Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two Years and One Day

Two years and one day ago, Mike and I had a lot of firsts.  I made Mike watch Zoolander for the first time.  I feel asleep at Fenway for the first, and hopefully last, time.  Two years and one day ago, I had to go to sleep for the first time without a mom. 
We knew that was the day she was going to pass away.  Three days earlier, I had my last coherent conversation with her.  I offered to postpone Liam's blessing.  Mom insisted it go as planned, promising to "try my best to hold on."  Saturday night, I was able to tell her it went well before she spaced out.  The day before, she entered hospice.  Mom told me it was a beautiful place but was a bit upset that they expected her to die soon.  Other times, she would tell me she was ready.  She was tired. 
The next day, Kristy boarded a plane to Florida.  Mike and I were staying behind.  We had gone to see mom to say goodbye earlier.  We had tickets to see the Sox play the Phillies.  Mike's folks offered to stay here and watch Liam.  We headed up to Boston, wondering if the fateful call would come while we were at America's most beloved ballpark.  Something about Fenway lulled me to sleep around the fifth inning.  Maybe it was the warm sun.  Maybe it was being in a place that held so many warm memories for me.  Maybe it was just the white noise of the crowd's murmur.  Maybe it was pure exhaustion.  Whatever it was, it made me sleep for two innings. 
I knew the call would be coming and checked my phone often to see if I missed a vibration.  We made it home, said goodbye to Mike and Bee, and set forth to waiting.  Kristy arrived at the hospice center about 7:30  She sent me a text at 8 saying mom hadn't woken up since she got there and the nurse said she is declining.  We went back and forth while Zoolander served as a background buffer.  I needed something silly to fill my mind.  At 8:25, the phone rang.  "She's gone," was all Kristy could say.  Kristy took care of Dad.  I made the calls and arrangements. 

It is hard to believe two years have passed.  Liam was the reason she held on as long as she did.  "I just want to see that baby," she told everyone who would listen.  The first year contained mixed blessings.  Every first holiday or birthday without mom was the first holiday or birthday with Liam.  There was sweetness with sorrow.  Now, reality sets in.  My mom is gone.  The woman who used to ask me to put her on speaker so she could listen to her three month old grandson noisily suck down bottles never got to hear his actual voice.  She never saw him take a step.  She never received one of his trademark sloppy kisses.  She never saw him dance to Adele or Beyonce nor was she sucked into singing "I Love You" seven times in a row.  I couldn't call her when he had a temperature of 105 and I was petrified or when he sang his ABCs for the first time.  I couldn't ask her about my milestones so I could compare myself to my son. 
There are signs that she is with me.  They tend to come when I expect them the least and need them the most.  When Liam had a horrible ear infection last year, hadn't slept more than three hours straight, and had thrown up on every piece of linen we owned, she came to me in a dream as Liam slept on my chest under three of his baby blankets.  She just held me, which is really all you need of your mom sometimes.  As I watched Liam's aw of seeing fireworks for the first time, I wished I knew my mom was with us.  On the way home, a shooting star flew across the bright sky of Providence. 
I haven't watched Zoolander since the day my passed.  I walked away from it to make calls letting people know about Mom's passing.   Yesterday at school, a few of the male tteachers randomly started throwing out Zoolander quotes.  Maybe I am overthinking this one, but it just seemed like too much of a coincidence.