a bunch of hugs.

kgirl said...

That you can write so beautifully about such pain says a lot about your mother and about you. hugs and hugs.

creative-type dad said...

Nicely written.

My wife lost her mother over 3 years ago and it just became tougher after our daughter was born. That missing feeling is always there...

FENICLE said...

Thanks for sharing. You're right, the pain may dull, but the memory doesn't.

Keep carrying her with you!!

Jenni said...

My father was diagnosed with cancer on the day my third child was born. He is still with us 2 years later, even though they gave him 3-6 months. But the pain I felt, and still feel thinking about losing him is so strong. My heart breaks for you. I will be praying and thinking of you these next few weeks.

ECR said...

Thanks for sharing this powerful story.

lildb said...

This is amazing. Thank you so much for telling us about it.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I hear you on the Red Sox thing---we grew up with the sound of games playing on the radio in our hot Massachusetts backyard. My dad also died in 2004, toward the end of the year. I have no doubt that all the spirits and the other lifelong fans were helping that team finally do it.

Thank you for such a beautiful post. You put into words what so many of us cannot.

Cate said...

Anniversaries are hard. This was really nice.

TSM said...

Only a gifted writer could describe a scene and almost make the reader be there, feeling what the writer felt.

You are a truly gifted writer.

May you feel an extra dose of comfort this week from Oregon.

crazymumma said...

It never really goes away...those feelings of grief, I think we just learn to carry them with us a bit more hidden.
I cried this week for my mother after a dream I had had. I am so sorry for your loss. I truly know how you feel.

Jen said...

Mrs. Chicky, you are such a beautiful writer. I happened upon your blog reading an old friends quite some time ago and I now have it bookmarked and read frequently. I have never commented in the past, but today's post left me with no other choice. You have such humor and such class and I truly enjoy reading your blog on a weekly basis. My heart aches for you and the pain that you are reliving this week. My mother has an illness that will take her all too soon some day and I do not know if I would be able to be so eloquent to put my feelings into a post like you have. It was breathtaking. My thoughts are with you.

Jill said...

I lost my beloved grandma (who was like my mother) ten years ago and sometimes it feels like yesterday. Hugs.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Beautiful writing, horrible pain. It has been two years next month since cancer took my Mom. You describe it so much like I remember it. You do carry her with you. My husband says he sees my Mom in me more now. I am sorry for your loss. So sorry. I am glad your daughter has a mom who can teach her about grandma through such beautiful writing....

Di said...

It is so weird how it doesn't get easier, it just gets.... there is no answer. No one can ever understand until it happens to you. How everything and nothing can remind you of the one you lost. Every song, every person, every.. anything. I will think of you.

Christina said...

What a bittersweet and beautiful post. I'm so sorry for the pain you've gone through. I have yet to lose someone close to me, and I don't know if I could handle it as well as you.

mamatulip said...

Mrs. C, this is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read online.

It hits me so hard, it makes my chest ache. I understand, I do. Thank you for writing about her, about how you feel and what you hold on to.

jen said...

Madame Chick. This is so very lovely. Your love for your mom is so powerful, and how lucky you and she both were and are.

PS
I got pregnant right at the end of 2003, had M in Sept - J is a Red Sox FANATIC..so by proxy, well...we've got another thing in common.

julia said...

What a sad, beautiful post. You should print this out and put it in ChickyBaby's baby book. The love you have for your mother flows off the page and sharing that love with your daughter is a powerful, beautiful thing.

metro mama said...

What a lovely post honoring her memory. Anniversaries are so hard, aren't they.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Once again, you melt me.

What a wonderful tribute.

I am so so sorry for the loss of your mother...

Sandra said...

This is an exceptional and poignant and breathtaking post. Thank you for writing it. Sending you big hugs my friend.

Nancy said...

What a beautiful and poignant post. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Mad Hatter said...

Chicky. Yes.

My daughter too is named for my mother. The grief of her passing is still sometimes more than I can bear. And yes, I remember the isolation of the experience not the community of well-wishers and mourners.

I wrote a series of posts just before Christmas about losing my mother and my in-laws. I lost them all within a couple of weeks surrounding Christmas. 3 deaths in 4 years. (My father died when I was 7) For me, the anniversary of those deaths will always deepen my experience of Christmas.

Ugh, I don't know why I am still blathering here. All I really want to say is "I know and I don't know--in that way that we share something that can never be shared with another person."

Oh, The Joys said...

A beatiful, perfect post.

Thank you.

Tuesday said...

I have the same scar as you three years ago in early February my Dad died of cancer.

Melanoma.

I carry him with me whever we go, I see him in my twin's smiles, they were only 13 months old when he died.

I am sorry we both joined this crappy club three years agao this month.

binkytown said...

That's beautiful. I know it seems odd to compliment someone for sharing something painful, but you really spoke to who she was and what she meant to you. I'm sure it's hard to miss her so much.

MotherBumper said...

A(nother) wonderful post Mrs. C. Thank you for sharing this. It's amazing how we group together our memories and hold them in that special place. Your daughter will know what a great person your mom was because you record it with perfect words.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Oh Mrs. Chicky. Hugs to you.

Kristin said...

this post is so beautiful... it was hard for me to read because the reality of your loss is so hard to imagine...

Pendullum said...

So very true...

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother... But am so very grateful you took her in your heart to Italy... I think it is so fitting that Red Sox won the series... The warmth of the sun is when she parted...How you have a beautiful daughter who will share her name...


A beautiful tribute you have given.The warmth glow of the love you have for your mother shines to the stars and I am certain that if there is a heaven she is basking in the love you send up to her daily. And she is so very sad her body failed her... But her amazing spirit lives on...
And I am so blessed that you chose to share it with me.

Kelly said...

What a moving essay for your mother. You remember the most important things, the things that actually help to mostly heal the wound. (It never completely heals, though, does it?)

I'm certain she still feels your love, and witnesses her grandchild growing bigger every day.

Deb said...

What a beautiful post. I am sorry for your loss. I love how you describe her and your relationship to her, it is beautiful.

JayJenny said...

That was a beautiful post, and I suppose that cry was overdue. I'm sorry for your loss and the pain that it brings you. You have a wonderful way honoring her memory, through words and in your heart. And I'm sure she is proud of you, and smiling upon you and Chicky each day. Especially the hard ones. Take care of yourself.

Rock the Cradle said...

What beauty, and what loss.
What gorgeous writing.
Thank you.

mo-wo said...

In all selfishness thank you. I have so many dear friends with initmate dear departed -- but not me. I wonder how I would ever face it.

I will especially take your words to let those tears flow before the doors close. It is beyond poigniant and telling with honesty to the departing of the love left unexpended.

lisa's chaos said...

Such a lovely tribute to your mother. Your story touched me and brought tears to me eyes. Of course, I've been tearing up easily lately but this was truly touching. I think my heartt would break in two if I lost my mom even though I'm 40. My grandmother was in her 70s when she lost her mother and I know she still aches from the loss. Your mom lives on in your heart and you are passing your wonderful memories onto her granddaughter.

ewe are here said...

Tearing up over here. What a lovely post.

I lost my dad about a week into my pregnancy with MF (of course I didn't know I was pregnant yet). It was so hard to wrap my head around the fact that the very worst possible thing had happened, his death, at the same time the very best possible thing had happened, the pregnancy with MF, in my life. We also named our boy after my dad, and I look forward to telling him all about his namesake.

kittenpie said...

Oh, honey, how beautiful, and how precious a memory, awful as it is.

I'm not one for family names, normally, but I think it's a lovely tribute when someone so close has passed, especially so close in time.

CPA Mom said...

With the loss of my best friend to cancer on Saturday, this post really speaks to me. I'm not comparing her loss to the loss of your mother, I'm simply relating to the pain of loss. I too will always remember her last touch - only 7 days before she died, when she caressed the tattoo on my back, that I had gotten in her honor. I will always remember the look on her face as she told me goodbye, on one of her last days of lucidity.

Always.

What a beautiful post. What a painful loss. I am so sorry you lost your mother.

kris said...

I ache for you. What a beautiful statement.

Kevin Charnas said...

Mrs. Chicky... ... ... I can barely find the keys to type...

This made me ache to the bottom of my heart.
And it was beautiful...

Thank you.

gorillabuns said...

i must go and call my mother right now. i can't imagine....

petite gourmand said...

what a incredibly touching post.
I'm so so sorry for your loss.

Rachel Briggs said...

This hurt so much to read, I couldn't breathe. Last night, I was a little short with my mum. I rang her back to put it right - how lucky I am that I can do that. Thanks for sharing such a personal post with us

kfk said...

Soft and touching, a beautiful essay!

Time does not heal all wounds. It just closes the wound and leaves the pain. Or maybe it takes some of the pain away but leaves you gaping open and susceptible to infections. I don't know, but time does not erase a thing. In two weeks, it will be the 12th anniversary of my father's death. The memories are fresh still.

I hope you get through this week with few tears and many smiles as you remember your mom.

wayabetty said...

I'm sure she is smiling down from Heaven at you and how wonderful of a mother you are. A great tribute Mrs. Chicky. Hang in there!

Redneck Mommy said...

There is nothing to add here that hasn't already been said.

I just want to say how thrilled I am to have found you and consider you my friend.

Cheers to you and your momma. May my own daughter oneday miss me as much as you miss your mom.

Hugs, baby. Big hairy hugs to you.

gingajoy said...

that was beautiful, Mrs C. Once again I am reminded to enjoy the here and now--to savor it.

Lara said...

it's been almost eight years for me since i lost my dad, and the pain isn't gone. i don't think it ever will be.

i am sending you huge hugs and warm wishes. if you'd like, you can send them back my way around april 27, 'cause that's when i'll be needing them.

Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, Chicky. This is such a beautiful testament to the ECHO of love.

I'm so sorry that I'm here so late. Still - ((((chicky))))

Kate said...

Late, too - (((hugs))) for you from me. What a nice tribute to your mother. I lost my dad in 1987 and I feel the same way. Unfortunately the pain doesn't really get any better.

Dirty Birdie said...

I'm sorry, I couldn't read the whole post, tears blurred my vision and my heart ached.

Excuse me while I go call my mom...

Pamela said...

beautiful. I lost my Mom in 2001 and find that I want to post about her every year on her anniversary. Parenting without a Mom is a challenge at times- but makes you appreciate family and friends !

Mr Lady said...

Oh, good lord. This, with that picture, oh my lord. My heart is broken for you.