On December 14, the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, the WordPress Daily Prompt was “Dear Mom.” Today, on what would have been my mother’s 69th birthday, the prompt is “Immortalized in Stone.” The picture in my head is her gravestone, although the WordPress prompt was not about death, but about commemorating a life and carving out a symbol of significance.
And so here I begin….
Throughout this last year and nine months since your death, I have felt your presence in big and small ways nearly every day. The fact that you gave birth to me 40-some years ago is not lost on me. I continue to be Susan’s “Little Chip” as you loved to call me– a “chip off the old block” minus the “old block” part. We have matching hands and I have always been grateful for that because every time I look at mine, I can see yours. It is like a window into your life, a connection to a perspective I couldn’t otherwise have. When I look at my hands at the age I am now, I can flashback to the two of us together when you were my age. I remember who you were to me, and I can see myself through your eyes. I know what my hands will look like 20 years from now, and how my daughter will hold them and watch them.
Hands are for doing, for holding, for shaping and sculpting. You were my sculptor in so many ways. You helped form the woman I am now and everything I know about being my true authentic self began to grow from ideas you instilled in me as a little girl. My spirituality, my parenting, my creativity, my persistence. The way I create a home, the way I work, the things that make me giggle with pride. I am humbled to see your hands– your busy, graceful, purposeful life– through my own and to know that I am helping to guide my daughter’s life as you did mine.
What have I wanted to say to you but haven’t been able to?
There is nothing I left unsaid at your death. There is no joy or sorrow or secret you did not know about me while you were alive. I only wish that you could see my hands now, wearing a ring that Aubrey and I had specially made with Grandma’s diamond in the center. I wish I could show you and giggle with you about how it sparkles in the sun as we walk to the beach from your house. I wish you could meet Aubrey and make a fuss over her and serve her dinner on your porch. I wish we could wedding plan together.
Aubrey and I will be married on the beach down the road from your house. Our names will be painted on the side of the wedding shoppe you always liked. Your best friend in the ministry has said she will “channel” your spirit so that you can once again lead my wedding ceremony. (Please make this easy for her, Ma, and remember there’s no need for dramatic sweeps of wind or rain during the ceremony, okay? I promise I will know it’s you.)
The sculpture you began when I was born is a work in progress, ever-changing. By the time I see you again in heaven, there will be another set of little hands drawing and sewing and carving out a life of her own. Perhaps she will be wearing my ring and thinking of the generations of women who started out before her, and the generations who will come after and what mark they will make on the world.
I miss you every day, Mom. I remain proud to be your daughter and humbled to bear your resemblance. And I will always be grateful for our matching hands.
Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?
Write a letter to your mom. Tell her something you’ve always wanted to say, but haven’t been able to.