I am so damn tired. In a given moment I have no energy, no motivation, no spark. In another I’m smiling and laughing and enthusiastic. But for this moment, I’m tired.
My mother died two weeks ago tomorrow. She had been ill for a long time and we didn’t know why. Her docs ran lots of tests and saw nothing. She lost almost third of her body weight and no one knew the reason. Then she fell going into her bank. An ambulance ride and CT scan later delivered a diagnosis of metasticized lung cancer in her spine, eating her vertabrea. No wonder she spent 6 months in pain. No wonder she fell.
No time for “what-if.” No patience for “what-the-hell-were-those-doctors-doing-all-that-time.” She opted for hospice and comfort care and was gone in less than 72 hours. She is at peace.
Among her last instructions were, “Don’t forget about Bruce.” My Dad died in 1995 and his cremated remains have been on her bedroom dresser all these years. She wanted him to be there, much to the dismay of my brother Ted, who longed for the ritual of a burial plot and a burial ceremony. My opinion was that she got to decide where Dad would spend the years until she went off to be with him. She needed him to be with her, and what she needed was the only thing that mattered.
My brother got Dad and took him and my Mum’s pup’s remains back to his house. A week ago, I drove to Maine and picked up my mother’s cremated remains. I brought her to my house and set her on the piano in the living room, flanked by two beautiful bouquets of flowers sent by sweet friends.
In time we’ll mingle the remains and take them to places special to my Mum and Dad – Cushing and Nobleboro, Maine; off the back of a Friendship Sloop into the ocean; perhaps a few more places; and then into a burial plot with a burial ceremony.
Good plans and in good time, all that will happen. But as long as I had her with me, it felt like there was something I needed to do with my Mum. She and I took a few “Mommy-and-Me” trips through the years and I wanted to take another but knew we couldn’t go by ourselves.
I called my brother and asked if I could come and get Dad.
This morning I took Mum and Dad (and the dog) for a ride. We went to 72 Warwick Road in Melrose, where Mum grew up, then past the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church on Franklin Street, where Mum and Dad were married on September 6, 1952.
We went to Spring Street in Greenwood/Wakefield, where Dad grew up. We went by 50 Hopkins Street in Wakefield, the home they built went I was a toddler. We drove by 42 Main Street (dad lived there as a young man) and then past their second home together at 190 Main Street, along Lake Quannapowitt.
We went to the Quannapowitt Yacht Club, where Dad had a Town Class sailboat (sail #91, red fiberglass hull, named “Redhead”) and Mom was a porch sitter. We went on to the former office of the Reading Chronicle, where Dad was the Editor and Mum a typesetter for many years.
The last stop was 60 Park Street in North Reading, their third home and the last place they lived together before Dad died.
I dropped rose petals at every stop along the way.
When I left my brother’s house to set out on the journey, I asked Ted if he wanted me to bring Mum along when I brought Dad back. He said, “No, they can have a sleepover at your house.”
They are together again. On the piano.