There are things that you’ll remember in the oddest of times; remarkably some extremely trivial, after someone close to you has gone on.
Time pulls your heartstrings out of it and untangles the ribbons that once held your heart so interwoven with another.
Finally, you can breathe again and be filled up with just the simple memories. You now can look at a photo and see that your loved one was smiling and enjoying some momentary happiness. This doesn’t lessen the longing or the missing, just maybe the tears.
I choose to retell a time in the summer of 1980, it’s hot and early June, I came to visit my mom. I moved out in 1979 because I thought that this was some kind of requirement as I wasn’t in college. In this era, if you weren’t backward thinking, you weren’t thinking. It was fun visiting my mom back then, we always had a very rich engaging conversation and I loved our visits.
Looking out onto the “screen porch”, which is what we called our four season room that my father single-handedly built, and don’t you forget it, the table was set with a jug of sun tea, glasses, and a small cake. I smiled as I looked down on it seeing the old chewed on Tupperware glasses, grandma Nona “Banna” old plates, the old flocked tablecloth that had been washed so many times the print was coming off in some places! Last but not least, was the ashtray overflowing with spent butts and perhaps a nighttime deck soiree.
There it is, I think now, a true snapshot of times ago.
Anyway, I called out for my mom, she responded that she was outback. I found her on her knees weeding her flower beds. She and my father were extremely prideful on how manicured their home was. They had a glorious garden reaping with a bountiful harvest as well as these prizewinning favorite flowers; pink peonies, and yellow roses.
I joined my mother sitting in the grass and began plucking weeds by hand, following her lead. We talked about the nice weather and then on to the flowers. She began to tell me how the bees were attracted to the beautiful show the flowers were putting on. She went on to say that her observation of the bees was that even they would compete to land on the flower. We began to get sunburned as we chatted about the flowers, we decided to go get our tea.
Mom began tea with a freshly lit cigarette and of course, I smoked then too. We went on at least another hour with jokes and conversation.
On my way home in the car, I realized that my mother was talking about me the entire time. So I broke up with my boyfriend and put on a bra! I planted a pink peony bush in my yard to honor her because nothing has ever been the same since.
A true snapshot of times ago for me means a peony for my mother and memories that just maybe provoke more smiles than tears.
Happy Mother’s Day.