Tag: love

2015-04-28 13.33.55Today is my mom’s birthday. I wrote about her eight days ago, on Mother’s Day. She died July 3, 2006, after a hard fight with lymphoma and other unsolved mysteries. A few months later, my sisters began the bittersweet task of going through her things and discovering forgotten souvenirs and curious keepsakes in her home.

You will find images of one of them as you scroll.

My mom was a smart shopper. She bought when items were on sale, bought with coupons and stretched a dollar near its breaking point. She also bought in bulk those things she knew she’d be buying down the road. One such example, apparently, is birthday cards. One of the discoveries my sister made upon closer inspection of my mother’s living-room desk was, in a slotted organizer on the old-fashioned kind of desktop, a birthday card for a son. Because I have three sisters and no brother, we could assume the card was for me. She had to have bought it before April 9, 2006, the last day she saw her home before going to Houston for a fourth biopsy and further treatment. She never recovered from the complications of the biopsy, and she never came home.

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I’m rereading “Still Life With Woodpecker.” stilllife

A long time ago, I read it, before I knew I’d make a career out of writing (and editing). Ah, words, and the sometimes maddening practice of putting one in front of another, and then another, and the elusiveness they have just when you think you’ve got them all, and in the right order. Sitting at a keyboard, typing, or backspacing, possibly sitting on the delete key, and starting from scratch. (Sometimes you have to destroy the story to save it.)

I remember reading the beginning of Tom Robbins’ third novel, published in 1980, and having my eyes opened. Wow, you can write any way you want to. It doesn’t have to be the way they taught you in grade school.

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momolderToday is Mother’s Day, the ninth since my mom died. She’s in my thoughts often, but especially in May. Her birthday is eight days away as I write this, and as the weather gets warmer every year around this time, I’m reminded of 2006, when she left home for the hospital in April and never went back home. She died that July.

It’s easy on sad days to get drawn into remembering the end, but it’s heartwarming and a comfort when I remember funny stories (she had a sneaky kind of humor, and sarcasm), or I recall the details of moments perhaps a bit out of character (or so it seemed at the time).

One night when I was young, as she was preparing to cook dinner, she dropped a pot or pan on the floor, and — unaware that I had come into the room, behind her — she blurted out a single word in frustration. Then, realizing I was there, she said more softly, “I mean ‘shoot.’ ”

After my father died, my mom didn’t date, and as far as I know, she never seriously considered it. If she ever commented on a man’s attractiveness, I don’t remember it. “Handsome” would have been the extent of it, I suppose. So I was tickled when, about a decade after my dad’s death, I visited my mom as she was watching “Pretty Woman” on television, and there was a mention of sharp-dressed Richard Gere. “He looks very mature,” my mom said, perhaps comparing his appearance to how he looked earlier in his career, such as in “An Officer and a Gentleman.” (Sidebar: My mother said “mature” with a hard “t” rather than pronouncing it “machure.” She also liked to say “sharp” in reference to a man’s attire, especially if she had bought me an item of clothing and thought it looked nice on me.)

I’m not sure how long it took me to realize it, but it dawned on me that “he looks very mature” was the closest my mom could come to saying, “Oh, he’s hot.”

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