Since I’ve been home on disability, my sleep schedule has been different. I sleep more, and I nap a lot. I also take medication every six hours (four times per day) so I have alarms set that ring every six hours. They do disturb my sleep, but I usually go right back out afterwards.
Last night I was sitting up, reading, waiting for the last alarm to ring. I’d planned to go to bed as soon as I took my pill. For some reason, I crashed about twenty minutes before it rang. When it went off, I was so sound asleep it scared me. I woke up, heart pounding, dizzy and nauseous, and my first thought was “Where is my mother?”
I can’t explain it, but I was terrified. I sat up to pick up my medicine, and my brain was racing trying to figure out why I had no recent memories of my mother. I couldn’t remember being with her at Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t remember our last conversation. I couldn’t remember if she was in the next room or in some other house somewhere. I was a half a second away from asking my twenty-three year old son where my mother was.
I am so glad I didn’t. He would’ve thought I’d flipped my lid. My mother has been dead for thirteen years. Of course I have no recent memories of her. She hasn’t been here.
Our last holidays together (Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2004) are some of the happiest adult memories I have of her. She came to my house for both, she was happy and stayed for several hours both days, and she was talkative and engaging. I believe now these two happy holidays were gifts from her. I don’t know if she knew they’d be her last with us, but she made them good ones. Holidays with my nearly agoraphobic mother were not always happy days, but 2004 was. In January 2005 she had a stroke, and by March that same year, she was gone.
I know she’s gone. I’ve accepted that and have come to terms with it. Why I thought she was still with us early this morning, I have no idea. I can only guess I was dreaming. It must have been a good dream if I missed her and wanted to find her that badly.
My mother was once the center of my universe, and I’m assuming I was a big part of hers. She had a hard time sharing me once I began dating although she liked my hubby. She flat-out refused to share me with my husband’s family after I married. She clung to her individual time with me and refused to consider joint celebrations even though it made it hard on me when my boys were little. Looking back now and remembering how much she hated social interactions, I’m more understanding of her reticence.
I’m a little like her that way. I hate social situations, too. I can force myself to get through them, but I am usually covered in flop sweat. They are hard for me, and I prefer to skip them, but I can do them. My mother never got past her aversion. She used to tell me she was proud of me and she could never do what I do (interact with others for work and social reasons). She never wanted to or had to.
I was devastated, of course, when she died. She was all that was good, kind and gentle. She never swore, and she was always a lady. Two things I can’t say about myself. She was also intensely private and shared nothing. Also something I can’t say about myself. I like to think I got the better “soft” parts of her and added in my own sass and attitude.
I’m glad my mother still visits (and socializes) in my dreams. I miss you, Mom. Say hi to Dad.
Image courtesy of Pinterest
Music has always been a huge part of my life. I remember listening to 45’s on a record player in my bedroom as a kid. I had to be all of three or four; it was definitely before I went to school. I’d put music on and ride my rocking horse! I remember listening to ‘Charlie Brown’ by the Coasters (“Why’s everybody always picking on me?”). From there I progressed to one of the original, “boy” bands, the Osmond Brothers. Thank God I graduated to Neil Diamond not long after that.
My mother listened to Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell and Tennessee Ernie Ford, but I didn’t get into country music until I was much older. My older brother was listening to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. I remember him listening endlessly to ‘Iron Man’ by Black Sabbath. That song was released in 1971. I also remember him listening to rock music on an FM radio station in his room every night, and if he was in a good mood, he’d let his kid sister listen, too.
Music was a constant at our house. What’s that cheesy slogan? Cotton is the fabric of our lives? Well, music is the fabric of mine.
Although I listened to music all the time growing up, we really didn’t see any of it live. My mother didn’t care for crowds and socializing wasn’t really her thing. We didn’t do concerts in the park or music at festivals. My family preferred their music on the radio or the record player.
One day my cousin and I decided to try our first live concert. I couldn’t recall exactly how old we were, but an online search shows the concert tour we were interested in took place in 1975. I was 16 and my cousin was 15. What my (naive) parents were thinking at the time, I have no idea.
At 16, I was quiet and shy and not at all worldly. In plain words, I had no fucking clue.
As big fans of Rod Stewart, we decided to go see his tour with the Faces (his band) when he played the Rochester War Memorial (now the Blue Cross Arena). Blue Oyster Cult was the opening act.
My parents drove us downtown and turned around and went home. Innocently, we walked into the arena, excited to see our first show. We’d seen all kinds of concerts on television. They looked like a lot of fun.
We had seats right down on the floor. We were only a few rows back from the stage. We were so excited. We took our seats, and people began to settle in around us.
Everything was going great until the lights went down for the start of the show. A tremendous rumble almost like thunder began. The seats were hooked together in groups of twos or threes. Unfortunately, mine was not fastened to my cousin’s. The man on my other side leaned towards me and yelled, “Pick up your seat and run!”
Terrified, I asked what was happening. The rumbling roar was the people in the nosebleed seats rushing down towards the stage. They were going to run in and stand in front of us. Not knowing what else to do, I did as he told me. I almost lost my cousin in the rush, but she managed to stay close to me.
No longer comfortable or relaxed, we looked up in real fear and confusion as Blue Oyster Cult took the stage. They opened with their big hit, ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’. To this day, I think they’re singing ‘don’t fear the reefer’ because as soon as the music began, that thick, sickening, sweet smell filled the air.
Up to that point, I’d lived a pretty sheltered life. I was as straight-laced as they came. I’m 59 today. I fess up. I’ve never tried weed. I had the opportunity. My brother offered it to me, at his house, just the two of us there. I was too scared to try it. He smoked it all the time. I wasn’t interested. I’m still not. I’ve smoked cigarettes. I never had the desire to try pot.
My cousin and I looked at each other. The scary crowd, the loud music we didn’t like, the grass in the air… This wasn’t what we’d signed up for. We got the hell out of Dodge!
We walked back down the street to the White Tower restaurant. (This was well before cell phones). We called my parents who had just gotten home and made them come back and pick us up! So much for our first concert.
I can look back and laugh at this disaster now, but we were in tears when it happened. Of course, I’ve since been to many concerts, and I’ve seen and done things that would have shocked my 16 year old self.
Thank God we had the nerve to try again. We opted for something very close to a “boy” band the next go-round. We went to see Gilbert O’Sullivan at a smaller venue, and we had a great time. Then we waited several years and grew up a whole hell of a lot more before we tried anything riskier. We never did see Rod Stewart (or God forbid, Blue Oyster Cult!). I still fear the reefer.
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My oldest son lost his job the day after Thanksgiving so black Friday had a different meaning for us this year. He ended up with no health insurance for a few months, and he’s a Type 1 (insulin-dependent) Diabetic. That made things a little scary around our house. I had to hang onto any extra cash I had (in case he needed financial help) so there were no gifts from Santa under our tree this year.
I try not to be materialistic, but having nothing to open Christmas morning really sucked. Much more than I thought it would. It was a depressing holiday.
I enjoyed the tree once we put it up (Hubby insisted we do so). It always looks pretty, and it’s covered with ornaments I made with my mother or that my boys made when they were small. It’s always a walk down memory lane, but yes, I was also glad to see it go this year. Ha! I just realized when I looked for a picture of this year’s tree that I don’t have one of it fully decorated. I took a picture when it was just covered with lights, and I was certain I was going to just leave it that way. It sat this way for several days before we put ornaments on. So here’s a picture of it unadorned with nothing but lights.
Things are starting to look up around here. My oldest son should be starting a new job soon. He’s just waiting to hear on whether or not he’s passed the physical exam. He’s also had several other interviews. He’s receiving unemployment, and he’s signed up for the Affordable Care health coverage. That was a huge relief off of Mom’s shoulders, let me tell you.
So we’ll let this holiday season slip by. They don’t have to all be stellar.