Yesterday was an incredibly productive day for me. I did major cleanup and design work here on DGSpeirs.com, including pages for my latest novel, Triangle:Wildcard, and for my online daily inspirational project, The Tao of Maud. I finished edits and review on the manuscript of a YA novel by a good friend, Frank Bailey (second in the series I highly recommend you look up his Tercona series. I finished posting all the previous year’s posts to the Tao of Maud website and prepped the project for its relaunch today, January 1. I even took down the outside Christmas lights and rehung the Edison vintage lights on my front porch.
By a lot of measures, it was a wildly successful day. But all day, I had this low-level sense of anxiety. It wasn’t deadline-driven – nothing I described above HAD to be finished by the start of the year, except for the new posts, and that was actually a mechanical thing – the artwork and research had been done weeks prior. No, something else was driving it.
At 10 p.m. I ran to the store to grab a quick dinner, and as I was driving, the satellite radio tuned into some sports station, one of the announcers was talking about a team that was having an awful time. And he said, “I bet they can’t wait for this year to turn to last year.”
I was lucky I was alone on the road because anyone following me would have plowed into my car. I’d slammed on the brakes and just waited there, my heart pounding, unable to move, barely able to breathe. It was the issue, the thing eating at me all day.
I turned my car around and headed home. Pulled into the driveway, got into my office and grabbed a clear glass hear with blue swirls and tiny white stars embedded within. I took that out onto my back deck, and I sat there in the dark as the minutes counted down toward midnight.
That heart contains a small amount of the cremated remains of my mother, Irma, who passed away June 1. I know my mom is gone, her journey taking her to a place I cannot follow. My pain over the ensuing months has been from my sorrow at the loss of her counsel and comfort. I’m still recovering from that, slower than I’d hoped, but still, better as time goes on.
But this was something different. I live day to day, so I rarely take a long view, which may not have served me well in some things. But here, this was stepping over a boundary – and for the first time in my life, my mother not doing so with me.
As of midnight, she would no longer be “this.” She will be “last.” And when others look at you and talk to you about it their attitudes will be, “Oh, it’s ‘last’? Get over it and move on.”
Whether or not I move on, Mom has. This is now simply me working to adjust. But every time I have a bad day or evening such as the last night, I remember the last words my mother told me. She didn’t say I love you. We both knew that was absolutely given, and would always continue, no matter where in the Universe our journeys will ever take us.
No, she reached out, took my hand, kissed it and said, with a smile, “You’ll be alright.”
I still am, Mom. Working at it, but I still am.
Happy New Year, everybody.