Sunday, October 2, 2011

And Just Like That, It`s Autumn

It doesn't seem to matter how much time passes, there are still times when I miss my mother so much that I want to crawl under the covers and sob myself to sleep. On those days, I feel a deep, almost tortured longing for one more phone call, another shared cup of sweet, hot tea at her kitchen table.

Today is not one of those days. 

The sadness that has visited me off and on throughout this day, is a new version of my usual grief. Today, I just really feel like sending my mother an email with an update on my life. My Mom died in April, 2000. Before 9/11. Before my sister came into recovery. Before I finished my PhD. Before, before, before. So very much has happened. What an email it would be.

Dear Mom,

I'm sorry I haven't dropped a line in over eleven years. Been busy. So much has changed since you left, I hardly know where to start, really. Here's a list of some rather trivial nonsense that you might be interested in:
  • Just after you died, George Clooney and Juliana Margulies got back together on ER.
  • Something tragic happened on September 11, 2001 but I'm guessing you know about that already. 
  • Larry King retired and evenings on CNN have never been the same (I can't remember if Anderson Cooper was around when you were last here, he's really great but I still miss Larry).
  • Elizabeth Taylor died earlier this year, I know how you loved her.
  • Televisions are flat now.
  • I see Baby Sister every week for a visit, even though she lives over a thousand miles away. (It's this thing called Skype).
  • Dad figured out how to do the telephone banking, he's quite a pro at it.
  • Dad and Auntie Claudette got together and were really happy for five years, then she died too. (Don't be mad at her when you see her, they were both very lonely and it was a really good thing).
  • Your youngest son fell in love online (on the computer), got married and moved to Mississippi. I know that this must totally freak you out.
  • Your oldest son bought a Harley when he turned 50. Also quite freaky.
  • In 2005, I ended up in emergency surgery after coming very close to dying. Don't worry - it was just cancer and I am fine now.
  • Your grandkids are all fine (you have two new ones, very cute), and so are your greatgrandkids (you have two more of them too, also adorable).
  • A hell of a lot of people have trouble with wheat now. I am not sure if you have ever even heard of gluten, but it's not good.
  • You can read books on this little computer-screen type thing called a Kindle now. Yes, I am serious.
  • If I wanted to, I could send you this email (complete with pictures, if I wanted) from my phone. 
  • There's this thing called Facebook now. It`s hard to explain. Let's put it this way - if Facebook had been around when I was a teenager, you probably would have figured out I was up to no good a lot sooner than you did.
Well Mom, I could go on and on. So much is new, so much has changed.

It's fall here. The seasons don't change quite as radically now that I have moved to the West Coast. I don't even know or remember if you liked autumn. I know that you loved spring and summer. I can only guess that like me, you didn't mind autumn in the years that you knew you were going on a holiday down south. I remember that you used to curse the damned leaves that fell on the acreage, there was no end to them, you used to say.

I know you loved Christmas, but hated snow. It doesn't really snow where I live. If you were still alive, I bet you would move here, because I remember you cursed the snow as much when it fell as you did the leaves. One day when Dad was visiting after we first moved here I asked him, "Do you think Mom would like it here?" And he told me that you would for sure, that you loved the ocean. I hadn't know that about you. It comforts me, because I have fallen in love with my ocean.

Dad`s coming to see us in a few weeks. He`s doing okay, Mom. He`s an older, maybe even gentler version of the George you left behind. He sure keeps busy running around the continent visiting between the four of us. When he gets here, I'll ask him if you liked the fall. We still talk about you often, he and I. Not in the way we did in the beginning, just after you left. Those talks were heartbreaking and hard. Now we keep it light, or try to.

I have learned a great deal about grief, Mom. It changes like the seasons, but it comes around, just as surely. Just as surely as how much I miss you. As how much I love you.

Forever yours,


  1. Dawn, you brought me to tears and nearly to my knees with the love and generosity you show in these words. Your mom beams with pride for you and for Baby Sister.

  2. Thank you so much, Lynda. It is you who is generous - I so appreciate that you drop by here and leave such lovely comments. Hugs to you, sweet friend whom I have yet to meet!

  3. Beautiful, makes me feel like I should re-kindle my relationship with my mother... someday.

  4. Bwendo, all things happen in their own time, right? Hugs.