It can’t be helped – as you become an elder in your family -in your circle of friends – in society – there are just some days that…( ok – please excuse the word that I always told my students not use – sigh)…that…for the lack of a more expressive word – suck. I mean that literally as well as figuratively…especially since it falls on the day prior to my birthday.
D-day took on a new meaning for me 10 years ago. It became one of ‘THOSE” days. Those kind of days that act like a huge vacuum cleaner…sucking up the joy…sucking up the energy….sucking at the memory of a loved one’s voice…their eyes when they laughed…their arms around you – into a bag hidden deep in the memory vaults.
The kind of day that knifes the central part of us with the same sharp edge as it did when it first carved it’s notch in our life journey.
Days that replay over and over and over…and tomorrow is one of those days for me.
Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the day my mom danced over the rainbow bridge for her first dance with my dad in heaven.
I don’t like sad days – nor do I deal with them well. Don’t imagine that many of us do. Consequently, I try to do something that will change the “sad” tears into happy tears. So, on the 10th anniversary of my father’s death, January 9th, I married my high school sweetheart. It worked. While I’m still teary-eyed and full of flashbacks, I’m also flashing back to one of the happiest times of my life as well. Obviously, that wasn’t going to work this time around…I don’t think polygamy is legal – yet -anyway.
Mom and I had this on-going thing about hair. I quit dyeing my hair when I was in my 30’s, and she was not impressed. (Sidenote:it started turning gray when I was 18 – gee thanks, Dad, for those “gray genes”) She always said, “Who wants to see an old, gray haired lady looking out at you in the mirror?” The old black and white pictures show her hair dark, but I really don’t remember her that way. For most of my formative years, her hair rivaled Lucille Ball’s. It became the beacon I looked for when I performed on stage – the light that ventured into my inner city classrooms with chocolate milk and cookies – the red, sticky, hard strands that brushed my face when she tucked me in at night after our prayers had been said. It was her signature in more ways than I can count.
Even when macular took most of her eye sight, she continued to dye her hair and apply her make-up everyday. My refusal to wear make-up was the other thing we spared back and forth over, Most times, even now, I have to have someone show me how to apply make-up when I am in a theatre production. Mom, on the other hand, wore her make-up religously and didn’t feel dressed without it. As her body weakened, I sometimes would help her with her make-up. She would purse her lips just as she had done so many times throughout my childhood. The memories still flash brilliantly across my mind – lying on her bed, watching her get ready for parties – date nights with dad – Legion minstrels – going to work in a drycleaning truck or a village office, she always had her make-up applied perfectly.
So, I decided to take this “sucky” day and reverse the air flow. Blowing life back into those old debates, I decided to dye (a portion…mind you…I can’t let her win the argument) my hair, get a facial and tell a few jokes (which is a whole ‘nother story). So here you go, Mom, my gift back to you as you look down from heaven. A flash of red, a slash of lipstick, a smudge of eyeshadow and some belly laughter. Dance another one with Daddy and know that the seeds you planted live on – “….from generation to generation…for henceforth and forever”.
“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says Yahweh. “My Spirit who is on you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seed’s seed,” says Yahweh, “from henceforth and forever.” Is 59:21