And while I think of that day plenty of other times during the year, it seems to kinda punch me in the gut right about now.
Sometimes I get stuck on one piece of that day.
What her breath sounded like after the machines were shut off.
What her skin felt like when I laid my head next to her arm on the hospital bed.
What color shoes (cute cobalt flats) one of the residents was wearing during rounds.
Sometimes I get stuck on what happened in the days that followed her death.
People showing up & taking over.
Me going through my mom's stuff & feeling like a thief (ridiculous).
"Isn't it too soon?" I'd ask my dad as he lovingly encouraged me to take whatever I wanted.
Dresses & shoes that I had borrowed from her.
Because she had cool style (without even trying).
A pair of teeny tiny diamond studs that I had given to her years before.
That part of the aftermath was almost exciting (sounds weird, but it's true); holding tangible pieces of Mare, smelling her...having her, essentially.
Sharing beloved pieces with family & friends, holding things aside for my brother, for our kids.
I really do try to wear something that belonged to my mom everyday.
Lately, it's a particular ring; sterling silver thin band with tiny carved zig zags on either side of a delicate opal chip (smaller than a pin head). I wear it on my right hand, middle finger & barely know it's there. It's that perfect.
But, I didn't mean to go on & on about my mom's "stuff."
I was actually going to write about choosing her funeral garb; that was a weird process & my dad left it pretty much up to my discretion.
I found it odd & sort of funny that the funeral director, Ron, told me to include undergarments.
The dress was easy...I chose a long silk shift she wore to my first wedding. I was with her whenshe found it and it was perfect for her. That was a fun shopping day & I really miss shopping with my mom (probably the only person I really truly enjoyed shopping with).
Pale green, ankle length with delicate embroidered & beaded flowers randomly scattered.
For shoes, I chose champagne flats that she had worn the previous weekend to a neighbor's daughter's wedding. I remember stopping by that day as she was getting ready. It was the first time I'd seen her dressed up in a long time & she wanted me to help her decide which shoes. My mom always wore flats, lest she'd almost surpass my dad's height in heels. Her hair looked awesome that afternoon & I made a mental note to borrow that dress (ironically, I wore it just a few weeks later to her funeral). Is that irony? I always feel like I get that wrong.
Stockings, pretty underpinnings...a loose shrug/wrap (the dress was sleeveless) to hide all the IV marks. Her wedding band. And a locket (within the locket, tiny photos of her three grand babies).
Hair was done naturally, with that casual swoop & tucked behind an ear (no earrings; my mom had a thing about other people touching her ears). A Clinique berry lipstick that was in her purse. Just mascara.
My mom wore very sparse makeup. She didn't need any.
Although the funeral was closed-casket, our immediate family had the option to view her before visitation commenced.
First, I went in alone & placed some items in her casket.
But, serene. Beautiful. And like my mom.
She still looked like my mom (which was quite jarring, yet such a relief).
Next, I brought Max in (he wanted to). I'm sure he grew up a little faster in a way I wasn't ready for in that moment.
(But, we don't get to choose such moments)
And that was that.
Ron closed the casket & that was the last time I saw her in the flesh.
So, the date is looming...just two days away.
And I'll mark the day much like I did last year
I'll go to the Oaklands, I'll enjoy some of her favorite things, listen to some of her favorite songs...(but, I do these things often...and some of her favorites have become my favorites, too).
Bit o Honey
Ashes to Ashes
Gray Aerie sweatpants
The Sound of Music
Pulling weeds (SIKE! I HATE pulling weeds)
...just to name a few
I don't know a better way to wrap up this meandering post than that little list.
Today my son graduates fifth grade and leaves behind the elementary school that he knows & loves.
All the assholes who tell you "it goes by too fast," are right. "Cherish every little moment because they grow up so quickly!" Is a sentiment oft repeated, especially to newbie parents. I say: it's fine to not cherish every moment. It's fine to regard the first days (first years, even) as boot camp/purgatory/the hardest thing you've ever done. Whoever tells you "it gets easier" is full of shit. It does NOT get easier. It gets trickier, it gets crazier, but it does gets A LOT more fun. Kids are messy, moody, challenging, mischievous, wild, emotional, dramatic, funny, ridiculous, tiring, and stubborn (but, so are we). Homework is even worse the second time around if you're anything like me & sucked at that sort of thing when you were a kid. BUT, you get to watch your kid discover what they're into as they plow through elementary school at lightning speed (cliche 100%, but true)...you get to see them develop friendships (like our own, some will stick and some will fade)...you get to watch them handle challenges & overcome hurdles (some seemingly petty, some huge & important)...some kids will soar through their first chunk of academia with flying colors and unicorns and rainbows, while some will muddle through with lots of tears and frustration. Hopefully most kids fall somewhere in the middle and approach middle school with a genuine love of learning tempered with a healthy dose of humility. I'm pretty sure that's the direction Max is headed & I couldn't be happier for him.
Congrats & best wishes to *all* the classes of 2016!