Lately, I've been thinking about my parents which is never good because it makes me sad. Sadness is hard and laughter is easy, so, I choose the latter whenever possible. In my Coping Mechanism Tool Kit, Laughter is always first and Intellectualization is second. After those two, well, there's nothing but loose screws rolling around in the bottom of the box. So, unable to laugh my way out of this pensive nostalgia, I want to understand why I am thinking about my parents so much.
This picture of my parents is my favorite - they look so happy. It was 1967 and, a year later, they would have me. Eight years after that, they would divorce. Each of them went on to marry other people but neither of them were ever really the same. During my last conversation with my mother, she told me that my father was the love of her life, her soul mate, and it's so easy to get caught up in this romantic version of the past. A fairy tale, even one with such tragic heroes, is comforting. Reality is always more complicated than that, however.
My father died in 1989 and, as most of you know, my mother died last summer and I find myself grieving for them both. Maybe it's because I feel alone is some profound way, unmoored by the way death can sever ties to the past. Maybe it's another part of growing up. Maybe there is no explanation at all.
The night before last, I had a dream about my mother:
My cell phone rings and I look at the caller ID but it says "Unknown Caller". I hesitate but answer because so few people have the number. I say, "Hello?" and my mother's voice says, "Hello Vikki". I say, "Mom? Is that you?!" She says, "I don't know how much I can say because I don't know how all this works. I just wanted to check on you." I start to cry and my mom says, "Now Vikki, you are okay." I cry harder and the words pour out with my tears. I tell her that I feel lost sometimes, that I get scared, that I feel like I don't know what I'm doing most of the time. She tells me, "Vikki, you think too much. You are thinking way too much about all of this." My tears subside as I try to hold onto her words. She tells me that she has to go and then adds, "You are fine honey. Really, you are."
I am nothing if not rational and I don't like feeling as if I have stumbled into my own episode of Touched by an Angel. C'mon! A cell phone call from The Great Beyond? It's rather trite. Still, it makes me wonder. Maybe there is something to this witchy woo woo businesss. Maybe my brain is dredging up memories of conversations past to provide comfort now. And maybe, just maybe, it simply is what it is...reassuring.