Friday, August 26, 2016

Mama, You Are....

Never far from my thoughts .... Especially in moments like this. I am in the middle of an awesome show, during a break between Night Ranger and Rick Springfield. Now, honestly, I think of you far more often.... every day, in fact, and usually accompanied by eye leaks. But I'm thinking of you right now because of music. How much music was a part of my life and how much of a role you played in that. I know I told you this, as you lay there at Hospice House, but I don't know if you had any clue just how much the gift of music has meant to me in life ...... and how you encouraged it in me. Whether through singing or radio or piano or whatever you never once said, "Honey, this music thing is out of hand." You just let me. That was such a gift.

I was painfully aware in my teen years that our money was tight. When all my friends were going to the concerts I so desperately wanted to see -- Rick Springfield, Hall & Oates, John Mellencamp -- we didn't have the money, I had to live vicariously through friends who somehow understood and didn't shame me further.

My first live show was college.... Two of them. Then I didn't see another one for several years. Is this why you are pulling divine strings for me this year? Because keep pulling them. I am loving every minute of it. Every live show has been an absolute priceless treasure. I'm honored to share the moments with my friends in snippets of videos and pictures. 

Two more after this -- at least two planned ones. I'm looking forward to the Avett Brothers in Greenville but OMG I absolutely am freaking out over Temple of the Dog at Madison Square Garden in New York. Oh my gosh mom .... Do you have any idea? Do you? I know in the afterlife you have to know more than I do but oh my gosh, really, can you POSSIBLY know how utterly psyched I am for that one? 

Have you run into Bowie, Prince, Haggard? Have you met Andrew Wood, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley? Please oh God please tell me you've seen a heavenly Rat Pack engagement. That IS heaven..... 

Okay so Rick Springfield is about to take the stage. I love you. Thank you. Thank you for EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Already Dreading The Holidays

So it occurred to me today that it will be 20 years on October 4 since my paternal grandmother died. The following March will mark one year since Mom's passing and 35 years since her mother's death.

I pondered these events mostly because if I don't plan for the holidays now, we'll find ourselves at loose ends. For Thanksgiving, we're looking at buffets and restaurants in the area. If nothing else, Waffle House will be open. Thanksgiving was always a small affair, usually just the four of us. When the rest of the Norman Rockwell version of America is stacked 20 deep at Grandma's farmhouse, we always kept it simple. A few times we had family over or joined some friends but I loved our quiet Thanksgiving. This year, I don't know that I want to be here. We are thinking practically. A turkey for three people seems ludicrous. I will so miss Daddy and Mama's dressing but no need to make a huge pan of it for us. So.... What to do? I'm considering some options. Maybe rent a cabin in the mountains that weekend? Head to the beach? Not sure yet. 

Christmas, on the other hand, has never been the same in 20 years. And for nearly that long, I've hated the holiday season. I thought last year was my absolute worst, as I wrestled with anxiety and depression unlike any I'd experienced in a number of years. And at this point in time.... well, honestly, outside Midnight Mass, I'd really rather not take part in any holiday festivities. I didn't feel like celebrating last year. I really don't feel like it right now for this year. I don't care if we ever put up a tree, decorate the house, or anything. I don't care.

I haven't cared for Christmas in years. Some of it is the loss I felt after Granny's death -- Christmas was always the time to get with the family and enjoy the day. We did one big gathering the Sunday after Christmas 1996 -- in fact, it's the first time I ever met my cousins Heather, Brandon, Krystle, and Danielle. But after that, a few hurt feelings and who knows what else ..... And we've never met at Christmas since. To be fair, everyone has families of their own and getting as many together as possible is difficult. So I get it -- it isn't an easy task. 

And this is not what my mother would want. She adored Christmas and was forever baffled by our lack of enthusiasm. "Your granddad loved Christmas," she'd tell us. I'm glad, Mom, I'd think, but he isn't here so.... And this year, she isn't either. It is going to be so weird. No one telling us "Come open presents, come on, get up and get going. I'll never understand why y'all don't love Christmas."

I can't explain it either. I just don't. And this year, even less so.

Friday, August 05, 2016

5 Months

5 months today
21 weeks, 6 days ..... 22 weeks tomorrow
153 days
3 days from what would have been your 79th birthday.

Someday, I'll stop counting. Today is not that day. 

Mama, I've thought of you so very much this past week. You're my divine hotline to awesome concert tickets (only teasing, mom, but don't stop!!). Birds and dragonflies everywhere. I haven't stopped crying each morning for the last week. 

I have a pretty late summer / fall arrangement that I'm bringing you this weekend. I hope you like it. I thought of you with sunflowers and mums, things you might like. Hopefully it will usher in some cooler weather too! Can you work a little magic with God on that particular area?

I suppose I'm the last of the three of us to dive headlong into grief. Dad and Richard seem to be in a different place with theirs. I was so strong at first and I'm still strong. I have softened so much, and in the best way. One of my favorite U2 lyrics that came to mind: "a heart that is broken is a heart that is open." I hope that I've grown more compassionate, more eager to try new things.

I have you to thank for some of the peak experiences I've had this year. Only fair, since you're also responsible for the most heartwrenching one too. Well, it's true. And you were right.... You told me years ago that one day I'd understand (whenever you'd cry about Granny). And I do. I'm slogging my way through it, eyes filled with tears and heart filled with an ache that does not go away.

I miss you but I know you're around. Happy birthday Mama!