I remember her coming in the front door, a full bag of groceries in each arm. Not the plastic kind that hang off your wrist and leave a long red dent in your skin. No, they hadn’t been invented yet. She carried the big paper sacks, celery and carrots sticking out of the top. It must have been after a long day at work. I was at home, waiting, and as I heard the key turn in the lock, a quick plan formed. Door opened and before she had a chance to make her way down the two steps into our basement apartment…
“OH!!!” This exclaimed in a quick, high pitch.
“Heidi! I wish you wouldn’t do that.”
This memory doesn’t paint me in the best light, but it is the memory that came to the blank page. I wasn’t yet ten, and may have only been seven or eight. Old enough to know better, not quite old enough to care or realize it really was inconsiderate. I’m pretty sure I was more careful from then on, faintly aware of the danger of being startled at the top of the stairs. To be honest, I was aware of the danger to the groceries. Years would pass before it occurred to me my mom could have fallen.
I’ve begun cleaning out her bedroom, her kitchen, her house, the one we sort of share with my dad now. It’s his house really and we, the nomadic family, claim my mom’s room and shared use of the house when we’re in town, knowing it is my dad’s domain and nest, or will be once we clear her belongings, at least some of them, and remove my mom’s purple robe from the back of the bathroom door.
Or maybe we will never move it, and each time we close the door, it’s purpleness will sway just a bit and remind us of the great love story that is her life, remind us of her enthusiastic, busy spirit, remind us of her eyes and smile, and the way she tackled every day like a child eager to discover what other cool stuff can be found and done in the world. Only she was really a warrior, fighting to teach the world about love and light in its many manifestations, and to please treat each other as the shining gems we are.
So that’s the message. You’re a gem, or really many gems, some hidden, some needing to be polished, some shining bright and lighting up the lives of your loved ones. But you are not your faults or the negative total of what you have not done but meant to. You are only the light.
Thank you mom.