I hung my mother’s favorite shirt in my closet last week. Bright and airy, with pastel stripes, it reminds me of her. It smells like her. And every so often, I go in and hold it close, needing to remember her scent, to feel her presence.
Of course, I know she’s with me, all around me. I know her spirit is free and out of pain. I know she loves me and watches from on high. But somehow, I need this physical reminder of her, this piece of airy fabric that I remember her wearing so often.
My mother was sweet and funny and oh-so-practical. She had great common sense and a contagious love for life. She taught me well, and I see much of her in myself: that passion for a pastoral scene, for kids, for animals, for food, for anything to do with nature. Yes, that all came from her.
I’ve been catching up on laundry, hanging up my own shirts in front of hers. And today, as if afraid I’d lose her more than I already have, I frantically moved her shirt to the front of the closet again. Afraid it would be lost behind my boring dark-colored shirts. Afraid she’d disappear a little more.
I want her to come to me in dreams, like my father did when he died eighteen years ago. But she hasn’t appeared yet. It’s been five weeks. I think she’s having too much fun reconnecting with her loved ones, but especially with all her animals. Heidi, Trixie, Lil Sis, Mama Kitty, Red, Tag…they are all up there, crowding around her, loving her. And I’m sure she’s smiling from ear-to-ear, enjoying her reunion. I think she’s even petting our old tiger cat, Leprechaun, who had beat-up ears, a stick-out tongue, and some naughty habits I won’t elaborate on here.
I believe she’s sad to be parted from those of us who are still on earth, but she also knows that we’ll meet again. And that probably sustains her, like it will me when the raw, aching pain lessens. I'm trying. I really am.
I love you, Mum.
Aaron Paul Lazar