Sunday, May 12, 2013

Messages from Mum

Cheeses of all kinds blurred together into one bright orange block as I attempted to compose myself in Big Y’s dairy aisle last week.
Moments earlier, my body let out an audible, involuntarily gasp as I passed a woman whose perfume wafted my way.
It was Tova. My Mum’s signature perfume.
I nearly dropped my basket.
Memories are one thing I’ve managed to confront with little problem these days. And I readily inhale her faint smell still traceable in sections of her house. But to come in contact with this scent I’ve forever associated with my Mum in a random aisle in a grocery store six months after her passing literally stopped me in my tracks. I was not prepared for this.
I understand I cannot equip myself for every similar moment, although I do try. Each month seems to bring its own high and low.
April found me preparing for the six-month marker the first week of May, and conversely, her birthday the last. Ironically in this effort, I had forgotten about Mothers’ Day.
A purple sign displaying “Mothers’ Day Cards!” caught my attention in Target and I thought, “Ooh!” and then immediately, “Oh.”
This holiday dedicated to mothers is not something in which I will participate this year. And I feel wholly cheated. It makes me want to scream with anger, frustration and despair. 
I just want my Mom!
My friends feel her absence, too. One recently told me she had a “What would Kathy do?” moment when solving a problem. Another just this evening said it feels like a night she would drink tea with Mum and I and get some good advice.
My Mum was a mom to more than just my brother and me. So many of my friends wished she were theirs. Her nickname was “K-Mom.” I know I’m incredibly lucky to have called her mine.
She is here, though. I can feel her.
A partial lunar eclipse paired with a pink moon April 25 found me ascending the Mt. Holyoke Range to snap some shots of the giant moon. As that vantage point didn’t pan out, I drove to various spots in South Hadley to look for a better view.
Parked in front of a field near McCrays, I lamented the loss of my moon-watching Mum and adventure sidekick. She once gave me a card that said, “Every time you see the moon, it’s me watching over you. I’m with you always.”
With a giant moon in my view, I felt closer to her that night than I have since she passed.
Last weekend at the Springfield Symphony with my boyfriend, Sean, I picked up tickets a co-worker held at will-call under my name. Mum and I often would have symphony dates. She loves those strings!
“Enjoy your show, Kathryn,” the ticketmaster said.
Again I found myself gasping out loud, with tunnel vision focused on the name printed on my ticket envelope – hers. Shaking, I held it up to show Sean, tears instantly streaming.
I can’t explain how her name appeared on my tickets. But I’m taking it as a sign she’s saying hello.
Last Mothers’ Day I wrote a column about Mum, calling her my North Star. Always present, no matter the weather. Illuminating my way. Never burning out. The best in the universe.
That analogy couldn’t have held more true.
These days are painful, but progressively less so. And like the cheese I composed myself in front of last week, this pain will get better with time. But it’ll still stink.

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