Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Damn spoons

The walls started coming down in the dining room today, which meant that the furniture had to be moved/removed and the few things on the walls needed to to be taken out. One of the things that had been hanging up in there, for what seems like forever, is a collection of a dozen little demitasse spoons that Mom had. I assume that she got them from her mom. Now Sara thinks that they are hers. And to be honest, I don't mind her playing with them. They're just her size.

So, Sara found the spoons in the kitchen tonight, and she stood there happily stacking them and rattling them for a few minutes until I told her to put them away (three or four times, but who's counting) so we could go have dinner.

Two hours later I was in a heap.

I am really missing Mom tonight. I mean, a LOT. It took me a bit by surprise, at least the intensity of it, but once I thought it through it really made perfect sense: As I was rocking Sara tonight I started thinking about those spoons, and how I'd like to do something with them but I'm not quite sure what -- maybe pair them up with this awesome, vintage-look picture that Elaine took of Sara playing with an old tea set. Then I started thinking about pictures that I have and where I'd like to put things when the house is built; how I have a definite favorite of Dad that I'll use, but how I needed to think about one of Mom... and then I remembered one of her and I that Dad took out in the yard. I was probably six or seven, at an age where my mind has sort of frozen my family: Mom & Dad in their forties, CJ & Nanci in their twenties.

But the memory of the picture led to others, good times and laughing and Mom as I will always remember her: trying in vain to teach me to hit a softball; learning how to identify her beloved birds on the feeders outside the kitchen windows; lying on the sofa with my head on her lap while she stroked my hair; sitting at the table and laughing about who-knows-what until we were crying.

I remember her beautiful, crooked smile SO well.

And the more I remembered the more the tears came, and I sat there rocking Sara hoping I wouldn't wake her up. "Mama, are you sad?" I don't think I could have taken it.

I have become pretty adept at postponing whatever this thing is that they call "grief." Sure, I have waves from time to time, just like tonight. Frankly I just don't want to deal with it. I don't want the exhaustion or the anger or the disappointment or the wallowing that I know will come with it. I lived with all of that for over three years; I've had my fill.

But I guess there's no escaping it. If I'm honest with myself, the loss is never far from the surface. It resonates every time I have hard conversations with families at work, so much so that there are times I'm afraid I won't be able to get through it. Rob brought a nightstand down from the attic the other day, and I couldn't even touch it. It had been sitting there, right by the side of their bed -- right next to where I sleep now -- through both of my parents' illnesses, full of pills and dressings and lotions. I couldn't even really tell him to take it away, but he knew.

I don't know what to do with these things. I don't like being so out of control and I don't understand why it can sometimes still feel so raw, and the thought of deliberately opening up this box of pain and wading through it? No thank you. But ignoring it hasn't, thus far, made it go away. And so here I sit, in a heap on a Tuesday night for no particularly good reason.

Damn spoons.

Oh, Mom. I miss you so. You would love Sara -- she's cut from your cloth, full of spunk and funny and beautiful and so loving. She would love you, too. Peas in a pod, the two of you.

I really, really wish you were here and that I didn't have to miss you and that Sara could have known you. Really, so much.


Anonymous said...

***loves you***

never thought of it before, but of course, we've got the spoons too...

sisters, you and I. i really think it may be true.


Richard Harrison said...


Anonymous said...


I've been there, you know - you only think you can't deal with it - it deals with itself. It truly does. (By the way, no one knew it, but most of my sophomore year was a series of waking up in the middle of the night in my dorm room (thank goodness I had a private room that year) - sopping wet, pillow soaked. Didn't even know I'd been crying.) My sister's been gone for 18+ years...my niece was 20 last month....I still miss her!


moosh in indy. said...

I'm sure it's probably blasphemy but I had a ring made out of one of my granny's spoons. Just had the end of the handle twisted and sanded to my size.

Amanda said...

I'm crying with you. I've caught a few of those waves myself. Funny how they sneak up on you. Maybe that's why I don't like being on a beach in the dark...

miss you!