Serenity


I found myself tossing and turning at 3am.  Part of me thinks it was because I went to bed at a decent hour and my body rejects a good night’s sleep.  The rest of me knows it is because there are too many thoughts swirling around in my melon.  So I am here.  I was raging against the very machine that I should be fueling.  When the urge to write hits me, I need to go with it.  This shit would be way more convenient if I was being paid to do it, but alas!  I am still here.

 

Before my mother in law Mama Judy died I had the privilege to have a 2 hour phone conversation with her, which I recorded.  I called her from our home phone, then put her on speaker and recorded us with my cell phone.  I still have it.  I have only listened to it once.  She was aware it was being recorded, because she knew her cancer was terminal and I asked her if I could write her memoir.  It was our intent to have these conversations every week and touch on subjects leading up to the day our lives intersected and forward.   I wanted a piece of her to pass along to my kids and hers, and theirs when they have them.  Unfortunately for us, my busy life and her illness progression got in the way and our first recorded conversation we recorded turned out to be the only one we would ever have.  I’ve listened to it only once.  Two days after she passed away I was home alone missing her, and I listened to it in its entirety.  I didn’t realize how much I miss her until yesterday.  It was then that I found that I can’t even talk about her to strangers without losing my composure.

 

On the day I was listening to our conversation I heard the doorbell ring, so I had to pause the playback.  I opened the door to find our postal carrier holding a piece of registered mail that required my signature.  The letter was a long-anticipated update regarding a very long, drawn-out modification involving a custody/child support modification from my first marriage.  I was ecstatic to open the letter, I rushed inside and tore it open…quickly I realized it was just the news I had hoped for, and I was elated!  I ran back to my bed where I had just been sitting before the doorbell rang and grabbed the very phone I had just paused and held it to my ear and said “Mama!  Guess what!!”…and then it hit me.  Then I cried.  A lot.  That was nearly 3 months ago and I truly thought I had been handling my grief well, if you consider ignoring it handling it.  Two days ago I was speaking to a person in the child support modification unit regarding the letter.  I had called to check the status of the case, and she said the case was being held up because they had never received the paper I signed showing that I had received the letter.  She asked me if I remembered the day I received it…well of course I remember.  I told her I knew the exact date and when I recounted the event to her I heard my voice start to quiver.  I cleared my throat and apologized, I think I made her cry too.

 

April 29th would have been Mama’s 54th birthday.  I still want to call her just to say hi.  I want to send her pictures of the kids, I tagged her in some today on Facebook.  I have accepted that she is gone, but I guess I still can’t believe it.  When I was looking through my boxes of papers recently I found several birthday cards from her.  Her penmanship looked like calligraphy.  She never missed an occasion to send a card.   She sent centerpieces for holiday meals where she couldn’t attend.  Once I had forced my way into her life, she considered me her daughter; not her daughter-in-law or some chick her step-son was married to.  She considered me her daughter.  She loved my children as if they were her biological grandchildren, and none of them are.  The most important thing about my love for James and his family is that they understand that I am not just me.  When he married me, he married 3 people.  It’s not always an easy thing to marry into an ‘instant-oatmeal’ family as my cousin Ray calls it.  Most of the time there is a difficult transition for the ‘outsider’ to come in and sometimes they never really ‘fit’ in.  It’s a risky business at times.  But not for us.  James found me and my kids and couldn’t wait to sign on.  I have never felt a moment of awkwardness and neither have they.  His dad (Papa James) was the same way; when he married Judy she also had 2 kids.  He loved Kurt and Tiffany like they were biologically his and took on the role of their dad and raised them alongside his own children.  I am thankful for many things, but most thankful that James learned this wonderful trait from his dad.

 

Until Papa James and Judy died, I didn’t believe I had ever had the bittersweet luxury of the time to prepare, as if that’s really possible.  Each of them knew they had cancer.  They each knew they were going to die, so they said all the things they needed to say before they passed on.  In hindsight, I guess we all know we are going to die.  We each have every day of our lives while we are here to say all the things we need to say, but too often it takes a tragedy to awaken that part of us.  I’ve always been a passionate person.  I’ve had the unfortunate experience of losing many people I’ve loved dearly, and as a result of that I know that when you have something to say, you should say it.  It requires strength, courage, and sometimes embarrassment because people sometimes tend to think you are a weirdo, but I do it anyway.  My main goal in this life is to be good.  I am not always good at it, but I try nonetheless.  In order to become enlightened one must absorb all facets of their surroundings and truly be alive and aware inside each moment.  Stop for a second.  Really think about that.  Today, appreciate beauty in all things.  Listen when people talk.  I mean REALLY listen.  Don’t just nod your head and wait for your turn to speak.  Find comfort.  Find peace.  When you do all these things then you can share all these things.  I feel love and happiness in my life.  I am blessed with memories of those who have transcended to a different place, and comfort in knowing I am loved by my husband and children and many family and friends.  I am still here.  I am putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward every day.  Sometimes the days go by so quickly and others seem to creep by, but inside of each moment I try to find peace and serenity.  It isn’t always easy, but that’s how life is.

 

I know today will be a good day.  If my heart were a magic 8-ball and I asked it if today would be good…it would say ‘It is decidedly so.’

 

~P

 

 

 

 

 

 


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