Remembering that day…

17 years ago…what a different world it was.  I managed to get in a call to my daughter, living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, as soon as I heard that a plane had hit the Twin Towers…her voice broke as she told me she was okay, that another had hit, that Eric had already left for the day and that she was determined to go to her doctors appointment… I told her to stay home, but she didn’t.  Her doctor never made it across the bridge that morning, but the doctor I worked for kept me busy, didn’t allow me to watch the TV in the waiting room, and let me close the door of my office and weep.

Whether you considered NYC a rat-infested garbage heap or the Emerald City, on That Day, we were all New Yorkers…  I wish it didn’t take Tragedy to bring our country together… but even then you could see the schism forming…When I got home and could talk to them, my mom and sister both decried Melissa’s presence in the city at all –“why is she even in that godless place?”

Melissa has lived in New York for nearly 19 years now, raising her children, pursuing her singing, and working her day-job well into the night.  I have made at least 40 or so round-trips, have walked Manhattan Island from stem to stern, have adopted the apartment up on 102nd as my home-away-from-home.  The people there are friendly, hugging and blowing those little air-kisses around both my ears when they greet me.  I wade into the fountains at Washington Square, or sit in Central Park and notice that children play just the same there as anywhere else.  I visit the museums, drink coffee at the diners, ride the bus or subway with a little help from my friends. I didn’t expect to love it so much, and still wish it was closer physically to the Acres…

That day, that day… I begged her to come home…  She refused…   I am so awed by her strength, by her conviction that The City was where she was supposed to be.  (I believe Eric would not have caught his cancer “in time” if he had been living in Eville) (I believe my grand-daughters are receiving a world-class education because she didn’t listen to my pleas)  When people ask me, and they inevitably do, how they “make it” there, I just shrug.  They make it on Faith…because God Is in that place, leading them along and making sure they always have enough.

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command…
 Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Right Now

Peace

 

 

15 years ago today…

My Mom passed over sometime in her sleep, between the hours of 9pm and 1:00, October 31-November 1.

I was the last person to speak to her, but I had No Idea it would be our last phone call.  She had enjoyed the trick-or-treaters that had kept her hopping all evening.  While we were talking, a few more came to the door and I heard her praising their costumes before she picked the phone back up to tell me how cute they were.  It was just a check-in phone call, for my mama expected to be called Every Day and fussed loudly if you went too long without calling or coming by.  She said nothing much was up, that she was feeling fine.  We closed that Last Conversation as we always did:  I Love you, Mom.  Love you, too, Sweet-Pea.

The following afternoon, I received a frantic phone call from my sister:  Mom is dead!  Mom is dead!

We drove the mile between my house and hers.  I ran past the ambulance and firetrucks, through the throng of EMT’s and Paramedics standing with their eyes averted to my panic, into Mom’s bedroom where she lay as if in sleep…curled on her side with her hands under her ear.

No, Mom!  No!  I screamed.  No!  I knelt by her bed and held her lifeless body and cried.

I cried for days…months…  I’m crying now…  I miss her Always…

My Dad had died 5 years earlier.  My birth family had been clearly divided for a decade before that.  When Mom died, that was the end.  My siblings and I were courteous and fair when dealing with the inheritance, but that was all she wrote for those relationships.  We walk very different paths.

I often wonder (as does anyone who has lost a loved one) what she would have thought about all the changes, especially how she would have Loved her Great-Grandchildren.  I wonder what she would have thought about the smartphones and facebook.  I Fear what she would have thought about Politics!

Last night we lit a bonfire and I burned some rosemary to remember both Mom and Dad.

They live in my heart and in my head, in my music and in my Home.  Hardly perfect, their example of what Not to Do was often my inspiration.

I wish they could have had more peace in their lives, more happiness.  So I take the Happy Memories.   I tell their Stories and Sing their Songs to my grandchildren.   Smiling, they live on…

Peace