“There’s a moment you’re know your f*****. Not an inch more room to self-destruct. No more moves, oh yeah, the dead end zone. Man you just can’t call your soul your own. But the thing that makes you really jump is that the weirdest s*** is still to come.” (Spring Awakening, Broadway Musical Tony winner 2008).
The moment I knew was when I sat there in a room full of smart, articulate, beautiful, wise, and passionate women I realized that the whole point of the Salon this evening was for everyone to participate. At that moment I was struggling to speak. The topic was expectations and achievements in our lives. The conversation, of course, centered on our parents and their expectations of us. As my heart became full with memories of my mother and all the emotions that still accompany them, twenty plus years later. I knew it would be hard to squeak out even a few semi coherent words. I looked for my openings and tried to find a moment where I could throw in, “I agree with Susan,” followed by some insignificant little tidbit to add to the conversation.
I guess that was not my destiny. Our ever enigmatic host looked right at me and said, “Jamie the story behind 10 percent is interesting will you tell us about the expectations and achievements along your journey?”
Damn it …
All the pithy answers went out the window and my brilliant insight was lost. I stumbled through my feelings and thoughts and tried to hold it together, complete with, a quivering voice and my view of the room looked like an underwater show. I heard my sister’s voice, “Don’t cry, it isn’t professional.” She is right; however, I was here, emotions raw and fighting to hold it together in a room full of virtual strangers.
I wish I know what it was that caused these moments. I don’t remember if I was a big crier before my mom died but I sure am one after. Maybe it is that the sorrow I carry in my heart that is always on the edge of everything I do, no matter how fabulous, insignificant, good, bad, big, or small. There is little I can do when the moment hits. It comes in a nanosecond and it comes on assured and strong. Then it is there and it can only be describe as a longing, “I just wish she were here, not in spirit, but in flesh and blood, in all her skinny legs, crooked smile, knowing eyes, curved shoulders, animated hands, controlled laugh, and Aqua Net infused hair.”
My mother had been gone three years and I was dealing with, her death, as well as a young adult could—meaning, I had not dealt with it. I had graduated college and was in Europe doing the prescribed post-graduate backpacking trip. We were in Greece staying at a Backpackers hotel with lots of activities, alcohol, and a fabulously small room overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. We also had the big luxury of an in-room phone, which we used to update our families and assure them we were still alive and well. One evening, as I sat on the balcony, drinking a beer and waiting for my friend to get ready, I settled in to enjoy the view. The sun was setting and the closer it came to kissing the horizon the more it became a rich and heavy visual … it was overwhelmingly beautiful.
Without thinking I went to pick up the phone to call my mom and share the amazing event I was witnessing. I was at least half way through dialing when it hit, when that seed of sorrow sprung and took root in my soul. It was in that moment that my life changed forever and I finally realized that I would never be able to call home again.
Now, twenty plus years later, here I am at this lovely Salon event being asked a very simple question and Greece, the phone, and the pain were in every muscle of my body. Maybe it was the amazing sunset we witnessed over the Pacific right before the event got underway, maybe it was being in a room full of fabulous women, maybe it was realizing how many achievements my mom had missed or maybe, just maybe it is simply that I always miss her.