It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. The last three months have been a blur. Lots of posts have floated around in my head, but nothing has materialized. I was too busy, too scattered, too sad.
After all, so I thought, who wants to read the posts of someone who’s grieving?
It’s easy for me to fall silent when I’m sad. My mother knew that about me. That’s not to say that any time I’m quiet or pensive that I’m necessarily in a painful place. Being the introverted extrovert that I am, I often need time alone, and sometimes even enjoy being the quiet observer in a group of people. But when I’m depressed, the words stay in my head. Alone. It’s only when they begin to come out on paper, or fall upon someone’s ear, that I begin to heal.
For those of you who only know me from a distance, you may not know that my mother passed away on January 8 of this year. She fell on December 5, hit her head, and had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. My dad called to tell me while I was already en route to their home to pick up my dog, Chester, whom they often keep when I have to go out of town. That day I happened to be traveling from Fort Worth, where I’d talked to a church group the night before. My dad said that my mom had been by herself while he’d gone to a doctor’s appointment and she lost her balance while leaning over to cover my dog with his blanket. She adored that dog as though he were a grandchild and she loved it when she and my dad got to keep him for a few days. Convinced that he was always cold when she was, my mom spent more time covering that dog up than she did feeding him scraps from the table.
And she fed him plenty of scraps.
When we brought my mom home from the hospital, she wasn’t able to do much. Every day, though, she wanted to get up out of bed, put her robe on and go in the living room and sit in her chair. Every morning she wanted bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee for breakfast. Until the end, the coffee had to be black and hot, the bacon crisp, the eggs fried sunny side up, and the toast buttered to the edge of the crust.
Every morning Chester sat beside her tray and waited for the bites he knew he would inevitably be fed.
When she thought I wasn’t looking.
If the dog hadn’t been there in the first place, she wouldn’t have leaned over to cover him. Maybe if she hadn’t leaned over she wouldn’t have fallen. Maybe if she hadn’t fallen, she’d still be here. All those thoughts have run through my head.
But the truth is, that dog brought her so much joy. And nobody could’ve stopped her from reaching down to cover him up.
Any more than we could ever stop her from feeding him scraps.