Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Eternity, Chocolate Bunnies and Plastic Eggs
It's been about 3 1/2 months since she died unexpectedly. Unexpectedly sounds funny since she was 95. We'd begun to think of her as the Energizer Bunny, just going and going. I suspect it would amuse her to know so; likely she didn't feel that way. Sometimes I thought she'd make it to membership in the centurian club. Then we'd visit and seeing her struggle, I'd wonder how she'd hung on so long. It was easy to miss the fact that the routines of life had gradually become more and more difficult, easy if you wanted to.

When I got the call from DH, "Bev, Mom didn't make it", I was surprised. Life had finally caught up with her, it had gotten to be more than she could pull off. The immediate flurry of activity, preparations, getting funeral clothes ready, making reservatations, who would care for the house and the pets while we were gone, it took all my time and emotions. My 'job' through all the saying goodbye was to be strong for Don and the kids. Then I shifted to my comfort zone - sifting through years and years of papers and belongings, watching for treasure while throwing out the no longer needed documentary of a life. Finding her marriage certificate in their first tax filing - success! Retrieving an old photo from a basket of sewing supplies - it kept me on the hunt for more treasures. After the goodbyes, we came home to Christmas upon us, then the New Year rolled in with all its resolutions, projects, plans. As it's good at doing, time began to just go by. It's not that I haven't thought of her. Phone calls and conversations about tying up the loose ends of her life have brought her to mind many times.

I just haven't missed her. Really missed her presence. Yesterday I did. For some reason, she came to mind. Not the woman with all the papers and taxes and things to deal with. Just her. I missed hearing her giggle, her eyes twinkling. I missed seeing the tissue stuffed just inside her cuff. Any lady would have a kleenex on hand! Seeing her pull up the pearly chain that hung from her neck, to put on her glasses. Having her pat someone's hand as she said goodbye, with misty eyes. She hated goodbyes.

Being the typical 95 year old, she didn't 'do' technology. We knew we'd missed her call if we came home and the answering machine had a pause then someone hanging up. But last fall she phoned our house, before DH's last visit to her, letting him know she'd reserved the room for him at the place she lived. The rare, hesitant message, "Hello, it's me. I got the room so it's ready for you. Pause. Well, good-bye." I saved it. Months before she died, I saved the message because I knew we'd treasure it down the road.

A few days ago I hit 'play', and there she was, her crackly/aged voice filling the room. With the perfect message. "Hello, it's me. I got the room so it's ready for you. Pause. Well, good-bye." Indeed she has! In just a few days she'll celebrate her first Easter in Heaven, and I can only imagine what a celebration that must be, sans chocolate bunnies and plastic eggs, but with the King of Kings right there in the middle of it all. Imagine being a part of that! She doesn't even have to fuss with baking a ham and making deviled eggs. I doubt there are deviled eggs in heaven.

Still, I miss her, her crackly voice, her heavily veined, arthritic hands patting mine. I miss seeing her eyes twinkle, in spite of the folds of thin skin that hung from them. I miss hugging her goodbye, wrapping my arms around her gently so as not to bruise. And I think about all the things we didn't do together - why on earth didn't I find out twenty years ago that she knitted, so we could share that? The knitting needle I ran across still has her work on it; it'll stay just the way it is on a shelf in my craft room, for me to treasure.

It makes me think today, right now, who's still this side of heaven that I need to call, spend time with? While she's up there getting ready for a whale of a party, we're forced to live THIS side of heaven, with chocolate bunnies, plastic eggs, baked hams, and yes, deviled eggs. So whose voice might I miss down the road? Who might miss mine? Missing her makes me think of eternal things like shopping for a ham, and making phone calls, or putting a package in the mail of plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies. Missing her makes me stop and think. As Martha would say, "it's a good thing."


  posted at 7:15 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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