This morning I woke up in tears but wasn’t sure why. I thought maybe I had a bad dream that I couldn’t remember and left it at that. I rushed to get ready for work and to get to the lab at 7am so I could turn in my jug ‘o pee and get pricked. Fun things a diabetic has to do. Of course, I was at the end of the line. Such is my life, and I had to wait an hour before getting called back.
During that hour, my mind ran rampant. I started out thinking about my disease. See D-Blog Day to read more about that. When that began to bore me, my thoughts were suddenly bombarded and there was no stopping it.
Ma. I sat there in a room full of strangers, my eyes threatening to spill out tears and missing her so much I could hardly breathe when it hit me. Today is the anniversary of her death. 6 years since I lost a piece of my heart. The same heart that knew it before my mind did.
I don’t know how many of you know this but I was adopted. When I was, I don’t know, 2, I guess. My grandparents adopted me. I grew up thinking they were my parents and still, to this day, refer to them as such. While my childhood was very different than most, in many ways, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Some of the best memories I have are from growing up in NY. Some of my best memories include Ma.
Ma was an amazing woman. She was quietly strong. A sweet Texan who slept with a hammer next to her bed. She was quick to laugh. A true humor very few possess. She loved without question. She cared without expectations. She wasn’t book smart but she was intelligent. Most of all, she asked how I was. She asked if I was alright. She, while dealing with her own disease, worried about mine.
Ma would watch Amanda while I was at work. As a single working mother, I needed her and she was there. I loved that Amanda wasn't being watched by strangers. Last night Amanda was yammering away telling her stories when I looked at her and said ‘Amanda. I am a bullet point person. I don’t need the fluff.’ Then I paused and said ‘You’re just like Ma.’ And…she is. Ma would yammer away just for the sake of connecting. It was her contentment of sharing a story that made it beautiful. Gosh, maybe I, too, am like Ma. It’s a shame Amanda lost her ‘GG’ when she was only 9 years old. But, it’s also a joy that Amanda got to know this woman who had a heart of gold. I hope Amanda remembers her forever.
When I was little, I used to think Ma was a witch. She had some crazy remedy for whatever was ailing you. Or she had some oddball superstitious way of explaining things. Even as I grew older, I would continue to seek her out and say ‘Ma! What does it mean when your left hand itches?’ She would reply ‘You’re going to lose money. Be careful.’ Or ‘Ma! What do I do when my throat hurts but I don’t have a stuffy nose?’ She would reply ‘Gargle with warm salt water.’ She would also be the one I called and asked ‘Ma! How long do I cook a whole chicken for?’ Or ‘Ma! How do I make those Thanksgiving turkey things?’ She would make these incredible turkeys out of Nilla wafers, chocolate covered cherries, candy corn, chocolate frosting, mini chocolate chips & a burnt peanut. They were such fun and she’d always make extra so that I could take them to work. Now you can make them, too. They were kinda like this…but way better.
I also have a plant that I took when Ma died. That plant has continued to have babies which I have passed along to all of my friends. When Amanda leaves and gets her own place, she, too, will have a piece of Ma's plant. It's my way of making sure she lives on.
When Ma died, I could not grieve. I felt that I had to be strong because everyone else was falling apart. I couldn’t talk about her because I would only end up comforting them. I stopped myself from publicly feeling.
Still….I grieve in silence. I grieve in the car on the way home when I hear ‘Can You Stop the Rain?’ come on my iPod. One of her favorite songs.
I grieve when I am trying to fall asleep. I grieve when I am at my wits end and I ask her, out loud, what I should do. I grieve when I am hiking at Red Rock and a peaceful wind grazes my face. I grieve when I stop trying to be so strong and allow myself to. When I become that little child who needs a hug, needs someone to ask if she’s ok, and needs someone to love her with limitless abandonment, I grieve.
Today, I am not so silently, yet silently, grieving.
I miss you, Ma.