Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Listening to the Melody of Living

It was two years ago today that I received the phone call from my sister's husband, Bob. I don't recall his precise words, but I know that when I understood what he was telling me that my world stopped and all I could hear was silence. It seems so contrary, how can silence have a sound? But it does, it's as if all the air has been sucked out of a room and the silence echoes loudly and then you realize that people are trying to ask you what's wrong. You hear an unfamiliar voice and vaguely recognize it as your own and it's saying, "My mother died this morning."

On this second anniversary of the death of my mother, Evelyn, I went back and re-read a piece that I wrote three weeks after her death in 2008. I was struck by the following paragraph.
I confess that I've never known this kind of emotional loss and I don't feel like me. I go to work and I go through the motions of what I should do; I smile, I talk, I try to be "fine." When people ask how I am, I always say, "I'm doing okay. I'm fine." But I'm not. Everything seems so overwhelming. I come home and watch hours of mindless television. I rarely turn on my home computer; I tell myself that I'll catch up on things tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. All that I know to do is to keep moving forward one day at a time until I find my rhythm again. I realize that this loss is personal but it is also universal. I am not the first person to lose a mother and people do survive the loss; I just have to get back in sync with living again.
I still miss my mother. I miss her 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning call and her cheery inquiry, "Were you asleep?" I miss her stories about her older sister, my Aunt Nellie Ruth, who is always terribly concerned with two topics: Jesus and other people's sex lives. I miss her rearranging all the items in my pantry so that after she departed from a visit I couldn't find anything without calling her on the phone. Most of all I miss having her always in my corner, telling me that she loved me and that whatever was troubling me was going to be okay. However, in spite of the ache that I still have for her presence, somehow I've gotten back in sync with living again.

My sister, Rhonda, and her husband Bob live only a few blocks from me. I love their home; it's so warm and inviting. They are both very funny people and spending time with them always leaves me relaxed and happy. I feel so blessed to have them nearby. My brother, James, his wife, Lou and my adult nephew, JD live in Charlotte. We keep in contact via telephone and visit on holidays. My dad visits us and I call him every Thursday night for a marathon conversation about world affairs. Mama's youngest brother, my Uncle David calls me regularly just to chat, just as he used to do with my mother. I've renewed connections with some of my cousins with whom I had lost touch over the years. I think that we've all grown to appreciate the meaning of family more.

Then there's Little D, Bob and Rhonda's grandson. His father is Bob's son and Rhonda's stepson. Little D entered this world the December after my mother died; she never met him, but I know that she would have adored him.
This past Saturday evening, I was the babysitter. Little D and I had a marvelous time. We danced, sang songs (his favorite is Itsy Bitsy Spider), and identified all animals as "cow." I corrected him but he just grinned at me and pointed to the horse, dog, rooster, and duck and firmly announced, "cow." Fortunately, he does also call the cow a cow. For some reason, the cat is a cat and not a cow.

My favorite part of the evening was when he had worn himself out and decided to climb on my lap and rest his head on my shoulder. I read him a few nursery rhymes and then sang him a lullaby as he fell asleep.

Mama looking glamorous.

I've learned that time does have healing powers. There is still an ache in my heart and I have my moments when I miss mama so bad that I want to scream, but the ache is manageable and I no longer feel adrift. I find that I am more patient with others and with myself. I try to pay attention to the small joys of living. There is a rhythm to life; we just to have to take the time to listen to the melody.


Anonymous said...

As always, Sheria, your writing is beautiful, your feelings universal, and your insight into self refreshing. Many thanks for sharing YOU with the rest of us.

Ms. Moon said...

Beautiful post. It's all such an endless cycle of birth and death and the living inbetween, isn't it?
I know you must miss that beautiful mother. I am glad that time has helped you learn to live with your grief.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Dear Sheria,
Your entry, and particularly the final sentence, is lovely.

Little D is adorable, and your mother was a beauty. It is good to know that after such a loss, one is able to regain equilibrium with time.

Much love and peace to you,


Mark said...

I'm sharing this with my friend Andrea, who just lost her Mom and is going through exactly what you went through.

Anonymous said...

My parents were the primary relationships of my life. One died in 1986, the other in 2008. I miss them both every day, but I need to devise a new way of life(working on it).

You no longer have your mother in the flesh, but you have & recognize the love & connections you do have. That is a gift you give her...and yourself.

Sybil said...

Dear Sheria, Thinking of you at this special time.
God Bless,
Love Sybil x

Yasmin said...

Lovely tribute Sheria, and I'm glad you getting back in sync, takes time, but you get there:) your mum was very glamorous, and with your dad looking like Billy Dee Williams they must have made a striking pair.

Take care



Vagabonde said...

That is a lovely post about your mother. My mother died before Christmas 2002. I did not know she had cancer as she did not want me to worry. I flew to see her just in time but she could not speak. I feel bad that I left my country and could only fly from Atlanta to Paris twice a year to go and see her, as it was so expensive. But I still feel that she is around me. It is hard to speak about her, still.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Glad you are getting back in sync again friend. It is difficult, but life has a way of going on. Little D and all your close family is a blessing for you.

Beth said...

As someone who is also struggling after such a loss, I understand. It does get better. It's still hard, but it gets better. And now I'm going to stop thinking about it or else it will get to me. One thing I've learned is that sometimes it's not only good to stop thinking about it, it is also necessary. Love and Hugs.

aims said...

Sheria, my mom will be gone six month this Saturday. You've already been where I am now. I'm still in the "I can't believe she's gone" stage. Reading this entry helped me so much. The description of your mama reminds me so much of my own mama! My mama would rearrange everything when she came to visit and I'd have to call her many times to ask where things were. We visited or talked every day on the phone during our favorite tv shows, and She was always in my corner.

Little D is a handsome little guy - don't you just love the cuddle time? I miss the days mine little one was that size.

Your mother was a lovely woman, and I know how you must still miss her terribly. I'm sending hugs and prayers your way today dear friend.