June 03, 2013

One Year

"Several times that day, the name or thought of Papa had come up.  And each time, Francie had felt a flash of tenderness instead of the old stab of pain.  'Am I forgetting him?' she thought. 'In time to come will it be hard to remember anything about him?  I guess it's like Gramma Mary Rommely says:  "With time, passes all." The first year was hard because we could say last 'lection he voted.  Last Thanksgiving he ate with us.  But next year it will be two years ago that he . . . and as time passes it will be harder and harder to remember and keep track.'"
~A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith*

It is easier almost a year later.  I can talk about my mom--to some people, in some ways--and I can hear my son reference Grammie Joy without crying.  Some days pass when I don't miss her.  Some days it's the only thing I really do.  I can talk about things she did, or liked, or memories I made with her, but I can't talk about how I miss her--what 4 o'clock in the afternoon is like when I can't call her on the phone--what it is like to have a segment of my soul locked up and unable to be expressed to anyone, because it was a part I shared only with my mom.

I think maybe soon only tenderness will remain-- with fewer stabs.  I know that this is only a brief interlude before I see her again--my hope and faith remain.  I know that soon I will be able to meet new people--or respond to a how are you--without pushing back my initial thought of "My mom is dead."  I know my first mental image of her will dissolve back into a beautiful and lively one, and not the last one.  I have faith, but this is still a hard road.  Just like parenting, the days are long, but the years are short.

*soon after mom died, this book was cheap on my nook, and a part of my brain dinged:  mom had liked this book.  I bought it, and as I read, I became convinced she had-- the protagonist loved libraries, just like my mom--she even had the same birthday--and then when her adored father died, it felt like reading the book was a gift from my mom--to have hope--to process--to imagine her reading it as a young girl.

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