Sunday, May 15, 2005

A happy memory returns

I know from losing loved ones over the years that it takes time for the good memories to reappear after the pain of loss.

February 6, 2004, was one of the worst days of my life. On that day, my Mom died. I still hurt, and I suppose I will for a long time. Just typing "my Mom died" brought tears to my eyes, but today's post is about a sign of healing.

While watching this morning's CBS Sunday Morning (a favorite show of mine), I saw a piece on a guy who is an expert creator of topiary. These days, I understand that topiary is the art of carving plants into shapes, often animal shapes.

At the age of 17, however, I hadn't heard the word topiary. For whatever reason, I just didn't know the word.

It was the summer of 1983. My Mom, my younger brother and I were in southern California to attend the wedding of my cousin, as well as getting in a week of sightseeing. One day during our visit, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. The shrubs out front had been carved into various animal shapes.

As we were entering the restaurant, my brother and I both pointed to one and said, "it's a dog." My Mom said, "it's topiary." Not getting the point, we both repeated, "it's a dog!" At that point, my Mom again says, "it's topiary."

My brother and I look at each other, exchanging our best "what's wrong with her?" look, and say, even louder, "it's a dog!!" At that point, my Mom is laughing. Having too much fun, she just repeats, "it's topiary!"

Somewhere around this time, we caught on. Still, it was a funny moment.

As I watched the show this morning and heard the word topiary, I also heard the joint cry of two teenagers, "it's a dog!" and could see my Mom smiling. It was a nice moment but a hard one, too. I was smiling with tears in my eyes.

I'm healing, but it will take a long time. Still, it was nice to be able to smile and enjoy a memory of the most wonderful lady I'll ever know; as far as I'm concerned, the most wonderful lady who ever lived.


SAMerican Revolution said...

I think it's wonderful you can find happy memories and be thankful for them. It will take time, but more and more of these happy memories will surface and they will bring comfort.

Knottyboy said...

Such simple moments set in the sun with your brother and mom nearby. Mom as the adoring teacher, the two of you as the eager students. Dog topiary... quick and easy; mom just smiling to herself at a new word for the boys. Great memories hon. She was right there with you when that memory was triggered, smiling at your recollection. Have a pleasant week.

Bruce said...

That is so sweet. I love this memory of yours, Jess.