>One More Day



One more day…One more time
One more sunset, maybe I’d be satisfied
But then again…I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still for one more day with you.
It is always there…just under the surface.  It is the ache of loneliness and the hole in my heart that will never heal.  It is the truth I despise, a reality I resent, and a desperate longing to go back…to before.  By staying busy (numb and purposeful), running my mouth, my mind, and my daily routine, I fool myself into looking and acting like everyone else.  But then I catch myself.  Walking past the rows of cubicles to lunch, standing in line at the grocery store, or sitting in a meeting, it hits me.  I don’t have a mother anymore.
Of course, it feels like I am the only one.  A reunion with my four high school girlfriends innocently starts with talk of mothers.  We jokingly ask Carolyn how long her mother has allotted for her to lunch with us this time.  Kathy blurts out that her mother is depressed and has lost her short term memory.  Holly shares her parent’s struggle with varying degrees of dementia.  They suddenly freeze as they realize their unintentional gaffe.  They don’t need to apologize, but they do and their sympathy and the pity in their eyes makes me fear I might come completely undone over my salad. 
For each of us, this is part of our lives now… aging parents and worries about their decline.  At one point, Kathy says, “I believe now that there are worse things than dying”.  I think to myself that she might feel differently when her mother is gone.  I ask them the age of their parents.  My mother at 73 was the youngest of them all.
In the complete absence of Mom, my victories are still tempered with sadness, and my struggles only remind me of how much I depended on her wisdom and basked in her unwavering belief in me. I know that no one will ever feel that way about me again, and even my natural optimistic spirit suffers when thinking about the years ahead without her.
After 364 days of mourning, my family faces one of our most difficult days tomorrow.  Between our gathering today for my father’s 79th birthday and Monday (my 54th ) we will each bow our heads and grieve our way through the one year anniversary of our mother’s death.  I don’t know if there is some magical healing or peace on the other side of this day.  After slogging through so many painful holidays already, it feels like there is no end to the reminders of who we once were. 
This Wednesday, February 23 would be my parent’s 55th wedding anniversary, and in some ways, I think that day will be the hardest of all.  My father’s love for my mother is the same as it was half a century ago in Mesa; honest and true.  Through our regrets and realizations, the finality of what wasn’t and the sadness of what could have been, he loves her in that beautiful, unconditional way he loves all of us.  He longs to be with her. We can’t bear the thought of losing him.
During our ritual weekend walk this morning, my husband pointed up to see the season’s first mourning dove perched on the wire directly above our path.  As we passed, the dove began to sing the song of my mother’s promise.  I choked back my tears and walked on. 
It is the only thing I can do.