Just Another Day

I had a dream last night my mom wasn’t actually dead. We had the funeral mass and the interment and then it turned out she was still alive. We chatted casually about how she was very nearly cremated. My mom commented on how easy it is to conform to societal and communal expectations, how she just about entered the furnace with an Our Father and blind faith.

But then she remembered that she wasn’t actually dead and recited a nursery rhyme to notify the technician. It occurred to me, in that moment, that my mom was Jesus, risen from the dead.

That’s when I woke up, and now I’m weepy. I consider going for a hike, but I’m not sure if my 2-year-old will be up for it. It’s not like I have the strength to carry her.

“You could at least go for a walk around the block,” I tell myself. “Get out of the house. Soak up some vitamin D.” But then I accidentally sit down with a hot cup of coffee. I soon find myself wrapped up in a warm blanket, the one my Grandma knitted, the one that covered my mom in her hospice bed, and I know I’m not going anywhere.

It’s one of those long days, at home with the 2-year-old and nothing to do. These are the days that are normally interrupted by a visit from my mom. Her car is parked outside our house. The doorbell rings but it’s only the mailman dropping off a package. Where is my mom?

“No more diapers!” I say with feigned enthusiasm. I need to do something besides sit around and cry all day, and what better way is there to lift one’s spirits than to potty train? Twenty minutes later she says she has to go potty and actually makes it to the chair in time. I’ll tell my mom when she gets here. She’ll be so proud.

“Have you ever seen a moose eating a moose?” My 2-year-old asks me, screwing up the rhyme from the children’s song Down by the Bay. “Have you ever seen a bear eating his ‘jamas*?” She cracks herself up. “Want me to do it again?” She asks, eager to please.

After lunch she requests “some songs”. She means the Trolls soundtrack. Those are the songs she wants to dance to. She sings along, “Knock me over. I will get back up again.”

All of this – the singing and the dancing and the joking and the peeing (well, in the potty) – is new. I can’t wait for my mom to see it. It’s been months since she came for a visit and today is a good day for one.

But then I remember that my mom is not Jesus. She is, in fact, still dead. The abrupt change in routine is overwhelming, and I feel sad. I feel sad for myself and also for my mom. These are just the first of all the many, many, little things she will never get to see.

“I miss my Mommy,” I tell my 2-year-old as tears well in my eyes (again).

“You miss your Mommy? Ohhh…” she says with genuine sympathy. “I miss my sister.”

“You miss your sister?” I ask, wondering if losing her sister to kindergarten feels more significant.

“I miss my Grandma too,” she says, as if reading my mind.

“Me too,” I say. “Me too.”

*Rhymes with llama

17 thoughts on “Just Another Day

  1. I think you do a great job showing the confusion that occurs just after you lose a parent. I’ve gone through this exact situation and so I understand.

    I think your essay could have been even stronger with one more edit for punctuation issues, but it’s great, anyway.

    I’m sorry for your loss, Laura.

    • I missed a quotation mark that I edited later, but it looks like it didn’t stick for some reason… Just made a second attempt. If you wouldn’t mind noting other punctuation issues you found I would be grateful. Thanks!

      • “some songs”. – I’m pretty positive the period should be inside quotes here, but double check that. It looks like the other issue has been fixed because I can’t find it anymore 😊

        • Thank you! I will look it up, but you are probably right. My engineering degree didn’t help me much with my writing. Ha! So I’m not very confident when it comes to grammar and punctuation. Thanks for the help!

  2. This is so beautifully sad. Children, especially small ones, force you to be present and sometimes it’s exactly what you need. I’m so sorry for your loss, Laura.

  3. Hi Laura,

    Took a little while to assemble my thoughts and feelings after I read this, I miss your mom tremendously too. I also find myself thinking “I’ll call mary Ann, this sounds like a movie she would like,” and then have to readjust. Or, knowing she would understand how I feel about a tough situation in the hospital, or sharing indignation about how people less fortunate are being treated. Surprising that it’s hard to fill that void.

    I love hearing about little Ollie singing and dancing and joking, what a bright little spirit and such a balm to you I’m sure. Mary Ann would indeed have delighted in seeing that.

    Remember that we are all here for you, and that we share that tremendous loss. She was a special presence , and I am so glad to have had the gift of her in my life.

    I am sending you a picture of a rainbow over lake Dillon in the mountains, took it about 5 pm on the day Mary Ann passed. Can’t help feeling like it was her saying goodbye.

    Love to you and yours,



    • Oh thank you Fran. This is such a beautiful note. Made me cry. The last few days of my mom’s life there were beautiful sunsets driving home from hospice and I had the same thought – that my mom was somehow with them.

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