I am visiting my Dad this weekend and I set here this morning, trying to put to words, the feelings within. Normally, I would try to find some event that has happened to me, add some embellishments to make the event more interesting to the reader and then type to my hearts content. (Kind of sounds like the NBC or CBS news crews doesn’t it?) However, this morning I truly hope I can convey to you my experiences of yesterday evening.
First of all, for those readers who are outside of this family’s realm, I must start back in August of 2005. We had come together as a family to plan and prepare my Mother’s funeral. As we discussed the options of; what songs to sing, which preacher to ask to do the service and which preacher to do the graveside, my niece brought me a notebook, written in Mom’s own hand, with what my niece described was one of Mom’s poems.
As I leafed through the notebook, I found many of her writings. The dates were not “in order”, spanned several years and showed that they more like a “thought of that day” rather than any type of diary. I found one that she had written while setting on the front porch back in the mid 80’s, apparently about sunrise. This writing inspired us children to conduct our Mother’s funeral service; to honor her life rather than just mourn her passing.
Anyway, I asked Dad at that time if I could have the notebook. He said yes and asked if I wanted the rest of her notebooks. I was unaware of more but said I did want them when he was ready to give them. Dad has been after me for several months now to come get them. However I have avoided it somewhat because of the emotional process which it would again trigger for me. But last evening, we opened the drawer on the chest beside her bed and started sorting.
Now Mom, being somewhat a pack rat, had kept a lot of things. There was tucked inside the pages of several notebooks, articles from newspapers, grocery lists of long ago, some Ann Landers columns, phone numbers and addresses and even a personal letter from Sam Walton to my Dad from back in 92.
Then I started paging through the notebooks, skip reading various things she had written. She had dated most of the writings. They were in no order and obvious, that for the most part, she had just picked up the nearest notebook, dated and wrote what was on her mind at the time, characteristic of my Mother who was not a “scheduled” person.
Inside these treasure chest of thoughts, I found: letters written to my two brothers, my sister and myself; thoughts concerning friends, extended family and neighbors; hand written prayers; her inner fears; funny stories; sad thoughts; her wishes for each us children; and thoughts concerning her grandkids. Some of the thoughts were short, just a couple of lines. Some thoughts were several pages.
I could see in the hand writing the changes that happens to us all. The lovely cursive from the earlier writings; the shaky handwriting after her stroke. Yet both filled with the same love and grace my Mother was known for. Of course I have yet to read all that she has written, but look forward to it as time allows.
The thought that keeps reverberating in my mind is that these same words or thoughts spoken directly to us, in times past, would have brought a smile as any compliment would, a bowed head as any chastisement would and rolling laughter as any funny story would. But these words now in written form will continue to bring her influences, her expectations and her love for a lifetime that is totally separate from just the emotion of her passing.