Ten years ago today I wrote a woo poast in my secret blog, the one I was keeping while my mom died of cancer. I’ve never been a super duper militant atheist like some, maybe because I wasn’t rebelling against anything at home. I simply didn’t believe, that’s all. My nonbelief was never a huge deal to me, or to my parents, though I realized early on it was shocking to others, especially when we moved to the midwest in the 1970s. So, I mostly kept quiet about it. Back then, you didn’t blast your personal beliefs all over town as you do now. No Facebook, blogs, instagram, Twitter, etc.
There have been many times my lack of belief gets fuzzy. I want to believe, like other people do. It seems to be so comforting. Why shouldn’t there be more? A greater thing, a purpose. Why do connections have to end with death? Why can’t we be with our loved ones again in some way? That all sounds good. Sometimes it sounds too good, especially when I’m sad, and I start to imagine it could possibly, maybe, be true, somehow. Well, why not?
Ten years ago today I wrote that my ex-husband and I had worked everything out and were getting along better than ever. I called him my “soul mate” in that blog poast. But we split up about a year and a half later. I also wrote about the hallucination I had of an angel when I was sick with a very high fever in 1996. And finally I wrote of an earlier time when I was depressed and asked for a sign that things would improve, closed my eyes, and opened them to see rainbows in the room. They were prisms from the sunlight hitting my glass animals at certain angles.
Maybe I was trying to cobble together bits of evidence for some sort of belief-cake, idk. I’d have to read more entries ~ and it’s possible I dropped the topic altogether. I’m not re-reading every entry of the death diary now, not that there are so many. I may at some point, or not; they aren’t going anywhere. I’m busy lately with various projects and have finally stopped forcing myself to do things in my free time that make me unhappy. Happiness is a choice, as “they” always tell us.
I do enjoy keeping up this blog, though lately rather sporadically. Thank you for reading!
Today is 10 years exactly since my mother told us of her pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Shortly thereafter I began the private blog, where some of you listened while I poured out my feelings. Thank you for that once again. It was a little over four months between her diagnosis and her death, less than “average,” so every day between now and April 13, 2018 will be a 10th anniversary of a day of mourning.
In my other blog I see I was angry that day, angry that she tried to be cheerful on the phone when she said she was coming over to talk to us. I knew then. Because if her scan had been fine, she would have said so on the phone. I like remembering this ~ it makes her come alive in my mind. Moms are so annoying! I want to remember her exactly how she was, not in some false idealized way.
Sometimes I feel very insubstantial lately and I have to relocate the essence of myself from wherever I’ve drifted apart and off to while I forgot to pay attention. Part of that process is remembering Mom.
The Daily Prompt: Relocate
Sometimes I hear faint echoes of lives I might have lived, not when summoned, because those are more properly classified as fantasies, but unbidden. Occasionally they’re catalyzed by conversations or actions I observe from others, interactions among couples, or when I run across a career that seems interesting. I could have done anything, but I didn’t. There’s still time, but not much, and I sense the end of it. Numbers have always seemed real not abstract to me and I see my own fading in the near distance. When my time ends, all time ends: the solipsistic universe of me.
The Daily Prompt: Faint
I don’t believe in ghosts, but when I couldn’t remember where I was born, my mother whispered the name of the hospital to me one morning while I brushed my teeth. Phillips Memorial. That’s what it sounded like, though it was wrong. Close enough however, so that Phelps came up in a Google search and I was finally able to obtain my birth certificate after all these years. Now I can get a passport. I had photos taken at the drugstore. Without glasses, I look much older and tired. A lot like my mother. I find I don’t mind this.
The Daily Prompt: Believe
The first time I heard Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers I was in a car with my boyfriend in 1980. We were in the back and his friend and friend’s girlfriend were in the front. It was the year of Damn the Torpedoes. (Says on Wiki that DTT was released fall of 1979, so that makes sense.) I fell in love with Refugee instantly and couldn’t wait to run right out and buy the album. So many good songs on there. I bought the prior album too and possibly the first one, not sure. Maybe later on a greatest hits I ended up with American Girl and Breakdown. Tom Petty was one artist I bought in vinyl, then again in tape, and finally on CD. Ridiculous, how we did that. But I didn’t do that for everyone!
My favorite Tom Petty album is Hard Promises. Unfortunately, I no longer have it (or any vinyl) and I see via iTunes that I don’t even have a complete list of the songs scattered about. Well! I don’t know how this disaster happened, but it will have to be remedied at once. *puts CD in Amazon cart* Every song on Hard Promises was significant to me in some way in 1981 when I listened repeatedly to the album back in Chicago. I can’t say that 1981 was such a terrible year, since 1982 was worse, and 1983 broke my heart, but maybe I had a premonition or something. I don’t know. I listened to so much music back then, just listened, absorbed. Not like now, where I’m usually doing something else, not focused on music unless I force myself to stop.
Of course I loved some of TP’s later work as well. Learning to Fly. Free Fallin’. I Won’t Back Down. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around with Stevie Nicks. I didn’t really pay much attention to the Traveling Wilburys, except of course End of the Line was fun to listen to.
I can’t seem to forget you…
Your Windsong stays on my mind.
Remember that commercial for the Prince Matchabelli perfume from 1980? I thought about it tonight when I unexpectedly ran across someone online from years ago and remembered him, but he had no memory of me at all. It was so vivid for me too, that connection we had during a time that was intense and painful for both of us, about a decade ago, and yet… it clearly meant nothing to him. Nothing at all. He apologized for failing to remember me, but it’s happened before, many times.
When I messaged this man, I was so… buoyant. I think that’s a good word for the emotion I felt earlier today. I had to shop at Target, and the whole time I was a bit floaty, thinking to myself how wonderful it would be to chat with someone who knew me from the time before… before the divorce, before my mother was gone. Why this is important to me, I don’t know. But it is. And so for a couple hours I felt light and happy, certain that my life would take a new direction as the man and I renewed our friendship.
I came home, put my stuff away, fed my kitty, fed the feral kitties (all three were around tonight!), got a snack, logged back on, and after a little while a message arrived. The man did not remember me. Oh well. Then that old commercial jingle popped into my head and I wondered if it would be possible to find it on YouTube. Of course… first hit.
I’ve been a blogslacker lately and I don’t have an excuse. Today’s prompt word search brought up this photo from my trip to Oregon, and, as it turns out, it’s only a few days late for Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It was a very sobering experience to pay my respects at the memorial.
The Daily Prompt: Roots
Posted in Whatever
Tagged death, travel
My mother had some old watches and pocket watches she picked up here and there at estate sales and such, and now I have them. I tried to sell them once and was told they had no value, so I keep them tucked away. I’m glad I didn’t get rid of them after all. They’ve grown on me.
This is a plain pocket watch with no cover. It says “Waltham” on the face. This piece is two inches in diameter and feels heavy in my hand.
This is the back. It has a cool geometrical pattern/logo, but no words.
This piece is smaller and lighter, about an inch and a half in diameter, but it’s thicker and more complex, as you’ll see. This is the front.
It flips open to reveal the clock’s face sideways. “Elgin” is printed on the face. The back of the cover says “Keystone” and has a serial number (1194946).
This is supercool ~ the back opens to show gears and stuff!
Next up is a ladies’ bracelet watch. It’s very delicate and pretty. It says “Victoria” on the face and nothing on the back. The clasp says “Hadley” with a patent number.
The last is another bracelet watch, a Bulova. I like it a lot, though its face is scratched up. I might get it cleaned up and working someday so I can wear it for real. I used to wear it anyway, just for fun, but then I decided it was bad luck and stopped.
The reason this watch is so special is because it’s engraved on the back. I imagine a husband gave it to his wife for Christmas in 1947. I’ve decided he fought in WW2 and she waited for him.
My mother died today, nine years ago. I love her and miss her every day. Her voice and presence are both still right here, almost, as if she just left the room a few minutes ago. Nothing has changed in all this time.
The Daily Prompt: Timely
Stephen King has a short story in Bazaar of Bad Dreams called “Ur,” which is centered around the notion of an experimental Kindle with an extra menu feature that gives access to alternative literary realities. Forex, say you type in a random number… in this world of words Shakespeare lives five more years and writes a couple more plays. You get to buy, download, and read these plays on the new Kindle. It’s addictive, as you might imagine, for you could spend day after day checking random numbers and writers to see if your favorites appear in parallel universes with new works to read.
But it’s also comforting to know that the authors we love will continue writing in their familiar styles in the alternate realities. If we search for Ray Carver, we don’t want to find vampire romances. We want what we expect. Most of us anyway. That’s why when I go to a vegan restaurant and order a lush looking dish of macaroni & cheese I’m invariably disappointed ~ it appears so beautiful and cheesy, but it never tastes as expected. I’m always better off with a salad where the veggies taste the way they’re supposed to.
I dream about my mother frequently. This month is nine years since she was diagnosed; next April nine years since she’s been gone. In my dreams, she just goes on as she ever was ~ present, helpful, sometimes annoying. Nothing super dramatic. In the last one, we were at a table with a bunch of other people (I don’t remember who) discussing an arts & crafts project. At one point, I turned to my mother and complained that my pantyhose kept getting runs in them the first time I wore them, sometimes right out of the package. She commiserated. I don’t remember if she had any advice, but it’s almost certain she would have. Because Mom.
This was a comforting dream. Mom was being Mom.
In the King story, the protag next discovers that the experimental Kindle feature also has alternative reality newspapers. Some of these are funny, especially King’s election ideas. And then our protag finds his local future newspaper. ~ doo doo doo doo ~
I am highly enjoying Bazaar of Bad Dreams.