Home > Death, Family, Friends, Love, Personal, Silly > The photoshopped cherry on a panic-picture pie

The photoshopped cherry on a panic-picture pie

A few days ago, my sisters texted me that they’d be visiting my mom’s grave.

Why today? I wondered, before it hit me: I’d forgotten. I’d forgotten March 4 was the day my mom breathed her last breath. The day she was, as a text message I received March 4, 2010 stated, finally at peace.

I felt terrible. How could I have forgotten? How could I have failed to mark such a hugely important day?

A message from my friend Emily helped me see things a little clearer. At Joshua Tree the weekend before, she’d made a point to have our friend Briel take tons of oops-I’m-falling-off-a-cliff pictures meant to make her mom–who had helped deliver my son into this world–break into a sweat. Every time Emily posed, I giggled, remembering how I used to (mostly) lovingly push my mom’s buttons just because I could. And I remembered my mom, too.

My mom, whose mischievous ways meant she sometimes couldn’t understand how she’d raised such straight-laced children. Who took my brother out for ice cream the only time he got detention. “One of my kids has it in him!” she rejoiced.

Who once pierced her belly button, exclaiming mirthfully, “This way I’m rebellious and no one at church has to know!”

Who always made me giggle when she busted out her superhero antics, and made me want to be a superhero, too.

On Monday, Emily delivered the photoshopped cherry on her panic-picture pie:

"it worked lolol" -- emily, whose mom asked, "are you crazy playing with a snake?!?"

“it worked lolol” — emily, whose mom asked, “are you crazy playing with a snake?!?”

I laughed from my belly when I saw it. As I laughed, I felt like my mom was chuckling with me. “I like this girl!” I could hear her saying.

Later in the evening, I got choked up when my sisters sent me pictures of my niece and nephew standing on Mom’s grave. I cried while walking the dog later still, feeling guilty anew to have forgotten. After a few minutes of sniffling self flagellation, I revisited something I’d written earlier in the day:

Feel terrible that I forgot it’s been three years today since Mom died. Feel glad, too; better to remember life & birthdays than a death day.

Seeing those words, I wiped off my tears, loaded Emily’s picture again, and giggled. Again.

Just like that, my mom felt near . . . nearer by far in the laughter than the tears.

  1. March 9, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I love this. 🙂 Your friend is definitely a kindred spirit and her pic made me lol! (The use of photoshop for silliness is always its best use!) I’m certain that your mom would rejoice in knowing that you were in the midst of living and not dwelling on the day she died. My mom’s “date” is coming up on the 14th and I plan to shop that day with my youngest daughter. Mom LOVED to shop just as my youngest does. Last year, I got a tattoo on the anniversary of her death.

    • March 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

      I love that’s how you’re choosing to mark the day! The first couple of years, I made sure to have adventures so I could celebrate the goodness of being here to remember (even though it hurt) her. I like the idea of taking that day to do something sweet and life-affirming. I’m also sure Anthony is going to read your comment and endorse me doing the same thing next anniversary. He’s always working on me to get a tattoo, and he knows how much I adore you (and my mom), so, yeah. He’s gonna work this. 😀

      • March 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm

        Awwww! I adore you, too!! You must tell me your tattoo ideas. Mine is on my inner arm so I can easily look down and see it. It’s 3 birds on a cherry blossom branch– they represent my daughters and me. Then there’s a fourth bird flying overhead to represent my mom watching over us. Kalah sketched it out and she got the same one the entire length of her left bicep. My very conservative looking ( but not conservatve thinking) husband loves tattoos and wants me to get another. You should totally get one!

  2. March 9, 2013 at 7:26 am

    You are right,much better to remember good days instead of bad.Your mom is probably laughing right now with you at Emily’s picture.I know it made me smile.I lost my stepdad last year and I refused to be sad on the day he died.Instead I rejoiced that I had him and wrote about it as you are doing.Your mom sounds like she was something else and that you have a lot to make you smile when you think of her.Blessings

    • March 9, 2013 at 8:17 am

      She really was something else. I used to be embarrassed of her, but now I’m grateful I had such an impassioned, loving, silly woman guiding me through hard times and hope. I know there are more losses ahead, because that’s life. I hope what I’ve learned from this loss will help me in the future to remember not the loss but the presence that preceded–and continues beyond–it.

  3. March 9, 2013 at 7:34 am

    “Better to remember life & birthdays than a death day.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Much love to you, my friend.

    • March 9, 2013 at 8:19 am

      I almost included some of your words from last year here, because I get them now in a way I didn’t then. I didn’t include the words, but you (and them) were in my mind and have remained there for the last several days.

      Also, you should know I came back from the grocery store to find Li’l D in your Muno shirt. Seeing that and then seeing this comment made me feel set to burst from love. ♥

  4. March 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

    The best memories are the ones were we celebrated and laughed with the ones we love. If it is death day they would want us not to mourn but to live life in the remembrance of their spirit.

    • March 9, 2013 at 8:20 am

      If it is death day they would want us not to mourn but to live life in the remembrance of their spirit.

      Amen. Sometimes I toy with writing a post about how I want to be remembered, something that folks could come back to if they were struggling when I die–if they even remember I wrote such a thing, when it’s my time a hundred years from now. 😉

  5. March 9, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I am so glad that blogger/WP relented and let me see this post. Perhaps if you only remembered your mother on the anniversary of her death you would have something to reproach yourself about. Perhaps.
    Some years after my mama died, I am not entirely certain any longer of the date. But I remember her. Often. Which I believe (I hope) matters more.

  6. March 10, 2013 at 4:22 am

    My heart mother and my father passed 10 months apart (approximately). My father said at her grave, “I am done.” I understood and said,”Okay Daddy.” It broke my heart, but it was okay.

    My first grandson was born between their deaths. Neither of them ever met him. My heart mother because she had already passed. My father because he had already stopped the medications that kept him in the world, his Alzheimer’s had already taken his mind.

    I do not remember the date of either of their deaths. I have them written down somewhere, but I don’t remember. I remember their wedding date. I remember their birthdays. I remember special family reunions. Because it is me, I have wings tattooed on my shoulder and above them an eternity ring, these are my heart mother, my father and my grandson in their embrace.

    I am glad you found the bright light that was your mother in the sadness.

  7. March 11, 2013 at 6:54 am

    I knew this feeling of guilt once, but at that point I made a decision. Not only would I refuse to recognize the last day my aunt was with me, I would start doing something for her birthday. Just for me and in complete memory of her. Doing something she would have loved to be right next to me… It really is the best way to remember her. 🙂

  8. March 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Oh, honey. *hugs*

    I think you’re right though: better to remember her birthday and the good things.

    Don’t beat yourself up about forgetting. Feeling guilty only serves a purpose if you use it for something.

    Just my two cents.

  9. Val
    March 12, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Last year I forgot the anniversary of my mother’s death and was beside myself with guilt, but it’s only one day and no – neither my mum your yours would have wanted us to remember them on the day they passed out of the world, they’d want us to remember them for all the years we knew them. And there’s this: from the day that your mother gifted you with life, she extended herself into you – so while her individual self is gone, you are carrying her around with you every day.

  10. March 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I read this post a few days ago and had a brief moment of connection when I recalled my own guilt over the years in forgetting the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Today I looked at the calendar and realized that 5 days ago was 15 years since he had died. Your post immediately came to mind. I suppose my first reading of the blog was one of those life moments meant to be stored and then brought back to the foreground when necessary. In my realization today, while I again had a twinge of guilt over my selfishness in forgetting the day, I was more obsessed with the idea that I’ve now lived more life without him, then I did with him and that was harder to accept. The thought of having more years of memories made without him than with him was a difficult realization, but I reread your post and it solidified for me that those years of memories I have of him won’t ever be lost in the years of memory making I have ahead. Thank you.

  11. March 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Just to let you know I have nominated you for an award on my blog http://no1queenie.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/and-the-award-goes-to/

  12. March 18, 2013 at 6:42 am

    SImply, don’t beat yourself up over forgetting because you only “forgot” the date, not the countless memories and thanksgiving.

  13. April 26, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Darn it, now I’m all choked up. Your mom sounds like a person I would have been glad to know.

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