There has to come a time in your life when you make peace with something
that you will never be able to explain nor understand. When you feel
the broken pieces inside you come together. Not in the same
form as before it was broken. But a new form.
A new piece to your soul that you carry on with.
I have had a memory montage playing in my head today. Off and on at random times. Stills flashing one right after another. All starring my mom. Some of the images have a sepia color to them, an aged appearance. Memories from long ago. Some are newer, fresher. Some of them have accompanying audio. Flashes of conversations had, music and laughter. I focus today on that, the laughter. The silliness. The jokes. The happy.
There are 2 particularly prominent montages. In both of them she has the same expression on her face. A twinkle in her eye and the appearance of completeness.
I am sitting on the front porch of our house. It sometime in the late nineties. The sun is shinning and there are big poofy white clouds in the sky. The colors of the surrounding trees a rich green. The lawn lush and full. I hear the deep guttural sound of a motorcycle off in the distance. As the sound gets louder I look down the street. Motorcycles were not really common in our neighborhood. I look at this bike as it comes closer and I am stunned. It is my mother. On a motorcycle! By herself. I find myself rooted to the ground as I stare in wonder. Not so much at the fact of her riding the bike. But simply the expression on her face. Gone were the worry lines. Gone was the sadness. Her eyes lost that haunted look and were shinning. She was smiling- really smiling. For the first time in my memory she looked free. The pride she had in that moment. The strength and the happy, will forever been burned into my memory. She had found something in life finally that have given it to her. The freedom she had longed for. She rode that bike like she had been doing it for years. Each time with that same expression. When she rode, her mind cleared. It was her, the bike and the open road. It settled her. It made her happy. For a brief moment in time she held on to that.
The second memory comes a few years later. The time with the bike had abruptly come to an end. She no longer wanted it. She suddenly decided to sell it. The period that followed was a long one for her. Back was the haunted look, the smile that never really reached her eyes. Until one day she decided to buy a new car. She was spontaneous at times. Suddenly getting an idea in her head and jumping on it. I will never forget this day either. She went off and traded in her SUV. She came home that day with a brand new, fuchsia Mustang convertible. She had that same expression on her face. Looking back now I understand it more. Both the motorcycle and the convertible gave her the one thing in life she needed most. Freedom. Wind in your hair, speeding down the road with no destination in sight and no where to be. She would turn the music up loud, turn her mind down and just drive. Her face would clear, worry lines fade and she would smile. Really smile. Though it never lasted. For a brief moment in time she was happy.
Today I do not want to focus on the fact that she is gone. I don't want to feel the sadness, nor the anger. I do not want to focus on anything but the good. The singing made up lyrics to songs as we drove around in that convertible. Banging on closed doors as we went by to illicit a scream of surprise followed by uncontrollable laughter. How she called me kid even when I was well beyond. How she found peace on her riding lawn mower of all places. How she was to strangers she met and the random acts of kindness she would do. How when she was working at the Maine Gift store we had for years, she would hide little trinkets in a customers bag that was having a hard day. Today I want to remember her with that look she had on her face the day she came home on her motorcycle. Happy. Content. Free. So alive. I want to remember the laughter. For today I want to lock away the memories of her illness. I want the memory montages to be of happy times. I want to feel the warmth of those times.
Had my mom made the decision to live, she would be 58 today. Though impossible to send her birthday wishes. I still find myself sitting on my deck, faced turned to the sun and sending her wishes of peace. Of freedom. I wish with everything I have that she is now content. Though no longer of this world, she will always be of us. In our memories. In our lives and in our hearts. For today, this is what I hold on to. Maybe as a birthday gift to her, it is what I will hold on to forevermore.
There has to come a time in your life when you make peace with something that you will never be able to explain nor understand. When you feel the broken pieces inside you come together. Not in the same form as before it was broken. But a new form. A new piece to your soul you carry on with. Maybe today that is what I give her for her birthday. I scatter all the broken pieces around. Pick and chose the ones that mean the most. Create a new piece that fits into the hole she left. Choosing pieces of memories that show her at her best. Put the pieces together and make sense out of something that on its own never will.
This will be my birthday present to her. A patchwork of memories that lives inside my soul. That will always be a part of me. Filing that hole she left with love, humor and a part of her soul. It feels peaceful to me when I look up at the sky now. The sun shines alittle brighter.
I make a silent birthday wish to her, a secret whisper.
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