You were supposed to come visit us this past summer but were too weak to do so. “Don’t worry, you’ll come when you’re stronger,” I told you. But you’ve only grown weaker. Now I’m afraid you never will.
I think of you when I’m on campus – I remember calling you after I’d get a paper back to tell you about my grade. We talked almost daily back then. You were so proud and supportive. Your baby girl off to college chasing her dreams.
You’ve only been here five times. First, was taking me to USC – I was so excited and eager. You laughed and smiled, and cried when you said goodbye. You had so much energy then. Well, it seems like you did compared to now.
The second time was Parent’s Weekend my sophomore year. You were a hit – instantly my friends could see why I was the way I was. This apple definitely didn’t fall far from the tree. We went to Santa Monica Pier. That photo of us with our hair blowing in the wind with the dark blue ocean touching the light bly sky is still my favourite. So serene – neither of us knowing the ravaged war yet to come. Sometimes I look at that picture to remind myself how beautiful you were. I don’t want to remember how you are now – skin and bones and swirling in confusion. Later that night, we hung out with my friends and they taught you beer pong. Yup, I have the coolest mom.
#3 was graduation. My friends couldn’t believe they were smoking pot with my mom and uncle. I had had too much and went to bed. I’ll never forget you and Uncle Randy trying to wake me up so you could watch Mary Poppins on my laptop. You cried at graduation – so proud of me. You’re always so proud of me.
Fourth was my wedding. You were trying so hard to have energy that you drove me nuts. I wanted you to relax. I wanted to relax – but I could see that your mind was starting to go and I knew there was nothing i could do to stop it. It also didn’t help that you and grandma kept telling me what I ought to have at my own wedding. You were delighted to welcome Fin and his family to ours. I’m so glad you were here for that – not just physically but mentally. Because just a few months later the confusion would grow thicker and thicker. The falls would become more frequent and the hospital visits never ending.
The fifth and final time was last November. You were in full decline and wobbly (yet stubbornly acting like everything was normal.) I yelled at you I’m sure. I’ve yelled at you a lot the past two years – upset that you’re dying and that all I can do is watch it happen. You came to see me act – “You belong on the stage” you’ve told me since childhood. I don’t think you remember much of the play, but you were delighted to be there. I remember hearing your laughter as I sat backstage. “That’s my mom,” I said with a smile to the rest of the cast. I’m happy that you at least got to be here and see my little theatrical home.
I think about where I’ll be when I get the fateful news. Will I be on campus, the place where I called you daily? Home? The theatre? The park? On my bike? I think about the “where” a lot.