about a half hour before momma’s book-signing party, she taught david how to put on blush and lipstick. she used her walker to get to her dresser and, ever so carefully, let go of it so that she might lean into the dresser. with a free hand she carefully picked up her blusher and blush-brush and applied just a bit of to the apples of her cheeks, saying that “i was taught you have to smile when you put on blush. that way it is applied to the right part of your cheek.” she then carefully selected a lipstick and demonstrated step-by-step how to apply this lovely shade to her pink lips. david asked her questions; i love that about him. he engaged with momma at all moments, from the simplest to the most intensely profound. i carefully tucked this memory away, guessing i would draw on it in the future.
a few minutes before momma’s book-signing party for Shayne, she asked if we had the sharpies she needed. we did. she had been practicing her signature for the signing, carefully forming each letter, wanting to “be unique”. we watched as she practiced on paper with lines, on graph paper, on scrap paper, in a little blue notebook she kept in a basket in her assisted living facility apartment. she pointed out that she wanted to use a “big B, little e and little a, a big K and a y without a tail.” she carefully practiced signing this very special and very unique way to sign her name. i carefully tucked this memory away, guessing i would draw on it in the future.
the night before momma fell she sent me a text message. it was a screenshot of a saying she had seen: “every so often your loved ones will open the door from heaven, and visit you in a dream. just to say ‘hello’ and to remind you that they are still with you, just in a different way.” i responded with how beautiful that was and carefully screenshotted her message so that i might tuck that memory away, guessing that i would draw on it in the future.
that was the last text message i received from momma.
the future is now.
and i find myself swimming upstream. the loss of my sweet momma is huge. we have always been so connected. i keep drawing on my memory bank of moments, on all the sweet momma-isms i can remember, all the times spent together. i am trying to not let little things get in the way. today i find myself spending the day nursing an unexpected back injury (well, that’s silly…what back injury is expected??) perhaps we drove too many miles over the past weeks; perhaps stress and sadness have taken a bit of a toll on my resistance…i don’t know. i’m trying to weigh in on that and not bite the temptation to get consumed by things i shouldn’t get upset about. it all balances out in the end, yes? i mean, what really matters?
so the upstream swim is punctuated with these downstream currents that threaten to pull me into parts of the river i don’t want to go. and yet, it is all important…to feel all of it…not skip any of it. when heidi and i were performing regularly for cancer survivor events we had this piece about a lazy river woven into our performance. there are many places to get in and out of a lazy river at a waterpark; you can stop and get out and rest and then get back into it, in a new floating tube. the lazy river carries you along; you don’t have to do anything. no resistance needed. no work. there is an ease about it. it’s actually harder to get out than to continue on your merry way. but sometimes, you have to get out of the stream. you have to step out and look at it. you actually have to resist the currents. you have to work. it is not easy. you have to look at it all and take with you all the stuff that matters, discarding what doesn’t. you have to linger in the memories that you tucked away, so that you might celebrate and not be consumed by that which throws you off balance, that which doesn’t really matter. each of us is a riverstone, after all. sometimes, swimming upstream is necessary.
oh….and, by the way, if you want to know how to put on lipstick or blush, let david know. he can help you.