Thinking Ahead–My Mother, Myself

My mother is the Queen of Preparedness. She’s always giving me detailed instructions about the future, how-to articles, and insightful books to read. You’ll never believe what she’s preparing me for now.

Friday she sent me the strangest text from her new iPhone.

I can’t find our obits. Didn’t I give you copies? Where are they?

What kind of message is this?

She’d met with the man who makes granite headstones in her hometown two weeks ago. And now this.

I couldn’t take any more. And I didn’t want to think about any of that right now.

I texted her back: You gave me some papers. Didn’t read them. Put them in the lockbox. 

The next day in her kitchen:

“Your brother must’ve accidentally thrown the obits away when he cleaned,” she said. “By the way, there’s a sack of stuff you might want on the kitchen table. I have one for Jennifer too.” (Jennifer’s my sister.)

My heart gonged.

I knew what she meant by “sack of stuff.”

Pictures from a long time ago. Love-notes from my children. Things too sentimental to throw away.

I didn’t want to dig through memories with her looking over my shoulder. I could get trapped in another world like Alice in Wonderland.

Too many emotions.

But I could see my parents’ wedding picture from 1958,

My grandmother, my niece, Mother, and me, 1992.

Enough.

I looked away from the sack. “Do we have to talk about obituaries right now, Mother? You’re only 78.” 

She pretended to straighten some papers.”I just wanted to make things easier for you.”

Oh. I swallowed the softball-sized lump in my throat.

Quickly changing the subject, she smiled and handed me an article from the sack.  “This is wonderful. It’s helpful for writing dialog. It’s called, ‘Speaking Southern.'”

“Mother!”  I pointed to her note on page one. “You even gave me instructions on how to read it!”

For Julie: take your time and read this S-L-O-W-L-Y.

We laughed until the tears rolled, and for a few minutes, nothing else mattered.

Lord, if families can laugh, surely we can get through anything. 

Has laughter helped you through a tough time or an awkward situation?

Have you had this conversation with someone you love? It’s tough, isn’t it?

Love,

Julie