Almost exactly a year ago, I sat at the foot of your couch massaging your feet. You always told me I had a very special way of massaging the perfect pressure points that no one else could seem to match. I assumed you were Mami-how-do-you-make-pancakes-ing me, but I was happy to play along. Your feet were so small in comparison to mine.
We sat on the couch and watched “Mamma Mia.” Dancing and singing through the songs and then we cried as they prepped for the wedding, as we slowly slumped closer and closer together. It occurred to me, as the credits rolled, that “Thank You for the Music” was the perfect song to sing to you for your birthday. Your big 60th. Your only wish from me was that I sing to you at your party.
I hadn’t seen you so happy in such a long time, and maybe that was where I was thrown off… you were so happy planning your party, I didn’t see the pain you were in. You wanted such a big celebration. “I want everyone to be there to celebrate that I’m alive!” you told me with the widest, glittering eyes. My heart still warms and then breaks when I remember the look on your face when we talked about it.
If our life were a musical I would have broken into my epilogue right after that moment. The audience would have seen our plight over those preceding 6 months, and though left hanging about our outcome, they would have visions of that potential celebration in their minds. A remission.
But you taught me that life doesn’t always go my way. It shouldn’t. Somehow those words coming from you were always so comforting. Words that now hollow in my mind and make me feel cold.
Life is a never ending story with plot twists and villains, but hopefully along the way, you find your heroines and true love. But the happily ever after comes not from Prince Charming’s kiss, but from picking yourself up and carrying on when you thought you couldn’t on your own.
Sitting in my own room a year later, wishing I were in your company, I can’t help but worry about how I will spend your birthday. I know you’d be angry at me if there wasn’t some sort of celebration. A commemoration of how amazing of a Mom you were. That your impact is so imbedded in my life that every single day I discover something new I had no idea I learned from you.
I think I’ll be watching “Mamma Mia” and reminding myself of all the ways I carry you with me.