A is for Agent
I’ve been typing and deleting first lines here for several minutes, in an effort to write something witty or profound or even somewhat useful, but maybe all I need to write is this:
Best. Gift. Ever.
A is for Alice
The other part of the story, the part that made me unsure of how to begin, is that thirteen years ago on December 22nd, in a hospital room in Little Rock, Arkansas, I stood at my mother’s bedside and held her hand as she took her last breath. The next day, my father and I made the drive in an ice storm back to my parents’ farm in South Dakota, where we arrived on a silent Christmas Eve to an empty house that she had not had time to decorate before entering the hospital a month earlier. Presents had arrived for her. Christmas cards were stacked on the kitchen table. A wise mentor told me at the time to give myself three years to feel back to myself again. She was right about the three years, but the self I was before was never to be quite the same.
When I was young, I often saw myself as the polar opposite of my mom. She was quiet and patient. I was bossy and impulsive. She was artistic. I was “bright.” Only in the last few years have I realized how much of her is in me, including an ability to wait that I didn’t know was possible and an unrelenting drive to create that seems at times to define if not overwhelm me.
Before you get together with family this holiday season, be sure to read Jennifer Margulis’s poignant blog post, Be Extra Kind to Your Mom, Because You Only Get One, Warts and All. She writes of her own mother’s recent death, “It feels like someone has stabbed me with 100 daggers, in my stomach, in my back, in my neck, but most of all in my heart.”
It gets better.
My mom would be so very happy for me today, and that thought brings a smile instead of tears.