Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Memories seep from my veins

Last Wednesday, I was all, oh, goat rodeo, hahaha! 

People are multidimensional and grief is so weird and complicated, and it's true that you can cry and then laugh in successive breaths.

But I didn't cry at all on Wednesday, and so I wondered if I was done crying.

Which would be OK. Crying or laughing or just not crying doesn't mean you loved someone more or less than someone else who is or isn't crying. It doesn't really mean anything.

So maybe I was done?



On Saturday, I woke up at 6:30 am sobbing. Bereft.

Nick folded me into his arms in a giant bear hug and I cried and cried. I snotted all over his shirt.

Fortunately, he's a morning person. 


A friend told me she's been dreaming of my mother and me. 

I haven't yet dreamt of her. I think I've only dreamt of my dad once, ever.

I long to see Betty in my dreams.


The picture above was our last photo together. 

Why didn't I get us all dressed up and do family photos this winter? I thought about it. Thought, we should do it while we're still all here.

And then I didn't.

Why did I spent so much time taking photos of flowers and weird little cracks in sidewalks?


I want to hug my mama. I want to make her laugh. I want to hear her tell someone that I'm the fittest person she knows.

She was very impressed with all the yoga. During Covid I did zoom yoga on her floor. Some of the classes were incredibly hard.

She liked to call it torture. How was torture today? Great! 


I want her to show me something weird and incomprehensible that she's done to her phone when she was fucking around with it at 2:00 am instead of sleeping. I want her to ask me to fix it.

Like this one time, or actually twice, although truly I have no idea how you do this once, she made it so the screen was so magnified you couldn't really see more than a couple letters at a time. And also, you had to double tap everything. And then the phone spoke the letters.

If you didn't double tap, you couldn't get anywhere. And it was too magnified to scroll.

Being that everything was so magnified, and it took a while for Nick to figure out that you had to double tap, it took quite a frustrating while to even navigate to settings to reverse it.

But when she did it the second time, oh, I knew.


I wish she were sitting in the kitchen listening to a random and stupid video commercial that she happeend to click on and had no idea how to stop or navigate away from, so I could ask her to please turn it off.

I wish she were upstairs listening to her television too loud.

I wish she were playing piano, which makes Wanda howl, which then made my mom pause to tell Wanda sincerely and sweetly to stop. And Wanda would stop as long as my mom paused, but as soon as she resumed, Wanda would commence howling.

And this situation could continue on a loop for longer than one might imagine.

I want her to tell me that her email has completely disappeared and can I please look at her computer. Because it was right there and now, suddenly, it's not.

I want to organize every week around taking her to her appointments, even though I felt inconvenienced by the amount of time this required.

I want to count out all her medications and put them in those little week by week boxes. Even though up to a month ago, I'd much rather have been spending the time doing something else.

I want to fill up water jars and put lids on and straws in them and hand them to her and cajole/harass her into drinking enough.

Even though I was often like, why do I have to do this? Why can't she just drink enough water?

Obviously, I didn't actually have to do it. But being me, I had to.

I want to bug her to eat vegetables, and ultimately chop up a whole bunch and make a good salad even though I hate making salad and often felt resentful, because it seemed like I was more invested in her eating well than she was.

I wish she'd open a second container of something that we already had one of open, just because she couldn't find the first one so she figured it was gone. 

I wish she'd insist we had no more maple syrup and then I'd go find another one in the pantry and open it only to later find a nearly full container in the fridge.

I wish for so many things that I'd never anticipated dealing with or taking on in the first place.

I just miss my mama.


I know I did a lot of things for her, but what I keep thinking of are all the things I didn't do to make her life happier. 

I know I had a lot of time with her, particularly as so many people live far from their parents.

But isn't this how it is with people we love? You always want more time.


On Saturday, I realized it had been a month since she fell and that marked a month since our last normal day. Whatever that means.

Anyway, the last day my family was all together.

We were five, and now we're four.

Jordan's been on a school trip, so this past week we've been three.


Today I took India to the pool, and I was chatting with strangers from Atlanta about the pandemic, and online schooling, and what a weird time it was. I mentioned my mom.

It's the first time I've talked about my mom living with us in past tense. I think I said she was living with us then.

So it was open to interpretation. 

Maybe she lived with us in Covid and then went back home to wherever she normally lived.

Or maybe she bought a flat in Paris. She now has pain au chocolat and cafe au lait every day, and shops at Galleries Lafayette.

Maybe she packed her bags and headed for Australia. 

Maybe in the multiverse, in versions where my dad is still alive, she's done all of these things and more.

I hope so.


  1. I am so envious of your writing skills! You express your grief so eloquently. I can identify with all those feelings when Pat left us and, a few years before, Mom. Hugs to you..

  2. Dear Lisa - I don't know if I've told you yet how sorry I am about Betty, I've been reading, and crying, and leaving the blog tab open in my window until I find the appropriate thing to say. What a situation where a stranger's life feels familiar because I've been reading about it for... 15 years? Big hugs. - "Frugal Vegan Mom"

    1. I totally hear you. I have been following a long time too. Great writing, Lisa.

  3. The words seem to come with time, though that doesn’t make this any easier. You write beautifully to capture those moments that really mattered. My heart goes out to you and your family ❤️

  4. I like to think of my dad in the multiverse, too.

  5. Lisa, I know all those feelings. That you always want more time, always think you could have done something better, wish you could do the mundane things for her that at the time seemed like a chore. I still miss my mom after 6 years, miss my dad after 6 years, and think of things I could have or should have done. Or have done better. I had my parents until mom was 88 and dad was 90. Dad became really distant after mom died. I ghink everyone thinks "if only" when they lose a loved one, and the grief comes and goes for a long time. Sending you many hugs. I know you gave your mom some wonderful, loving years living with your family.❤❤

  6. Lisa, You are able to say all the things I feel in my being. Thank you, my friend. Pat C

  7. Lisa, my heartfelt condolences. May your beautiful mom rest in peace. Every word you have written resonates so deeply with me. For I was my mom’s caregiver as well and when she passed, all I could think of was everything I didn’t do. And, like you, I felt the void when I didn’t have to prepare her food or attend to her. And my family of five became 4, as well. It is so hard but keep writing, talking and sharing about her. She lives on in you. Big hugs!


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