“There is never any separation, ever, between physical and non-physical. And every relationship you’ve ever lived is eternal.” -Abraham Hicks
That means I’m eternally your daughter and you’re forever my mother. What a beautiful thought.
I know I’m starting to sound crazy with the amount of times I tell you about the Universe. But I’d equate what I’ve been feeling the past few months as when people “find God,” like some kind of internal awakening into finally believing something greater than myself exists.
And as a small side effect to this awakening, I am becoming more aware of my surroundings. I notice the sky, the clouds, the temperature outside and the way the cold wind feels on my cheeks. I am becoming more connected and more appreciative for all the things the Universe does to keep this planet spinning round and round.
Well not all the time, but on a good day. I never want to make myself sound like a perfect person full of peace, because finding such peace is the work of a lifetime.
Oh how wonderful it is, that you my sweet sweet mother, are a part of the greater power of this world.
Nine planets round the sun
Only one does the sun embrace
Upon this watered one
So much to we take for granted.
So let us sleep outside tonight
Lay down in the mother’s arms
For here we can rest safely.
Good old Dave Matthews, whose lyrics started to shape and shift my mind as a teenager, helping me think differently from what I was taught about the sky and heaven and things such as love.
What if Dave Matthews never believed in his singing and talent? What if he listened when told he’d never succeed? I probably would’t have survived high school, that’s what.
I’d listen to his albums on a burned mixed C.D. with the title “favorites” written in black Sharpie. It would play as my melodious backdrop, all the times I drove in my favorite car of all time, the Volkswagen Jetta. After nights out with happy friends who were innocently ignorant to the damage your cancer had caused, I hated going home to our empty house. So I’d waste time driving around and around, crying and singing and circling the familiar roads that once surrounded my home, trying to make sense of life after you left.
I have an incredible new respect for musicians, writers (yes, like Dr. Seuss), designers–anyone whose accomplished something that took the guts to break through their own reverie and into a dream reality. I’m realizing that Beyonce isn’t the only person that beat the odds of believing in herself.
Everett is still happy and fun and literally growing curls out of his ears. I had Terri give him his first haircut (well, trim) and he just snacked on cheddar chips the entire time, clueless to the scissors snipping around his forehead. And I kept a curl because every woman who heard about his first haircut, basically demanded that I keep a lock. It’s in a ziplock bag in my memory box, waiting to become a small, evidential charm of his childhood.
He says, there ya go! when handing me something. Every morning I take him in the bathroom with me and while I sit on the toilet, he opens our “catch all” drawer and hands me every assorted item he can, like hair ties, preparation H and blush brushes.
Mum mum will still be muttered now and then, but never if I ask him to. It has to be on his command. After turning off his lights for bed, I still go in fifteen or twenty minutes later to say another good night. And that’s when he’ll look at me and say my name, over and over, in the most darling voice.
I respond softly, “Yes, it’s mum mum…I love you sweet boy. You were so good today. Did you have fun? I did. Time for bed. Lay down, I’ll rub your back….” It’s our little “thing,” our time to regroup for a second after a long day and whisper words of love.
I’m thankful I grew up with a mother who kissed me goodnight, even through my teen years.
I’ve learned to rotate his toys, taking a few into the basement for a month and then returning them to the living room so it’s there when he wakes up in the morning. It’s like a recycled Christmas.
He’s using a spoon to eat yogurt and a fork to prick his apple chicken sausage (still the only meat he will eat). The “feed myself process” makes a mess, but I can cook a meal in the kitchen while he’s scooping and poking away, examining the bites that make it to his mouth, as well as the pieces that fall onto the floor and become Clifford snacks.
When we were in Virginia last weekend, Aunt Jessica’s dog had a new litter of puppies. They were a week old, so super cute and cuddly, with their eyes and ears still sealed shut. All nine of them would nurse at one time, stacked up against their mom, upside down or whatever direction they could manage to latch. It was beautiful to witness but all I thought was, yikes I couldn’t even handle one baby sucking on me.
But Everett was so sweet with them! Oh you should’ve seen it. He’d walk into the room where they were huddled together as soon as he managed freedom from someone’s watching eyes. I’d catch him talking gibberish to the pups in a high pitched tone, waving his arms and blowing kisses.
I hope my baby always stays sweet. I hope he inherits his Dad’s sweetness, the secret part of Chris that only a close circle of people know–like me and his mother and sister.
Every weekend morning, we get up as a family around six o’clock. Chris makes coffee (he actually gets excited about this because during the week, he “misses coffee with pumy”–it’s pronounced like poomy. He has called me that for so long, if I hear Hayley, my brain skips a connecting spark and I’m confused for a second, like, who?).
Saturdays are for whatever goes, always ending with out favorite Thai restaurant takeout and a movie. And on Sundays, I teach a 9 a.m. yoga class: it’s mom’s time alone and away and with adults.
While I’m gone, Chris usually takes Everett to see his parents and that way Judy can have time with the baby. That’s our focus right now: Everett getting as much time with his “Nonni” as he can, because time is of the limit these days. And I don’t want to say anything more about that right now, not even to you.
A few weeks back, I had such a real dream about you, Mom. When I woke up, I felt all confused and sad, carrying a weight in my stomach because:
reality = real
my dream = just a dream.
I called Allison, having to tell her about the way you and I were in a car together sharing silence, driving and gliding effortlessly through roads that were wedged between rolling fields of green open grass; for some reason, everything around us looked like farmland.
In this dream, I wanted to tell you all the hurt and pain and missing I’ve done since you had left. But before I figured out what to say, we both just looked at each other with this knowing look and you understood all my love, all my missing, all the questioning–you understood it all. We didn’t need words.
That’s what I often think about now–how much I god damn love you. It’s stronger than it ever was when you were living. It’s the love I want my friends to realize for their mothers–I want to shake them and say, do you understand your MOTHER is here still able to hug and kiss you? Do you know how incredible that is?
That’s all I thought in high school, any time I’d see my girlfriends with their moms. But how could they ever realize, until death creates that distance of aching absence.
A day after my phone conversation with Allison, she called me to share a dream she had about you. She told me she felt so silly for thinking it was actually real, but that it had to be because of the way it made her feel. I, of course, jumped on the opportunity to assure her, Yes yes yes…Mom was connecting to you…it doesn’t have to make sense…she knows you need her right now…believe it.
Right after I hung up the phone, I was in the car at a stop light. Wanting to put a new playlist on, I picked a random one on Spotify, made a few clicking taps with my fingertips and hoped a good song would come on as I resumed the gas petal and continued my drive home.
The first line of the first song, I kid you not, was:
In the dead of night I meet you in my dreams.
My jaw stayed open for an entire minute as I tried to figure out how the shit those lyrics played. My skin hairs stood up and I felt quivers, like this acknowledgment saying YES. It was my confirmation that you see both your girls in their dreams and all we have to do is believe in the magic of your current existence.
It’s hard to explain these weird coincidences; it’s like trying to put deja vu into words. You can’t–it’s all about the feeling of it.
When I get moody or sloppy in my thinking, when I get lonely or depressed or down, this magic stops. I am entirely cut off. I stop seeing triple numbers on the clock, I stop hearing certain songs or seeing Blue Jays fly feet away from me when I walk outside. It’s so easy to go back to my “old” ways, not being aware of the good in my life, not noticing the sky outside and thinking you are gone gone gone when I look into Everett’s eyes and begin to miss you.
But I am learning to keep myself open, to continue feeling appreciative as I go through my day and keep the voice inside my head as conscious as I can, like a specialized kind of awareness to the things I see and say. And like I said in the beginning of this entry, nature is so beautiful around this time of year and I can’t believe how much of the time I ignore or take it for granted.
There are some stroller morning walks when I never lift my head up to look around at my surroundings. My gaze in stuck to the pavement, with my feet marching onward like I actually have somewhere important to go. It’s my mission walk, the one I learned from you. And I hate it.
I yell at Clifford for getting tangled in his leash for the tenth time and trying to chase yet another freakin’ squirrel, all while chasing the squirrels in my own head, worrying about how much writing time I’ll have in the day, when I’ll get the laundry done, what time we will leave the house, etc. Stupid mind stuff.
When I walk slower, when I look up and ahead as opposed to down, I see birds flying in flocks. I see the grass in the big abandoned baseball field we pass, the blades iced over and shining the sun’s reflection, looking so pristine, I swear I could skate over it.
Every now and then at night, I’ll go outside to check on the stars. I’ve done it for years now. I can still remember trying to sneak out of the house with my old Lion King printed sleeping bag, laying in the front yard, home phone held to my hear, talking loving conversations with my then sweet heart under the sparkled lights of the sky.
When I see the stars now, I’m reminded of the wonder that is all around, of how small I am and of how small my “problems” are. When I see the ordering pattern of one of the dippers, I’m reminded how powerful and intricate and mysterious the Universe is and that I don’t need to have how it all works answered.
Other times the sky is blank and absolutely dark, besides for the light of the moon. There is no evidence that the stars even exist and yet, I know they are still shining somewhere because the clouds always pass and the stars reappear.
This gives me yet another reason to never lose faith or belief in you. Just because I can’t see you or on some days can’t feel you, doesn’t mean you’re not still there.
Do you have any idea how much power that gives me? To have this perspective when I fall into a slump state is critical and it’s taken me years and years to figure out that when I get “tired” of believing, I don’t have to stop, but rather, just take a second to pause and resume when I’m ready.
Because the stars are always there. You are always there. The Universe is always there and it always has my back. It feels incredible to know that:
“You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars guides you too.” -Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
And it feels even more incredible to know that you, Mom, are a part of that force.
Grandma asked me last week to go shopping for Everett’s Christmas presents. We met at Old Navy and to kill time, went into Marshall’s before eating Panera in each other’s company. I was looking for books to be gifted for Everett and I just so happened to turn my head towards, “Oh the Thinks You Can Think!” by none other than Dr. Seuss. I swear to you, it felt like it was put there on purpose, like someone was playing trickster on me.
Remember I shared a quote from that book in the last entry I wrote to you? The entry where I said I was going to manifest $147?
Seeing that book felt like positive assurance that the money was coming.
Five or so days passed and this morning I started to think, oh crap oh crap where is my $147? But knowing that kind of thinking only brings resistance, I tried to keep believing it was somehow coming or I was capable of creating a way to bring it to me.
While doing my mascara before grocery shopping, I was thinking of what Grandma could get me for Christmas with my remaining “gift budget.” I always take these presents very seriously. Every year I get something I’ve waited and waited for. A nice Anthropologie sweater? A pair of boots? Another jacket? But I don’t want any more clothes….
Light bulb: the book proposal. I had exactly $150 left to spend. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this in the first place.
As childish as I feel, asking a grandparent for what seems like a handout, this will be the most beneficial gift I ever receive. At least I hope. Even though this money didn’t fall out of thin air and even though asking for money as a gift isn’t the most original idea in the world, I feel like all the avenues in my mind lined up, bringing me to a texting exchange with Grandma, where she agreed to simply send a check in the mail.
I always wanted to partly dedicate this journal to her, but now she’s an actual piece of the journey. It’s special. And when her name is written within a few pages from the cover, I can remember this Christmas present and how much I love her.
I can’t wait to start this proposal course. Maybe the next time we talk, I will have an actual proposal written. Sounds way too easy to be true, but I’m going for it.
I love you, Mom. And the next night they’re out, I’ll look for you in the stars, knowing that you and I are never ever separated.