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Mother's Day

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I had not given Mother’s Day  much thought or preparation for  the emotions that could have possibly risen up inside of me.  My mom was in town, we would all go to church together, then meet up with two of my siblings and their families at the Country Club for a big lunch, which is what we usually do.  I woke up feeling like it was any other Sunday, we were 10 minutes late for the 8:00 service, like any other Sunday, and we all sat together in church, like any other Sunday.  We all got ready and left without any fanfare.  We met everyone else for lunch at 11:00 and that is when the grief came tumbling down like an avalanche.

I walked into the lobby and was greeted by some women with their daughters, who I had coached years ago.  There were hugs and condolences and some small chit chat, then I walked into the main dining room.  I knew where our table was and everyone in my  party was already going through the buffet line, so I went straight to get my food.  I don’t know why I had not planned ahead on this one.  I had been here countless times over the last 24 years.  How could I have not seen this coming?  I got my salad, passed it on to a waiter, then the memories came crashing in and began to pierce my heart.  Here I was, standing in the very room where we celebrated our marriage.  Our wedding reception was in this room.  I was standing where Michael  and I had our first dance.  Right behind me was where the R&B band had played and Michael sang “When Something is Wrong with my baby, Something is Wrong with me”, while holding my hand.  The same place where he sang James Brown’s, “I Feel Good”, and every person on the wait staff came out and lined the walls to hear this white man sing like no one’s business, while everyone danced away.  Some of the wait staff had been working there all these years.  Had that waiter watched us celebrate that wonderful day?  Suddenly, the food no longer looked appealing to me.  There was a lead weight sitting in the pit of my stomach. 

I felt numb and unaware of my footsteps as I made my way to our table.  It was like a heavy blanket had been thrown over me.  I sat down and wanted to crawl into a hole and cry my eyes out, but at the same time, I really did not want to cry there.  I did not feel like I was in a safe place.  There were hundreds of people there and at least half of them knew me or Michael.  The big lump in the deep part of throat reappeared.  Everyone was talking and I felt like an outsider in another world.  The tears were just on the edge, ready to fill my eyes at any second.  I tried to think about something else but I could not push it away.  Right behind me was where we served the virgin strawberry daiquiris and champagne.  Over there was the table with the miniature muffalettas from New Orleans.  Two tables over was where we cut the wedding cake and next to that was the grooms cake….Italian cream cake with little Italian flags stuck all over in it.  I struggled to talk to the family sitting at the table with me.  I did not want to talk at all.  I just wanted to go home. I decided it was best not to make eye contact with anyone.  Looking in people’s eyes would bring the tears.  As people would walk by our table, I would try to act like I did not see them.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.  I picked at my salad and could not touch my lunch.  The lump in my throat did not need food passing through. 

I missed him so much while I was sitting there.  I wanted to hold his hand and hear him sing to me again.  I wanted to dance with him again.  I wanted him to hold me and tell me everything is going to be okay.  I wanted to see him gaze into my eyes with that loving look that he always gave me. 

I was so relieved when it was finally time to leave.  As we walked out, I kept my eyes focused on the floor in front of me so that I would not have to greet anyone. As we got outside, my brother, who lives in South Africa, called on my sister’s cell phone to wish us a happy Mother’s Day.  We tried to chat about a few things and then he said he just wanted to tell me happy Mother’s Day.   I could hear the concern and love in his voice and I just wanted to cry on the phone with him but chose to get off of the phone as quickly as possible.  I spent the rest of the afternoon resting and in deep thoughts of Michael.  I thought about all of the poems and songs that he had written me for Mother’s Day, how he would have brought me a special hot drink while I was getting ready for church and say, “So, how is my amazing little Mama?”  , or put his arm around me at church and look at me with a smile and pride in his eyes.  He made me feel special, every day of the year, but especially on Mother’s Day and my birthday.   On Mother's Day, I was the queen and he made me feel like it all day long. He knew how to celebrate me and celebrate life. 


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