Mourning, Still

I wasn’t expecting the grief that surfaced when I was alone at Daddy’s house. So much was the same, there; and so much was so very, very different.

The furniture is all the same. Momma’s Blue Danube china still sits in the largest cabinet in the kitchen. Her sugar and flour bins are still full, on the lazy-susan in the corner. The mason jars and lids and rings filling the pantry shelves. The piano. The dining room table. Her plates on the wall. The shoji screen in the living room. The overflowing collection of toys in the “grandkids’ nook.”

And yet it all feels different. For one thing, it is my daughter who goes to the cupboard under the toaster to get the special animal sippy cups at lunch time. My own little girl, and not my niece, serves me tea from the pink and purple tea set on the little cubby table. She pushes the toy vacuum around and giggles and laughs and sits on Papa’s lap, tickling his beard and making faces with him.. and I know she will grow up never knowing her Grandmama Jeanette.

She won’t hear Grandmama sing “Eating Goober Peas” or “High Cockalorum” as they drive down the road to her house. No books on her lap, no making pancakes in pajamas together.

I was melancholy. During Macia’s naps I found myself walking around the house, looking at all the remnants of Momma, and I would weep. I only wanted to sit, to be still in that large, quiet house and allow the solemn, burdensome missing-her to permeate and overwhelm me. For the first time since I was married, and since she died, I was all alone in her house. It made me ache.

I sat outside and watched Macia in the garden, in the backyard. Momma worked so hard on that space to make it inviting–a difficult task in the middle of the desert. She planned the paver stones, the concrete walkway, the grotto, and she tiled the border herself. She wanted to keep the desert out, but still be able to see it. A separation from it, but not a rejection.

Sitting in the shade of Our Lady’s shrine I feel the warm desert air blow across my skin. Here is my daughter, happy as a clam, scooping the dirt into buckets and patting it down with her spade, her dark hair blowing across her face in the wind. I miss Momma. I wish she was here to show us how to tend the garden, to weed the beds. How to know which strawberries are ripe and how to pick them.

But no, the strawberry bush is gone. It has withered and is taken over by the rosemary..

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2 comments

  1. Renee wrote:

    Isn’t comforting that she is still everywhere you look? It’s much better than to forget all the wonderful things about her.

    • renidemus wrote:

      it is wonderful to be reminded, but it also always reminds me of how much i miss her. i hope to see her again 🙂