My Memory Maker


My mom and me in our backyard

I am not sure why I have such a good memory. I think it may be because of my mom. She made the best memories. I remember things so vividly I can still taste the grape juice she always gave me when I woke up from a nap almost six decades later. I can smell the vanilla she always made such a big deal about us smelling together every time we baked. And I can even still smell the kiln that seemed to always have something in it during her ceramic phase when I was just a tiny little girl.

My mom died yesterday. She was a memory making mom. In turn, a lot of my kid’s memories are because I carried on the ones she made with me. She was a natural born artist as was her sister. My mom was always creating. She made all of my gifts for parties I was invited to, and all of my party favors. The flip side of having a good memory are the regrets you also remember about your own attitudes and the things you wish you’d said or didn’t say. Praying you said thank you enough or apologized for the things that you regret. I don’t think I appreciated not having store bought things to give my friends back then. But years later, my best friend told me that she was jealous of how talented my mom was while she only had store-bought things to give. Funny how as adults, we see things with a different clarity and  appreciate now the little things that truly matter.

When I was in Junior High, my mom began painting and doing art shows and had quite a customer base. Though she had a lot of pain from having polio as a child, she was pretty active. We’d always help her set up her A-frames and sometimes she had every weekend a month scheduled with shows. Funny how now I am doing the same thing as has my daughter. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and my mom planted many fruitful seeds in her life. She had an art room up to the very end that my daughter and my niece made special memories in as kids. My mom loved making memories for them too. Generously sharing her paint and sewing supplies. She was always trying to teach one of us to crochet. And setting up endless little tea parties. But the best seeds she planted were the ones rooted from her faith.

Everyone knew she loved Jesus. She made sure that we all knew Him personally and I have no doubt that the ones that met her when she arrived in heaven ran to greet her to thank her for planting those seeds in their hearts. In regard to Jesus,  my daughter said, that she was His biggest fan. And my son said that out of all the people he knew who’d gone to heaven, he knew without a doubt that his grandma belonged there most. And my cousin said that it was probably a BIG DEAL when she arrived there.  And we are comforted that our moms are together again, there now. She would always say “Take Jesus with you” when we’d leave. I began saying it to my kids when they learned how to drive. It’s just become the thing to say to each other now.

My mom lived a good life. She was 83. She had two great marriages and during her last years, I could not have imagined a more loving caretaker as my dad. Faithfully taking her to what they call the 2 store. Letting her buy whatever she wanted… even if they didn’t need it. Telling us it gave her joy. Because of her polio she had bad memories of being in a hospital. My dad took care of her as she slowly faded all by himself and thanks to the help of our little Amanda who shared her caretaking experience weekly and helped us get Hospice at the very end. My mom never had to go to the hospital. It was bittersweet. I knew that we’d miss her but both my dad and I and my husband prayed that towards the end she would go fast and not suffer long.

My mom was always my soft place to fall all of my life. It was hard when the phone calls stopped. I tried to help as much as I could. Tried to get the last conversations in while she still understood. To fit in all of the thank yous and I’m sorrys as much as possible. And to laugh and remember all of the memories. The last days were filled with visits from her grandkids and great grandchildren and all of her loved ones who gathered to love her one last time. Ironically there was a baptism at their house the day before she died. Her Pastor and his family prayed for her and the next day she went home to the arms of Jesus. And then, probably attended the best party ever.

Goodby mom. I’ll miss you. But because of Jesus and you, I know that we will be together again.

The Thread


tangled thread1

The tread that weaves

throughout the years

thread and needle

strong enough

to keep us here

thread unraveled

has been unraveling

before our eyes

amidst our hellos

and goodbyes

hands sillouette

It’s hard to ever

let  it go

and yet we both

really know

the thread’s unraveled

once again…

And…  somehow now

we’ve reached the end…

cross stitch saying

Poem

by

Diane Reed

Each Day


Each day is a little less than the rest

As I resist ~only to grow even stronger.

The pain I have felt, in mornings past

is not first on my mind any longer.

As today releases yesterday’s fears,

the scent of my memories disappear~

Though always faint but just enough,

for me to know that you’ve been here~

My heart still smells the scent,

though someday in my mind,

perhaps you’ll be gone.

As you fade into a break in the dawn.

And  finally …

                                  I can move on….

By

Diane Reed

The Gift We Almost Missed


When you found me, I was tired and weary. I had forgotten how to dream and I had walls up all around me. Some you helped build long ago, the same ones you helped me take down in our times together. You gave me back something that I had lost…  you gave me the gift of my youth.

The memories we shared were like the best tasting honey ever, and I remembered with an old weary heart, soaking up all of it until there were no memories left to remember. Every day was better than the last, we danced the dance of getting to know each other all over again… the one I once knew so well, had memorized and then tried to forget with the exact same passion I had loved you with.  And yet, we worked through it, all the painful memories. You asked for my forgiveness and in giving it, my heart healed and my world seemed to somehow feel more aligned with everything around it.

I began looking forward to your words, to your affirmations. Your words were like salve upon a wound, they had healing powers and I was lost in a world so rare, so right and yet so wrong.  And so… …..   all in the click of a key, my life changed. It all started quite innocently, the catching up, the remembering… so innocently…

But you wanted something  more, something that I could not give… In-between the youth that you offered and the life that had happened in-between the past and the present, the path had changed. I had changed. You had changed, yet we hadn’t changed enough. Slowly I tried to back away and even though you would say that you knew you weren’t entitled to be angry about any of it, you still were. And even though I wanted to go back and make it alright for you, I could not change the past. Though I was not sure what to do. I did not want to abandoned our newfound friendship, I continued to reach back through the distance but we knew nothing was going to make it right.

And you must have seen the writing on the wall because all of a sudden you weren’t there anymore. It wasn’t me this time. It was you.  I waited for your reply and wondered if you were okay.  But then I realized, you nor I were ever going to be okay when we weren’t in touch or when we were. Even though it felt so right sometimes, we knew the truth.  I had taken a thousand opportunities to just stop over and over again, and something always would happen that seemed to make it impossible to stay away. Neither one of us could “just” stop. And so the Merry Go Round kept turning.  Both of us, in our own way, would try to stop riding for a while but in the beginning,  the pain was so raw, the sting was so painful that a new  panic would set in. I remember feeling so wild with grief one time, that I felt a little  like Hellen Keller must have felt  in the Miracle Worker, floundering in my blindness, seeking to understand. And the thing that gives me hope is that Hellen Keller later, actually became one of the wisest souls to live. She literally gives us new meaning to: “I was blind and now I see.” (Hopefully in the places that I was blind in my life… I will see things with the same clarity that Hellen did.)

But slowly, as we began to play the game of jumping on and off, over and over again it suddenly got very old. And we realized it wasn’t fun anymore, but we kept riding, until one day, one of us just quietly got off. And this time it was you. Who woulda thought? There were no words of anger or tears cried, there wasn’t even a goodbye. The door closed just as quickly as it had opened.

And we were okay.

We still could breathe and we even  lived through each day, one at a time~ Though some were harder than others…  And we still looked in the places we used to go to find each other. Recently, I even caught myself looking at a star and “willing” you to look at the same one. Or found myself listening to the same radio station and wondering if you had just heard the same song.

And I can’t say that I haven’t wanted to reach out to you again, sometimes many times a day. To make sure you are really okay, to ask you what made you finally strong enough… But I know that it would hurt us more than it would help me and so I remain silent… remembering…

The love will never go away. The places you once were ~  still feel pretty empty when I look and you aren’t there, and  just perhaps, they always will.    I just know that I will never look at them the same way again…

You are still in my daily thoughts and prayers and I hope I will always be in yours… not so much as a possibility of anything more but a sweet memory of a gift we were given. One that few ever get to experience. I am not sorry for the time we shared nor am I sorry for our unspoken goodbye because it was all meant to be…..to remind us of God’s love. The perfect Gift. The one we almost missed.