Four years ago I woke up to a call from my dad telling me my mom had passed away. I don’t really remember how I responded. I remember I didn’t cry.
I emailed friends that morning (I actually was able to find it in my gmail—because I don’t remember doing this):
I just got off the phone with my dad, and I wanted to let you know that my mom passed away this morning at around 8 a.m. in Florida. Thank you for keeping her in your prayers! She was pretty awesome and definitely deserved them. :)
By the way, sorry for the awkward subject line...I wasn't sure the best title for this email. Other options seemed far too gloomy. :P
Sending you all love this morning and hoping your week, despite the not-so-happy email, is off to a great start.
I also emailed everyone at work to let them know, and then yes, I went to work. For whatever reason it seemed like a good idea at the time (and I’m still glad I went). I’m so grateful to Margarita for indulging me and letting me go. If I recall correctly, Maggie drove me to work; my hunch is I didn’t feel up to it. I remember Maryrose brought me an iced blended from Coffee Bean which was vital to my making it through the morning, and Yvonne gave me a giant hug, which despite the fact I thought I couldn’t handle hugs, I really needed at the time. To the best of my knowledge the day was pretty uneventful. I remember attempting to book a flight during lunch, looking up how to get a last-minute flight using airlines bereavement policies; I didn’t book my trip in that moment, because it felt so weird. To be flying home for a funeral. My mom’s funeral. I think that was also the first time I talked to Chris, during lunchtime. It’s kind of crazy how that day was such a blur.
At some point that day I was able to book a flight home, and here’s what I actually do remember. The next day, as I traveled home with my cute little pup in tow, some man had taken my seat on the airplane. He said he traded with someone else for my seat, and he needed to sit in the aisle seat for some reason or another. This was very perplexing to me as I attempted to explain that whoever traded with him actually was not in a position to trade the seat. As the seat was not his but rather mine. However this was futile. He seemed convinced he had fairly traded for my seat on the airplane. I then found the man who traded my seat. And, after quite a long conversation to determine where his seat was, I eventually made my way there. I had to stop myself on more than one occasion from saying, “Sir. Please. I’m flying home for a funeral. Please just give me back my seat.” With my little pup in tow, I finally made it home to Florida. Just for fun, though, Chloe decidedo escape her bag during the last 20 minutes of the flight. She must have been just as annoyed as I was to be traveling home for a funeral, and she probably figured she could express her frustration in a way I could not.
I remember when I finally got into Florida, Chloe stuck her head out the window and enjoyed the breeze as we drove home.
I remember the house was oddly quiet without my mom there.
And I remember the very next day I did some excellent retail therapy, and I didn’t look at my bank accounts until January 1st. My mom would have approved.
The thing I can’t remember right now that is so confusing to me is when I cried. I must have. I know it happened. But when? Was the first time really when I read the eulogy? How on earth do I not remember?
I remember suggesting mimosas, and Chris pointing out that champagne might not be appropriate for a funeral.
I remember Chris and I had to go pick up a salad for after the funeral, and the woman at the grocery store just took a marker, drew a line through the bar code, and that meant it was free. Note to self: Bring sharpie on next grocery store visit.
I remember being showered with texts, emails, calls, flowers, cheesecake (!), and so much love.
I remember feeling surrounded by so much love that it made me feel so overwhelmingly lucky during a not-so-happy time.
I remember we drank.
I remember I was supposed to do my first Walk to End ALZ that year. However I was home getting ready for a funeral instead.
I remember I started to realize I really wouldn’t get to see or talk to my mom ever again, and that pretty much sucked.
When Chris told me I should write it and practice it, I remember being angry, because I didn’t want to think about it just yet, but my first draft ended up being my final draft anyway that night.
This isn’t one of those eloquently or wittily written recollections of a crazy time in my life. This is a scattering of memories. Something to help me not forget that day. That week. That really bizarre time in my life.
Four years ago. Wow. Mom, you are missed.
And, just for my own "fun," things I found while searching through my inbox:
A conversation with Brittany as she was prepping for her first day of school:
Brittany: well i'm glad to hear you sound pretty balanced
me: haha well we'll see but for now yes…as long as balance includes ice cream
A response to a friend’s question about services and plans for my mom’s funeral: “This weekend we'll just be hanging out, probably drinking…haha kidding, a little”
An email to myself with a shopping list: coated aspirin, beer♥a