Monday, August 14, 2006

Ode to Mother Love

Thirty-three years ago, to this day, my mother passed away.

It didn’t occur to me until yesterday that today would the anniversary. I was reading someone’s story and maybe it was the words that triggered the memory, but I actually stopped whatever I was doing, turned around and yelled to BF what day it was.

“It’s the 13th,” he said, nonchalantly. "Summer’s almost over.”

I turned around in my computer chair and looked out the window. I wanted to see what it was like on this day thirty-three years ago when I found my mother dead.

But, mainly, I wanted to see the sky, that same sky of the day my mother left me. For good.

It’s not that I wanted to relive the moment, but there was some strange psychosis going on that wanted me to imagine myself at that time of day, and to feel what it was like on that horrid day.

Some things you just forget, even though, sometimes, it’s best that way.

Yes, it was summer, the dog days of summer. I had just gotten married a month before and lived a couple miles outside of town in a little trailer in the woods.

Mother lived in town. She hated it, hated the whole Eastern Shore, but was trying to get her life together. I think. It was hard to know what she was thinking most times.

The night before, I had visited her and she was stretched out on the sofa. She had a sheet over top of her, was sweating, and white as a ghost. She wasn’t feeling well, but wasn’t deathly ill, so I really didn’t pay it any mind. I asked to borrow tomatoes and she said to take all of them. I thought that was strange as she loved tomatoes.

I hope I asked her if she was okay. I just can’t remember. I took the tomatoes and left. I don’t remember anymore of the conversation, but I do remember the whiteness of her skin and that she looked like crap.

The next morning, I really didn’t feel like going into work. I helped Mother and her “so-called husband” run a taxi service in town. I had just gotten back from Florida a few months before I got married and the pickings for jobs were pretty slim.

We must not have had a phone because I remember going over there in the early morning to tell her I wasn’t coming in.

I parked on the road in front of the house and walked up the steps. As soon as I entered the house, I knew something was wrong.

Peedle, the Chihuahua that my mother adored, was sitting in one of the chairs in the living room. This was unusual because she was ALWAYS with Mother.

I left her sitting, alone, and walked down the hallway. With the door to my old bedroom to my back, I headed toward her room.

Before I even got a few yards from her room, I screamed.

Mother was on her knees, with her arms outstretched, just inches from the top of her bed.

Mother was only thirty-seven.

And was dead.

I don’t remember much after that, except for running next door to my grandmother’s house. I remember an ambulance, her body covered from head to toe with a white sheet, and people. Everywhere people.

I wanted to get away from them so I ran to my Mother’s backyard and started screaming.

My cousin heard me a couple houses down and came running toward me. I didn’t want her with me. I wanted my Mother back.

As I sit here, staring out my window, it’s the same August sky as before. The same summer August sky.

This is the reason I need to get to California. The first thing I’m going to do is look at the sky. I want to see it as I saw it as a child because, after all, it’s the same sky and it doesn’t change no matter how many years go by.

There’s something about life that no one tells you about. People and buildings can come and go, but the sky stays the same. So when you look up and see it, it’s the same sky that was there when you’re born and the same sky when you die.

Much the same with mountains. When I go back to California and look up at the same sky and the same mountains, it will be the same sky and the same mountains I shared it with when Mother was still alive.

I need to go back home.

It’s like my guts are wrenching and nothing can help but to get back there. And soon.

I’ve postponed my trip to April. I don’t know if I can last that long.

I guess I’m being silly. I’m fifty-two years old and still haven’t found closure. I guess that’s what the California trip is all about…finding the closure I need.

Mother, wherever you are, I still love you, and I shall see you in April.


  1. That is a good post. I hadn't thought about the sky buy you are right on with your thoughts on it. Even the lighting would be the same on the same day & time of day.

    I have always felt I was a bit too soft hearted when it comes to memories but they are what sustains me to help get through my lost love. You have read that poem I re-posted on the 23rd and I think it is right. Those we have lost to death are really still with us, walking along in our hearts, all the rest of our lives.

  2. You betcha, Dick, and haven't you wondered which places you might pick up more on this than others? Perhaps places that this person frequently or loved to go, or perhaps places that the two of you went that were awfully special. That, I believe, is the starting point to finding them again.

  3. Excellent point, Dorothy, and my hope for you is that you can make the trip as planned. The delay could be quite detrimental to you. It may be worth doing whatever you have to do to go as soon as you can.

  4. I sincerely hope that your trip to California helps you find peace in your heart, Dorothy.

    When memories are all we have left, I think it's important to take them out and relive them once in a while. My mom died in February 2004 and I talk to her every day. She's with me wherever I go ... I hope she always will be.

  5. Ummm, that made me cry.

    Bless you.



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