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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Before You Don't Have a Mother's Day

Her death came unexpectedly.

I joked with Kor about the boys bringing a snake to school and then she entered her office where she, no doubt, got the call.

Her mom had died.

I cannot imagine the grief that over took her.  I was there in a hotel room when my mom received the call that her dad had died unexpectedly.  That wail is forever etched in my dark memory of that moment.

I've met Kor's mom a few times.  She had a sparkle in her eye.  Do you know what I mean by that?  You know that person you meet and you just instantly are drawn to and find adorable?  That was Kor's mom.  Of course, I may have been prejudice since I had heard her talk about her mom often over the years.

My husband knew, without me even putting it into words, that the death hit me hard.

My mom was gone taking care of her mom.  For six weeks she had been states away.  When I heard the news that Kor's mom had passed, I drove out to my parents.  I looked at the kitchen table littered with over a months worth of mail.  I looked at my dad's single dish service that he had been rewashing and reusing every day since she had gone.  The fridge had no iced tea, the table had no fresh flowers.  I looked at the unmade bed my dad slept in alone.

I stood there and cried.

The same week, a friend called me from out of the blue, carefully scheduling her call to make sure my boys would be tucked into bed.

You know those phone calls that come late at night and you answer with dread because you know it can't possible be good news?  That.  And it wasn't good news.  And as she cried telling me not what she feared for the future but what this might do to her precious children, I found myself without words.

What words do you say when a friend faces death?

There are none.

I sat alone in the ancient church at Kor's mom's funeral.  Being a friend of the family, we were tucked off to the side.  The church was packed, which should not have shocked me after visiting the busy funeral home the day before with my family.

I never caught sight of Kor, but I had a direct view of her friend, Katie.  Katie was seated in the friend section of the church with me.  A pastor who did not know the family well officiated the funeral and when he asked for people to stand and say something about the woman they had loved, no one passed a microphone to the slight framed woman barely holding it together in the front row.  The woman I knew because of Kor, who had grown up with Kor's mom and had a million stories and whose heart was breaking more than some others there.  Tucked away in the friend section sat a woman who loved Kor and her mother ever so much and hardly a soul was even aware of her existence.

My mom's best friend I call "my other mother".  I have not kept in touch with her over the years, my mom does, of course, and now that I am grown I cannot bring myself to call her by her first name.  She is, forever, "my other mother".

But Katie, she was close to Kor's mom.  She may well have had a special name for her.

After the funeral, I found Katie.  It was her I hugged.  It was her I cried with.  It was me who asked her to take care of Kor today.  It was her who asked me to take care of Kor in upcoming weeks.

Because there are friends who are more than friends.  There are friends who are dearer and more precious than family.

I put on my dark black sunglasses and walked from the church.  Two hours prior I had stood in the store and picked out a mother's day card for my mom.  I am not sure why that sprung to my head as I quickly walked away from the church, glasses hiding my tears.

Kor will never buy another Mother's Day card.

I went about the rest of the day with a smile on my face as I ran my errands, made dinner and did the odds and ends that I do in a day.

But alone in my house, fixing dinner, the lump in my throat would not go away.  I looked at the clock and realized Kor's mom's body was now in the ground.

This song came to mind.  Her family talked much about the "dash".  That line between the day their mother was born and the day their mother died.  That 'dash' that was her life.





She left behind her husband of 57 years.

57. Years.

Anyone who knows me at all knows I am head over heels in love with my husband.  Sounds cliche "I love him more everyday" but I do.  And we do love each other more and more because we work at this marriage.

I love my boys to a million zillion pieces as well.  But this weekend had me wanting to find a quiet place far far far away from them.  They were on my last nerve by seven in the morning.  S1, finding a moment alone with his Daddy, said, "I think Mama has had a rough weekend."

He was so right.

As a mom, that happens.  I can't excuse it but I can admit it.  I wanted a break from all of them.

Listening to Kor's mom's service as they described the woman who was creative and loved and shared her smile and gifts with all those around her, I could have been convinced that they were speaking of Kor herself.  She will carry her mother's legacy on well.  But her mom had a knack to be "in the moment" so well.  Kor does this too, I have always admired this about her.

Treasure the moments because they will be gone so soon.

Someday my mom will die.  But when Mother's Day comes around this year, she will be home and I will be ever so grateful to be sitting on the back porch with her sipping iced tea.

Someday my husband will be ancient gray and I hope I am there to care for him and he for me.

Someday my boys will grow up and leave home.  I will miss the sounds of their nerf gun wars and running, their laughing and probably their petty fighting that drives me so insane now.

We all tough days with our spouse.  We have tear filled tough days with our kids.  But that's life, and life is finding the beauty in the mess.

Life is a blink.  Motherhood is a blink.

Don't waste it.

I am writing this in the moment of the emotion.  I'll wait to publish it near Mother's Day.  Maybe I'll reread it and recheck it for my mistakes.  But probably I won't.  
I didn't want to post it before my mom made it back, keeping all this quiet as to not worry my mom while she was gone.




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