Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best Gift of All

The other day I was editing some photos in my office, when my kids jumped up and said "Mom, you've got to come and look," as they stood by the window, "and see the cutest thing you've ever seen!"
"What?" I asked, a little preoccupied.

"Just come and look!" they exclaimed.
So I looked, and saw one of the cutest things I've ever seen. My sweet neighbor, Norris, walking across the street with a Christmas gift in his hands. I rushed to the door to greet him.
You might wonder why we would be so excited to see Norris walking across the street. Norris' eye was damaged beyond repair by radiation treatment, and is covered by a cool black patch. Since that first awful bout of Cancer, Norris has had several Cancer spots removed from the side of his head.
Just this year, Norris got very sick, and was rushed to the hospital. He was there for a week, while they did every test you could imagine to figure out what was wrong with him. Janice, his darling wife, was at there at his side during his every waking moment.

The doctors found scar tissue in his brain, also caused from the radiation treatments. Norris has seizures, severe nausea, and dizziness. About a month ago he was so sick, he had to crawl down the stairs to go to the restroom. But you'll never hear Norris complain. On the contrary, Norris is one of the happiest people I know.
Norris has a heart full of love and compassion. He prays for me whenever he sees me climb on my horse to go for a ride. He checks to make sure I've made it home safely. Norris has come to my rescue many times when I'm sitting on the porch swing, and he sees unsavory boys from down the road bugging me. He's caught our naughty dogs running amuck, and chased our lawn furniture down the street in hearty gusts of wind. He is our very own guardian angel.

Norris and Janice (who is also an angel) are sweethearts and best friends. They are so adorable together. It is almost like they are one person. Norris and Janice still hold hands, and are always together. If I don't see them just inside their front door, where they sit side by side every single day, my world tips a little bit. I love them both so much.

So when I saw Norris walking over to my house with a Christmas gift, it warmed my heart. It was difficult for him to walk across the street and up the steps of our front porch. But he did it with a smile on his face. I couldn't wait to give him a great big kiss on the cheek.

He came in to my office and sat on my mother's couch. I sat next to him, while Rick and the girls hovered over him in delight. The gift that Janice and Norris gave us was very thoughtful and sweet, but the best gift of all was when Norris delivered it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sometimes I Dream

Sometimes I dream about my mother. I used to dream that she was dying, and I kept trying to get to her before she passed away. You know those kind of dreams, they go on and on, and make no sense at all. When I'd awaken from those dreams I would feel such relief. Relief that I was with her when she flew to the angels (one of my new favorite expressions), and that her suffering was over.

Sometimes I dream that Mom is still alive. We go shopping for makeup and perfume, or go buy See's Candy. We'll go eat lunch at T.G.I.F.'s or Nordstrom's Cafe. I also have dreams where I'm taking dinner to her, or sitting in their swing with Dad and Rick, listening to mourning doves coo in the quiet dimming of the day. Then I awake, and I realize that's she no longer lives on Earth, and I cry.

I'm okay with crying. Now is my time to mourn. I really miss Mom a lot. I feel so lucky that there was someone in my life that I loved so much, it broke my heart when she had to leave me. Isn't love wonderful? I have so many people who claim my heart, I cannot believe how lucky I really am.
One night I dreamt that I had flown to the angels. In the far distance I saw my sweet mother, (yes, I realize how cheesy this sounds. but I can't help what I dream) and we ran toward each other. My steps were light as air and we embraced with an indescribable joy. We were equals, the same age, perfectly healthy. I could look in to her soul and she could look in to mine. We communicated without words the wondrous love that we shared together. Then she took my hand, to lead me to where she lives now.

I was sad that whole day because the dream was so spectacular. It will be quite some time before my mother and I are able to embrace again. So I have to let that dream wait for a while. I have to make new dreams. Now I'm dreaming of the future. Horseback rides with friends and family, a trip to see the ocean, watching my daughters marry and have their own children, and growing old with Rick.

For now, I am in a peaceful state of mourning. And sometimes, I dream.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Thought I Saw Her Face In Mine

A couple of months ago, I was brushing my hair in the bathroom. As I looked in the mirror, I suddenly saw my mother's face in mine. It was a powerful moment. I got goose bumps as her face disappeared. Was it really Mom, or was it just my imagination? It doesn't matter, because I felt her with me. I miss her so much.

It makes sense that Mom would come and visit me while I was putting makeup on and brushing my hair. Mom always loved makeup. Her favorite brand was Estee Lauder. She called it Ester Laudee. Mom loved their perfume, their luxurious lipsticks, and their big round powder compacts.

Mom especially loved it when Estee Lauder had a gift with purchase. I can remember once, when I was a teenager, Estee Lauder sold a giant makeup ensemble with an enormous assortment of makeup, lipsticks, blush, powder, and big fat makeup brushes. It was so cool. After all these years, I found the container in one of her drawers after she'd passed away.

As soon as Mom heard of an Estee Lauder gift with purchase, she would send one of us to Nordstrom's to pick it up for her. And when the girls at the Estee Lauder counter saw Mom coming, they got extremely excited. It's no wonder Mom always looked so beautiful; she used their assorted creams and serums religiously. She always had extra makeup from all of the gifts that she got, and she shared them with us. We loved getting her leftovers.

I never wore lipstick. That is a very odd fact, being one of my mother's daughters. I rarely wore eye shadow, and used just a little bit of eyeliner and mascara. Then, just before Mom passed away, she gave me some lipstick from her latest gift set. They were in Summery browns and I loved the soft colors.

Not long after Mom died, I picked up my mother's makeup habits. All of a sudden I wanted to wear eye shadow. I took home some of the makeup that Mom had kept on her chest of drawers. For a few months they just sat in my bathroom drawer, but one day I found myself perusing the different choices, and started experimenting.

I still have some half-used blush sets and powder compacts of Mom's. I can't bear to throw them away. Mom wore makeup and perfume until the last week before she died. It was so endearing to see our tiny, frail mother, all dolled up with pink cheeks, and smelling beautiful.

Now I am now on Estee Lauder's mailing list (yeah, I signed up for it). I enjoy seeing their newest products, but I absolutely swoon when Estee Lauder offers a new gift with purchase. Yesterday I got an email about Estee Lauder's newest purchase with a purchase. It is a huge set. It has several eye shadow colors, lipsticks, blushes, and lots of makeup brushes. Mom would have loved it.

I'll have to buy a perfume to buy the gift set. It's a lot of money, and I probably won't use half of the makeup, but I love their perfume, and feel such an urge to buy it. Estee Lauder has even brought back some of the perfumes that Mom used to wear when I was a little girl. One whiff of her perfume takes me back to childhood. I used to lay in Mom's bed when she was in the hospital, smelling her favorite perfumes in her soft nightgowns. I missed her so much back then. I miss her so much now.

Some people say that when someone you love passes away, you forget all of the bad stuff, and just remember the good things. I see it differently. I haven't forgotten what's happened in the past, but I've realized that none of it matters anymore. What matters most is how much love is shared. I remember that she tried her very best. And Mom loved with all her heart.

When Mom was really sick last year, and in the hospital, she thought it was her time to go. She cried a lot, and held on tightly to my hand. I could tell she was afraid, and even sad. She wasn't ready to say goodbye yet. Through tears she said, "It's all about the love, isn't it Nancy? Love is all that matters in the end."

So if you see me wearing eye shadow and lipstick, or if you smell fancy pants perfume, will you remember Mom for just a moment? I always do.