Friday, July 10, 2015

How to Live

The  2015 Listen to Your Mother videos were released today on YouTube.

I had a vague sense of when this day would come, but not a definite date.

I had a vague sense as to how I would "show" the video to my Mom. Her and my Dad were unable to come up to see me perform this time around.

Maybe I'd post the video on my Dad's Facebook wall with a message "Show to Ma" and then call them the next day.

Maybe I'd try to coordinate a "viewing".  Calling down there, not having the call answered, and playing phone tag for a bit before finally getting a hold of one of them.  My Dad would get his IPad and try to play the video for my Mom as she laid on the couch.  I'd be on the phone with one of them as this was happening - who though?  Probably my Dad.  And he'd say something like "shit" at certain points.  Not like a we are in trouble kind of "shit", more like that just happened.  I don't know, does that make sense?  There would likely be technical difficulty while viewing it as well.

The Facebook updates that I was posting about my Mom's progress were sanitized.  There would be no death march down to see her.  There would be no grieving the living, if I could help prevent that. I do not regret any of it.

My Mom though, she's crafty.  From her vast medical knowledge and being able to, with pin point accuracy I've been told, describe what she was feeling, where and to what degree, to being able to persuade her oncologist not to let on to any of us just how bad it really was.

And, it was bad.

And, I know why.  I can say that now.  She didn't want us grieving her for living.  She didn't want us marching to a date, that may or may not have come.

She wanted to go to Disney and spend time with her family.  She wanted to see her grandchildren and have her entire family together.  And, she got that.

We found out after the fact just how much pain she was in.  We found out after the fact a whole lot of things.  She was one tough broad.

But, I tried listening for those tells.  Those little slips when I was speaking with her for an insight to what was really going on.  There was a gut feeling that this was not all it.  But, man, she was good.

My Mom may not have been able to view this performance.  But she knew.

It would have been really cool to have been able to sit down with her and watch this video.  The fact that it never got to happen does not change anything.

She knew

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Keeper of Heads

I am the family archiver

The storyteller

The librarian

The visual preserver

I have photos that span back three generations.  Which isn't half bad considering my parents are from Europe and ... World War II.

I have handwritten entries of marriages and births and deaths.

I have verbal stories cemented into my mind from constant re-tellings.

I am also, the keeper of heads

I distinctly remember the gold bracelet that my Oma wore with gold charm heads that were engraved with all of her grandchildren names and birth dates.  I saw this bracelet first hand in 1988 when my younger brother and I went to Europe with our mom.

In Germany, I stayed in the same apartment my mom grew up in.  Nine people in a two bedroom, three story walk up that I swear to you is half the size of the first floor of my current home.  I saw the school that my mom went to, right down the street from the apartment and the garden plot that my Oma had to grow vegetables.

In Hungary (which was still under communist rule), I walked the still bombed out street of the town my Oma lived in prior to being forced out of, post World War II, because her family spoke primarily German in their home.  I visited the family vineyard and the "gold" church in town.  The vast contrast of the inside of the church, all gleaming and gold, and the buildings that surrounded it with bullet holes and missing walls was bizarre to me then, and still to this day.  

In 2012 I received my Oma's bracelet following her death.  I was wearing a bracelet similar to hers with silver profile heads with the names and birth dates of my boys on them.

Last Thursday I received my mom's bracelet following her death.

The pride that is in that bracelet is palatable.