Monday, May 21, 2012

Catching Up With May 20th

So let me first apologize for my absence the past week. I know how all both of you pine away and wait for my every stinking thought so I’m sorry I wasn’t here when and if you clicked on by for a visit. I think I’ve been in a wee bit of a funk, a lot of it having to do with this past anniversary week and for some reason allowing myself to miss my mother, or letting myself be sad about it is probably closer to the truth. Wallowing is probably even closer. Mix that with Call-o being gone a whole hell of a lot and it amounts to me being really fucking lonely. Gee, can’t imagine why I didn’t rush here to bore the shit out of you cats with all that fun reading. Ugh.

I woke yesterday morning trying my best to simply ignore the date. That lasted all of seven minutes and while hovered over my first cup of milk and sugar infused coffee was when the first flash of, “Sam, something’s wrong. The ambulance is here and they are taking her to the hospital but honestly, it doesn’t look good” remembering standing there halfway into my beloved jammies, about to slip into bed, unable to make sense of the words coming through the receiver. May 20th, the day my mother died. A day that I never forget but have not really spent that much time thinking or talking about…and don’t worry, not about to now. Not really anyway.

I sat with my hands cupped around my coffee mug, working a fierce mane of bed-head, feeling…well feeling too damn much. Fired up the laptop, popped on to Facebook and opened my living room window just in time to hear…laughter. The high-pitched giggle and hard belly laugh of my wee boyfriend floating across the ever soggy patch of grass that separates our two apartments, and falling right into my open and exposed heart. Alone at my kitchen table, the only sound in my apartment coming from the ceiling fan as it whispered and rocked gently above my head, so early on a Sunday morning that the entire quad area of my complex was still shut up tight and silent, except for Tyler. That laugh so pure and honest, so in the moment that it felt like an icepack on my sore muscle, soothed me and before I knew it, I was wearing a grin from ear to ear…on May 20th.

Once fortified with just enough coffee I remembered why Ty was up and bubbling with enthusiasm, the memory of my somewhat buzzy night before and having a conversation with his Dad. “So Sam, Tyler is having his birthday party tomorrow morning and I know he would love it if you came” the words so sweet they made my heart swell and my pink cheeks, (both from booze and from blushing) raise in that way that makes my eyes squint….something like a smile but seeing as I tend to think of a smile as something lovely, and mine is anything but, we’ll just call it my “Sam Awkward Happy Face” and I found myself agreeing to not only go to a six year old’s birthday party, early on a Sunday morning, I was going to step foot in a place I hadn’t been in for at least sixteen years. A place that had this young mother, (shut up, I was once) looking down at the face of her most beloved son, seeing his sweaty head and goofy grin and saying, “Jeremy, Mommy can’t bring you here anymore” after my third visit. I was going to Chuck E. Cheese. Mother F’er. 

A little stunned by the remembrance and a touch irked when my husband finally emerged from the bed he has only been in like four times this month, seeing that big ass grin of his and shoulders shake with giggles…he clearly remembered where we were headed that morning and found it funny as hell. My glare ineffective I resorted to, “Har-har. When you leaving again” wicked sharp in the mornings, that’s me, I went back to my coffee, craning my neck to pick up the sound of an adorable six year old on the morning of his Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, and returned to my ever ready laptop.

Had a long letter from Jeremy updating me on what was happening there in Louisville and his plans to move to Virginia with friends in a couple weeks. Let myself swim around in the pride and excitement I have for him and this next big adventure. Imagined what that must feel like, to be at the beginning of your life and having the freedom, and courage, to make a move like that. Felt once again in awe of that young man and my cheeks were scrunching my eyes, more “Awkward Sam Face”. Popped over to Facebook to find a picture of my sister, the one that had just turned 18 twelve years ago when I got that call on May 20th, and was the one that stopped me in the parking lot of the hospital in Apple Valley, crying, telling me, “Mom didn’t make it” there she was, now 30, with her Master’s Degree, posting her first picture from the month long vacation she and her adorable husband are on, pictures from London. Yeah, there was more face scrunching. 

“You don’t need me anymore!!” my mother hurling her pain at me through the phone line. Bemoaning the fact that I had my life, my career, my Call-o (we weren’t married then) and Jeremy and I didn’t need her anymore. I was angry, really fucking angry as the words slammed into my eardrums. The rage creeping up my neck and that ball of “Why can’t you just be happy for me?” banging around in the pit of my stomach as my mother wailed and seethed. I was sitting on the edge of my bed, in my apartment, anger causing my eyes to water, my hands shaking as I tried remember that I was a grown woman, with a family of my own and a life that I was very happy in. “You’re right Mom. I don’t need you anymore” her voice now just somewhat muffled sobs, “I don’t need you, but I want you in my life. Doesn’t that mean something? Doesn’t that actually mean even more?” that was the last time I spoke to her. I’ve often thought about that call, tried to piece more of it together but nothing really comes. I know I had to have told her I loved her, know she would have said it in return, we always said I love you when we ended a call and I know that even that one, a fighting, angry, lonely, sad one, we would have ended it with I love you.

I’ve talked a lot about forgiving my mother lately, and I truly believe that I have. One thing I’ve always said about my mother’s passing is that I felt horribly guilty that the last time we spoke she was hurt, we were fighting and that I wish I hadn’t picked up the phone that night when I saw it was her calling….think it is now time for me to forgive myself. The last conversation we had I was just doing just as she would have wanted me to, standing my ground, being a woman and defending my family. My sister in London, Tyler’s birthday party, Jeremy’s long letter, new memories for May 20th, time to let the old one rest. It ended with, “I love you”…

So that’s where I’ve been, sorting things out, clearing my old sheds as it were. I’ve also been tasting a bunch of wine, so maybe, just maybe I’ll write a freaking post about wine on my damn wine blog one of these days. One can only hope right?


Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Wine has almost no meaning when measured against your heartfelt and honest confessions.

I think most of us spend a lot of time attempting to forgive ourselves for imagined evils we've committed in the past. Your mother's death was tragically poor timing, but I suspect it would have been no matter what your conversation had been about. Pain has insidious ways of expressing itself, and guilt is one of the worst ones. Twelve years is a good time to forgive yourself--your mother probably did it in twelve minutes.

Thank you for this searing and moving essay, My Love. In an online world filled with pretension and self-aggrandizement, your voice has the refreshing and beautiful sound of Truth. I'm proud to be your Internet husband.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
Thank you. I know everyone must be so tired of hearing this shit but, as you know, I need to write...have to to retain my sanity and joy, sometimes emotion, pain, guilt and all the ugly stuff we try to ignore and refrain from talking about, well they can get in the way. I find a freedom here Love and I cannot thank you enough for not only indulging me but loving me for it. I love you so...

webb said...

Ron is absolutely right, but he missed one thing... girls and their mothers all - ALL - have rocky relationships. I don't pretend to understand, but we get on each other's last nerve, we push all the buttons, we compete, as well as loving and holding onto a very special connection.

I didn't like my mother in her last years, but I loved her a lot. They are not the same, and unfortunately too many of us share that feeling. Perhaps you do, too.

Forgive yourself. She probably moved along the very next day to "it's just Sam being Sam" and didn't think any more of it. Only you felt guilty and have carried it with you far too long.


Samantha Dugan said...

What I intend to do. Carried far too many of my mother's baggage, for far too many years. Time for me to let it go....let her go and free up space to let the good stuff in, not the least of which is letting myself write. Thanks lady.

Sara Louise said...

You know what I got from this post?
Freaking awesome! How was the party? When I was in high school, my friend Joey was the Chuck.E. Cheese mouse for work, craziest job ever!

Samantha Dugan said...

It was....exactly as I remembered.