glimpses & thoughts & reflections & attempts to remember

she was a fast driver (like me)
efficiently and quickly getting me to church, tennis, singing, piano, ballet, jazz, tap, flute, cello, brownies, kumon, school, pool……. and the irvine spectrum.. everywhere

she was an incredible cook (malaysian spicy crab, satay and other yummy goodness)
it was the highlight of my birthdays

she was selfless and giving
wise and smart
loving and patient (sometimes not so patient if was being a royal pain in the ass)
caring and kind
also, a sensitive soul

she was an enforcer
piano practicing enforcer
the kumon and nonoopi doing enforcer
the singing practice enforcer
the decent grades enforcer
at the time, the enforcing was a bit much
in hindsight, i wouldn't be where i am without said enforcing 

and you know how you knew she cared? 
"did you take your vitamins?"
"did you drink enough water today"
"eat more vegetables"
"did you eat dinner yet?"
etc etc etc 
i'm sure our family could give you more examples

she was a great mother. i loved her dearly. people really flocked to my mom. she was mostly a quiet soul and an observer, and partly loud and goofy. she had a pretty large impact on people's lives one way or another. if you knew her, you were blessed. you smiled, you cried, you laughed, you were home. these days, i wonder if i will have as big of an impact on people's lives as my mom. i really do wonder. will i?

i still don't really remember what it was like to have a mother. but i thought of some of these things on my drive home tonight. i miss her dearly. 

honestly, it's difficult to remember much. my soul can usually remember feelings pretty well. i can re-feel. but i can't remember much. the feelings that do resurface, are usually like muscle memory forcing me to remember the more recent events. maybe i need to traverse through the layers of the onion. the newest stuff is the most easily accessible. makes sense. the stuff above is my attempt at remembering. scratching some surface.

here is what i can easily access now…. stream of consciousness word vomit style:

i forgot that i actually had two conversations with her during which she told me she was concerned about how both my dad and i would handle her passing. during which i assured her we would both be fine - that we had great support systems and people to turn to. that we would survive.

the first was while the toxin build up caused by her failing liver was affecting her brain…. shortly after this conversation she lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital. a couple days later i brought it up and she didn't remember. why would the universe allow that incredibly painful conversation to happen when she wouldn't even remember? talk about angry and confused. i didn't understand at the time that it would serve as practice. that the reassurance … was really for me. i needed to know i'd be ok, seeing as how my biggest fear was making it through year one after she passed without having a major major breakdown or pushing away everyone and everything that i loved.

the night before she passed, my dad and i went to the hospital to visit. my dad went to the restroom at one point and my mom and i had take 2 of the conversation. my heart hurts and have a lump in my throat just thinking about it - i call this "the pang".  i knew she needed to hear it for herself from me. i felt she needed to know that i'd be fine. she needed to know that i'd help my dad. that i knew my dad would help me. she needed to know in order to get ready to go. i needed to give her that. i never imagined i'd tell my own mother it would essentially ok for her to leave us behind.  PANG. she needed to hear that. i still needed convincing that it'd really be ok, and that we'd be ok. we needed it. the first time this conversation took place, the one she didn't remember? that was practice at home on her hospice bed. i did it the second time around with a little less fear and a little more confidence in what i was saying. i did it with a little more strength… in the hospital on a hospital bed. it's ok, you can go. don't worry, we'll be ok. you can go. don't suffer any longer. it's ok. it'll be ok. i'll see you tomorrow on Thanksgiving.

i miss her . . .

Here's an excerpt from Bright Eyes' "Bowl of Oranges" that has helped me through everything from teen angst to life's losses. I remember listening to this wishing for someone to keep me company… through the days so long and black. It's serendipitous that I happened to win tickets to an invite only KCRW sessions performance by Conor Oberst yesterday. It was perfect and wonderful. I most definitely cried big crocodile tears like I am now when he played this song. And I was most definitely standing by my man who has my back. Who tries to make me laugh. And sits with me when it just hurts too bad. I am thankful Nick and my mom were able to meet and kind of get to know each other. I am thankful my mom passed knowing I was in good hands…knowing that he was my someone. She asked me once if I was nice to him.. that's how I really knew she liked him. Even in a weakened state in a care home, she was still nagging me about being nice to Nick  :)

So that is how I learned the lesson that everyone is alone.
And your eyes must do some ranging if you are ever going to grow.
But when crying don't help and you can't compose yourself.
It is best to compose a poem, an honest verse of longing or simple song of hope.
That is why I'm singing...
Baby don't worry cause now I got your back. And every time you feel like crying,
I'm gonna try and make you laugh. And if I can't, if it just hurts too bad,
then we will wait for it to pass and I will keep you company
through those days so long and black.
And we'll keep working on the problem we know we'll never solve 
Of Love's uneven remainders, our lives are fractions of a whole.
But if the world could remain within a frame like a painting on a wall.
Then I think we would see the beauty.
Then we would stand staring in awe at our still lives posed like a bowl of oranges,
like a story told by the fault lines and the soil.

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