The 52nd Card

There I was, alone in a closet in Mom’s town home.  As a matter of fact I was alone in the house, late at night still searching.  Searching for any clues that were left to find.  It was less that two days since she passed ‘to the great beyond’, as my father liked to say.  I prefer to just say passed, like into the next life, whatever that is.

I had spent the entire day with my two brothers and two nieces going through every room, every closet, and every spot where we could uncover a memory.  We were divvying up her things.  We were sharing memories and we were discovering new memories.  The air was festive in a reverent way.  We were celebrating her life, one last time.  We were happier than it felt like we should be.  She was such a special person to us all.

We found a large picture album with pictures, invitations, and momentos from her year as a debutant in high society Dallas.  She had never shared that with any of us.  We thought we knew her completely having spent our entire lives knowing her, yet there were memories we had never shared.  We found her wedding dress.  Madison tried to fit into it and we were amazed at how petite mom had been.  We found one thing after another and we laughed, and cried, often.

Searching, alone, always searching, it was like I was going to find one more clue that was going to shed some new light.  Like I needed one more clue as to how she had lived her life.  I didn’t feel like I had a full deck.  I was looking for that 52nd card so I could play the memory game one more time.  I don’t know why I didn’t feel like I had enough clues, enough memories.  Maybe it was just my insatiable need for more connection, not having had enough in an entire lifetime.  Odd…

And then, all alone in that closet, as suddenly as the day had gone by, I felt this chill overwhelm my body.  It felt like Mom had passed right through me.  It felt like Mom was saying her goodbyes.  I knew that would be the last time I felt her.  I spoke to her out loud.  I said thank you, and good bye.  I was grateful for her, and I was grateful to have a mother I love, and I was even more grateful to have a mother who loved me.

Inspired by the writing exercise entitled “The Full Weight” in the book, Crafting The Personal Essay by Dinty Moore on p 10.  

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