When I was in the first grade, my parents made arrangements to pick me up after school so that we could go to visit my grandparents. It was a cold and rainy afternoon, so I waited inside, watching out the glass windows of the big entry-way doors on the south of our elementary school. I waited and waited, but still my parents didn't come.
Suddenly, I saw my mom running across the schoolyard from the other side of the building. They had been waiting for me on the opposite side! I pushed open the heavy door and raced after my mom, fast as my little six-year-old legs would carry me. I ran fast, but she ran faster. "Mama, Mama!" I kept calling. But the wicked Idaho wind caught my words and blew them back behind me. She couldn't hear me and just kept on going. "Mama, Mama!" By now I was in tears as I ran past the buses, trying to catch up to my mom. In my six-year-old mind, it was terrible not to get her attention--would I ever catch up to her? The pouring rain mixed with my tears. At last, she reached my bus, and stopped to ask the driver if I were on. I could catch up to her and we could hurry back to the car and go see my grandparents. I was so relieved.
Ten years ago, we got a call in the middle of the night. It was my dad, telling us my mom had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. I was stunned and shocked. The next few days I felt like that little girl again, racing after my mom and crying, "Mama, Mama!" Some days, when things are difficult, I still feel like that little girl. "Mama, Mama!" I miss her.
All the way home to attend the funeral, I kept noticing the things that we passed on the way, the things that happened. Then I realized I was remembering them because that's what I always did on our way home, so I could share the events with my mom. When we got to the house, she wasn't there, opening the front door screen and welcoming us. She wasn't in the kitchen, stirring up a batch of something for supper. She wasn't anywhere she was supposed to be.
Things I miss about my mom:gossiping in the kitchen
hearing her cheerful telephone-operator "Hello?" on the phone (She really did work for the phone company after graduating from high school)
seeing her in her bathrobe cooking breakfast
"laughture" "delightful!" "Neltson"
watching her wear a padded neck brace while sewing
her quilting and crocheting
phone calls keeping me informed of goings-on in my home-town or in my family
hearing her sing in church
getting to share our successes and trials with her
My sister and I dressed her for burial. It was so obvious that the real "Shirlene" was not there on that bed. I'm thankful to know where she is, and that I'll see her again someday. Some days I wonder how close she is, if she sees the triumphs and sorrows of our daily lives, if she wishes she were still here. I wonder if she's with her mother and dad, what they are doing. I wish I could hug her today and tell her how much I love her. "Mama, Mama!" Someday I'll catch up to you.