|Daddy, me as an infant, and Mama|
It really felt like a visitation, and I still to this moment feel like I had dropped by to spend some time with them. Even though I know in my head that it was an event manufactured from my brain, my heart just doesn't care. It was as real to me as this laptop. My son Chris sometimes appears to me in my dreams, too, always as a teenager, but he hasn't visited me lately, and I miss him.
Time softens my memories of my loved ones who have gone ahead; it's been twenty years since Mama died, and thirty-some years since Daddy left. I am older right now than either of them, since Daddy was 62 and Mama was 69 when they died. I remember talking with her on the phone about her seventieth birthday, which was coming up. (She died in March and would have been 70 in July.) She didn't want to think about it. She had suffered so many heart attacks but was stable and seemed to bounce back from each one. After the final one, she didn't. She knew she was dying and all her children came to see her. She didn't even look sick, but she was confined to bed and sat propped up with pillows, much like a queen holding court, while we listened to her pronouncements about which of her possessions would go to each.
She fell into a coma and we all thought it was the end. My sister Markee is an RN, and she and my sister Fia stayed with her as the rest of us returned to our lives. Then I got a call at work that she woke up from the coma and asked for a milk shake! I got on the phone and spoke with her, and she said that God had told her she could return for a short while to say goodbye to us, but when she closed her eyes, she would be gone for good. That night she fell back into a coma. Smart Guy and I got in our car and drove without haste to Texas, a journey of a little more than a day, thinking she would be gone before we arrived. But she wasn't. She had waited for me, and that night I gave my sisters a break from caring for her and slept in her room. Around midnight, I woke to give her a shot of morphine, and I noticed that her breathing had changed. I took her pulse and could barely find it. I called everyone into the room, and we were all with her as she took her last peaceful breath. We surrounded her head with the flowers that filled the room, and we stayed with her as the coroner was summoned to take her body away.
And now I remember those moments, which happened and still live in my memory, but that recent dream, those memories, feel just as real as the others. Nobody knows for sure what happens to us, if anything, after we die, but does it really matter? When I move to a new place, the location I left becomes a memory, subject to revision as time passes. The immediacy of my life makes the old place become distant. It's no different for any of us, and I hope that if there is an afterlife, I will be able to take some memories along with me. Who knows? Maybe Mama and Daddy really ARE together, laughing and carrying on with each other. It's a comforting thought.
On another note altogether, I am going to be traveling to southern California on Friday for a five-day stay. I'll be writing my next post on Sunday morning from a hotel room with a roommate I've never met, another skydiver. There is a gathering of SOS members (Skydivers Over Sixty) who will be trying to set a record for the largest formation ever attempted by SOS. I let myself get pulled into it, because they are looking for women who qualify to attempt to make a formation of just SOS women, and there aren't many of us! I'll be posting on my other blog about the daily trials and tribulations of me making four jumps a day for three days! And then I'll come home tired and (hopefully) a record holder.
My sister PJ is doing well in a rehab facility, in good spirits and learning how to cope with her weakened heart. Apparently she will be going on disability and probably getting around on a scooter, which means her home will need to be modified before she can return there. Today she will get to spend some time with her two dogs, as her husband is allowed to bring them to the courtyard where she is staying. I know she is looking forward to that.
So, all in all, life is good here in my part of the world, and I am also in good spirits and looking forward to the adventure of traveling south to join my skydiving sisterhood. If all goes as planned, nine of us will make a successful formation. Until next week, stay well and enjoy yourselves!