it doesn't feel quite as apocalyptic as it did 42 hours ago, but i can tell you it's been the longest weekend of my life. you were always so sick, my brother and i had been preparing to get that call for over a decade now.. it's just... it finally came in the moment we least expected. well, it's nice to know you gave it your all in the last six months of your life. i'm glad as your children we could give you the motivation you needed to start turning your life around.
when i heard you tell me that for the first time in as long as you could remember you were finally happy, i felt as though the clouds for miles and centuries had finally parted to let in a little light. my heart was filled with hope that you would make it through and it would be a lovely summer. knowing you were happy and doing fine, Dan and i didn't feel the need to constantly check in on you to make sure you were still kicking. you had your best friend there with you finally, and we had a moment to plan a super awesome mother's day surprise.
Danno got his full license monday morning, and we rented a truck the very next day to haul some dirt and mulch and sheep shit back home to the garden. we were talking about how we could get you out of the house now, and take you to all the places you couldn't get to on your own. we would pick you up for mother's day, and take you to your favourite restaurant for all you can eat, and bring a great big basket of all your favourite fruits you were missing out on. now that you had your smile back [both your happiness AND your teeth] it'd be a good time getting in some practice.
so anyways, back to the garden. i spent the week laying it down, and working in a nice, soft, golden cedar path for you to walk on. all i could think was how your brand new little red scooter was good enough for the ride to get you here and back all by yourself. it's gonna be huge this year, i was so proud to think that i finally had the 'farm' in the works for you to come enjoy. fresh toasted tomato sammiches for days.
i had a hard time sleeping thursday night.
i'm not sure if it was because i knew it was the last night i didn't have to set an alarm to wake up on my vacation, or if i was just super excited to get the seeds in the ground. i felt a little strange as the clock turned closer to four a.m. and i was still awake here waiting for the sunrise. maybe i had a feeling it was the final hour of your life. when i realized the time i laid down for a couple hours of shut-eye.
when i opened the door to the outside, the warm breeze brought the smell of summer. after so many long frigid days and dark and frosty nights it was nice to finally step out into the suN. i prepared what i needed slowly, and carefully. the seeds i was most excited for was the mammoth sunflowers. they would tower over us one day soon. a few more finishing touches and i could call to let you know you'd see it Sunday afternoon.
it was 4:19 when the phone rang.
Dan was on the line. did you get a strange call from the police station just now? i said no why what's going on? "they said it was about our mother and they can't tell me anything over the phone." he told me he was on his way to the station and he'd call me back as soon as he knew the situation. i hung up the phone. 4:20p.m.
4:21... i opened my tear filled eyes. the sky covered over quickly. suddenly we'd lost the suN. the wind picked up, i thought.. i'd better get the tools inside before they turn into wind-born projectiles. i made it back inside the doorway as the clouds opened up. i stood there with my arms outstretched to feel the rain. i knew that you were gone.
every single moment since has passed like an eternity. there's a sort of silence i can't fully describe. it takes what feels like years to fall asleep, and it hurts like hell to know that i can't call you when i wake up. i kept looking at my phone waiting for the next "Mom" text to arrive.
i called your best friend as soon as i found his number. we went to visit him and made sure he's okay. it's one thing to lose your mother, but to no longer have the partner you dedicated your life to, i couldn't imagine the pain. i call him every morning, afternoon and night. he shares your happy stories with me, i think he'll be alright.
i know you always hated mother's day. you felt like you didn't deserve it, like you weren't entitled to a celebration. no matter how much we told you that we forgave you, you could never forgive yourself. you lost your mother when she was young too, and you never did seem to let it go. you missed her so much. we told you we just wouldn't be us if it wasn't for everything we'd lived through, and we owed our strength to you. i hope you finally realized how amazing you are, for loving us the way you did through everything. maybe you didn't know exactly how to 'be a mother' just yet, but you were always very proud.
Happy Mother's Day Mom. it feels so sad to say, but it was a little easier to be with you this way. it broke our hearts to watch you suffer. i wish you didn't spend so many years of your life sick and in pain. physically, emotionally.. and spiritually drained. you cried, and you worried, and you smoked your life away. and i miss you more each passing moment. but i know you have found peace.
we met up at your building extra early. when we called the superintendent he finally answered and said, sorry we'll be at church for the day, i was a little disappointed that we wouldn't get into your place. but it was okay. we sat in the park to look through the photos in my rucksack in the shade. it was a beautiful day, all the trees had blossoms. we picked through happy memories together.
the super called us back. him and his family decided they'd come home early, and would be there to let us in right away. we looked gently around your apartment. underneath the dust and nicotine was a perfectly preserved story of a mother's love. all the pictures on the walls were family, but for the most part every wall was us. and your art.. i loved it when you painted. you kept every christmas greeting, and each handwritten note in a big brown envelope. every rock, every postcard, every silly little gift from the dollar store. you didn't have much, but you held on to what was important. your children... your love.
oh and i wanted to let you know that i wished aunt Sue a Happy Mother's Day too. i told her i was sorry that it'd been so long since we last spoke, and that i was grateful for her always being there for you and me and Dan when we were younger. she too is a mother, and a proud one just like you. i made her a collage of a few photos:
the first one one in the corner is a photo you took of her and your mom. she's got that silly aunt Sue smile on, and Monna is smiling at you too. next to that one in the middle is a picture of you by the lake. anywhere with your fishing rod was always a happy place. then there's a photo of you in the driver's seat with your leather cowboy hat on. and that sunny smile... it was your first rocky mountain road trip and you savoured every moment's last drop. below that is a photo of me and my baby brother, cuddling in style. you always love it that we loved each other. and the last one there in frame is the photo of your silhouette against the sunset. it was your favourite photo of you, and how you always liked to remember yourself.
we love you mom, and we miss you very much. we promise to carry on your legacy of patience, acceptance, tolerance, and unconditional love. your story will transcend intolerance and indifference and inspire mothers and fathers and children and lovers to take care of one another and themselves. we will spend our sundays together and listen to all the music you left us with, and sing along with you. we won't waste any time sweating the small stuff, we'll do what we want, and we'll remember to take our time.