Tuesday, October 20, 2009


In response to a friend telling me about the death of another friend's mother...

A year ago I would have read about Julie's loss and sort of nodded in a
"yeah, that's too bad," kind of way. But my own Dad died 6 months ago,
young too, 78, of cancer and since then I'm fairly speechless when I hear news like this.

The rug that was pulled out from under me hasn't been replaced
with any sage thoughts on the matter. It's just plain old sad is what
it is.

Last night I dreamed that my Mom had put some of Dad's things on
a table for giveaway. Crappy stuff of no value, like if someone had
emptied the dish on my desk that houses assorted pencils, loose
change, buttons and paper clips. My Dad was there, and though he
looked well, I knew he was dying. I saw a scarf of his, some
slippers. "Can I have these Dad?" I asked him. He shrugged, sure.
Those things didn't matter to him anymore, they never did.

They didn't matter to me either, though it was all I had to take away.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Go Dodgers

My Mother and I are talking about taking a 10-day walking trip. “We have to do it next year,” she tells me like we’re running out of time. But of course we are, even though I can’t imagine my tomboy of a mother any different than I know her today.

“Look for me on T.V. this afternoon,” she says. “1:00, behind first base at the Dodger game.” She’ll be there, mitt in hand like she is every game, and I hope the cameras pan to her because you won’t see a happier person in that stadium; surrounded by my sister’s and their husbands, in the middle of the day, a Dodger Dog in her hand. I think it’s an important game too because if they win, bla bla bla, my Mom won’t come up for the Ellen Bass poetry workshop that I’m producing, but if they lose, bla bla bla, she will come up.

“Do you hate me?” she asks when she reveals her choice of the Dodgers over poetry and Ellen Bass. “Hate you?” I say over the phone, “I love you because you know what makes you happy, you know what you want and that life is too short.”

“Do you really understand that?” she says, “that life is short?”

“Well, of course I think I’m going to live forever,” I tell her as I multi-task like a mad woman, making coffee for the morning writing class, applying lipstick and sending an email all while I hold the phone to my ear. “But it was seeing Dad at the end,” I tell her, my throat thick. “All the things he regretted, what he hadn’t done.”

“Like learn to love?” she says and goes silent.

“Like learn to love,” I say. This was something my Dad told us at the end, that he hadn’t learned to love.

“I’m going to look for you behind first base,” I tell her. “Go Dodgers Mom, go Dodgers.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Ring

All I had done was take off my wedding ring, just for a second, to see if it fit on any other finger, just in case, you know, it wasn't going to be a wedding ring anymore. But there must have been some force in the way I grabbed it off my finger because it went flying, which might have been fine except that I was sitting in the sand, not just a pile of sand like a sand box, but an entire beach of sand that went for miles. I held my breath, craned my neck down the beach to where my family was playing, looked down to where I was sitting and I started to dig.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Girl's Dream

It's good news she's just given you on the phone. A girl's dream come true. A fantasy. The highest nod of approval from her peers.

And maybe it's the shock of it that makes you bungle it, say something stupid like, "How is this possible?" Which is when she hangs up on you because she thinks you're saying, "You? How did this happen to YOU?" Just like Cinderella's step mother said when she found out the prince had come looking for Cinderella instead of her own horrible daughters. But you didn't mean it that way, it's just that you were so shocked and so proud and scared at the same time. It's just that your very your first thought when she told you was "they'll hate her, people are going to hate her for this."

When you call her back and ask for forgiveness you ask her to do a re-do, to tell you again and let you answer more appropriately.

"Okay," she says, rolling her eyes on the phone.

"Hi Mom," she sing songs, "guess what? I've been nominated Home Coming Queen."