We're in Florida now, and the rain is pouring down. Thunder is shaking the house, and I was laying on my bed reading and thinking of how much my mother loved thunderstorms. At the home, Mom's nurse would turn down the lights in her room when it thunderstormed so she could sense the lightning flashes and drama of it all, even if she couldn't turn her head to look out the window and see the magnificence herself.
I'm in America for the first time since my mother died, and I realize I don't have to go to the Memphis airport ever again, or walk down the halls of her home, or get an order of pancakes to take to the home for her breakfast treat anymore. I began to surreptitiously cry when all these facts came home to me this morning, and my family never even noticed.
I went to Florida once with my grandparents and Mom, and now I'm the only one who is still alive from that trip, so when I die, the trip and those memories will have never happened.
My friend Madeline Cotter gave me a fascinating book for my birthday called Parallel Lives: The Victorian Marriage by Phyllis Rose. In the section about Thomas Carlyle and his wife, there's a quote that sums up the way I'm feeling about my mother these days. If only I could have her back for five minutes just to tell her a few things I forgot....
Carlyle said of his wife after she died:
Ah me! she never knew fully, nor could I show her in my heavy-laden miserable life, how much I had at all times regarded, loved and admired her. No telling of her now. "Five minutes more of your dear company in this world. Oh that I had you yet for but five minutes, to tell you all!"