Monday, October 6, 2008

Last week I was sitting on the front step, waiting for Bill. I eyed the chrysanthemums I planted years ago; they return faithfully every year bigger and better. Likewise, the lamb's ear, that seems so delicate with its fuzzy leaves, survived the summer's heat and stays into the fall. It rests for winter and returns again in spring. Every year the lamb's ear takes up more and more real estate in the front year. It just grows and grows without any involvement on my part.

Back in June, Marie and I stood for a while in my garden one morning, “I used to have such a beautiful garden. I would plant all along the berms until they overflowed with blossoms and foliage.” Now only the perennials are there and the weeds are overtaking them. “I look at the garden and it is in disarray, and the house is in disarray, and I wonder what is going to happen when I am gone. All these things that I tended to so carefully, so lovingly it will all just disappear.” Marie gazed at me with her beautiful, feline-like blue eyes with a look of dismay. She tried to make me see what I couldn’t: that the family I created, the children I raised, the loving home I helped establish would all go on, that I was already permanently a part of the picture.

As I pored over photos over the last few weeks, I realized how few I had of me and the children. I was always the one behind the lens. "You cannot see me," I thought to myself, looking at a picture of Bill holding to towel wrapped children on a beach in France, "but I was still there." I realize now that I will never really leave. My children, husband, family, friends will carry them with me in their hearts and their memories. Perhaps that is eternal life.

14 comments:

Annie said...

m'love, they will always cherish the memories of you. be it a picture, a blanket or even a recipe. your wee ones will always remember you. i'm not sure if you're up for it, but watch stepmom the movie. understand the ending of it. whenever i get test results back, i watch that movie "just in case" i ever come to that situation.

don't worry michelle. you've left an undying mark. more than you know.

i hope you're feeling better and at peace. i think of you often.

xoxo.

annie, mike & dylan.

desert dirt diva said...

yes your kids wil alway have those great memories.. I love my camera, its nothing fancy, but before we do anything at the beginning of each journey i always take one of me....and then my children, i have a fear that something will happen and there will be no pictures but just a few are better than none at all.....your a great women, and mom..

Amie said...

Amen. Here's to living beyond your body's time on Earth.

Sharon Sulecki said...

From Nazareth stage crew to Senior prom, from being out after Ann's wedding to your blog, you are always and will always be with us. Once you have worn '80s neon with someone and it was actually IN the '80s, you are always with them :) We love you!!

xoxo
Shar

esands said...

Dear Michelle,
I started reading your posts because I was thinking about my Jillian. I wondered if you could give me any insight into if I had missed something or not. You have helped me to realize that I hadn't. You have the same thoughts and wonders as she did just with a different life situation.

Just last week I was walking Dylan home from school and he said to me Grandma I love you sooo much. And I told him I loved him too. Then he added, But I love my Mom the most is that ok? She is still my Momma. I love you second ok? I told him that makes me and Momma very happy. And he should always love his Momma the most.
So yes you will always be there, here and everywhere. You are a part of them and they of you.
Thank you for sharing with us your life. Thank you for being there for us to remember that life is to be cherished, lived and to love.
May you and your family have peace in the days to come. I send my love to you and your family.
Elaine
http--jilliansanderson.memory-of

Linda Crispell said...

I will never forget you and I've never seen you. Your family will always feel your presence.

Ana's World said...

Thinking of you. Take care. Love Ana

Miriam said...

As I walk down the school corridors I think of you and I pray for you and your family. For peace, memories and understanding.
Your family will never forget you Michelle. People who have never actually met you will NOT forget you. You are an encouragement and I wish you a smooth transition. Bill and the kids will always feel your presence.

Sabrina said...

Michelle, I happen to agree with you. I think maybe the afterlife is what we leave in other's memories. So if we are a asshole's and we are remembered as such then that is what our eternity is. Now you will obviously have a rocking eternity as you have touched so many and will live with us (complete strangers) as a person of inspiration. With your family, especially your kids you will live as someone who literally spent her dying days preparing as best she could for their futures!! What love you have shown. Though you will not be physically present the memory of your love will remain in them (And your hubby) forever.

You'll always be there... love never dies.

Jenn & Eric said...

Michelle-

My brother died 18 years ago of suicide at the tender age of 19. There is not a day that goes by that we don't remember him, talk about him, laugh about things that happened with or to him, miss him, love him. Our loved ones live on forever. You will too!

Becky said...

Good wake up call to all us vain mothers......but as you say you will BE in their hearts forever.

Lori said...

Michelle,
I too am often the one behind the camera instead of in front of it with my family. I am witness to those incredible moments that fill my heart with such happiness. Those pictures are just that for you. You are capturing on film what will be with you always and you are sharing that piece of you with your husband and children. Don't fret not being in the picture...when they see them they will think of you and remember you!

Johnny said...

Dear Michelle,
You are a beautiful writer and an amazing person! Love permeates your thoughts in this journal and your children (when grown) will remember you by it!

Thank you for sharing your experience and best of luck on your journey.

garnergirl said...

Michelle,
As long as I can remember Ive kept a book called Memories of Me for my daughter. It talks about situations that have happened in my life and how I coped. What a wonderful way to leave a mark than to share your words not only with your children, but with the world. As a longtime hospice nurse I send prayers and comfort your way.