me and my mom, 1977
Today is the 13th anniversary of my mother's death. She died in 1996. It didn't hit me until I sat down in my 9:00 a.m. class to take attendance. I wrote in the date before I began calling names, and thought, oh shit, 5th of May. I dismissed it quickly from my head b/c I had a class to teach. Forgot about it. Then later on, when I got home, I didn't feel well, shaky, and on the verge of a panic attack. When I remembered what I had forgotten, I felt better. I wanted to cry, but no tears came.
I must've been aware of this on some level b/c last weekend I tore this apartment apart, limb from limb. I actually dusted off books! Would somebody please alert the media. I found many pictures of my mother; she's at my brother Michael's wedding in Hawaii, and she looks radiant. This is the way I like to remember her. I don't like to remember the day she died because she didn't look like herself anymore.
Her birthday is far more difficult for me. The day of her death, cinquo de mayo, all these years later, is a footnote in the long history of my life after hers. I look back and think of all the things about me she never knew; The Erotica Project, my life in Brooklyn, my tribe of cats, teaching at college, producing for NPR, publishing my first book, a short play on Broadway, my boy friends, my trips to Cannes, London, Edinburgh, New Orleans, finally losing Peter, my apartment on Willow Street, peri-menopause, menopause, my Master's Degree.
I had a dream not too long ago. An archangel appeared and said, your mother is surrounded by children. Suddenly, her life made perfect, poetic sense to me.
Love you, ma.