It’s been a month.
My mom always used to say the woman we knew was not the woman who raised her. Like a good wine, time made her smoother. Like an onion over a fire, as time went by she became sweeter and sweeter. So much so that in the last years of her life she actually morphed into a fairy, flying about like a butterfly, from happy thought to happy thought, in awe of the universe that unfolded around her, and grateful for every morsel she got to taste.
I phoned her that day. God knows how many years had gone by since I’d last phoned her. We spoke on occasion, but usually the calls were initiated by my mother, her daughter. Over the years we have only called each other directly on a handful of occasions. She called as I was going into labor, preparing to welcome my first child. I called as she was preparing to exit the stage. I like to think that the timing of our calls speaks of our connection.
It wasn’t a coincidence. I’d had a dream, one I don’t remember but felt like a nightmare at the time, and I woke up to tell my husband “I’m worried about my grandma”.
So I called. And on the other end, just as I would a few days later in a somber mausoleum, I could hear the bells of her heart rattle and tinkle. We spoke of nothing in particular.
As she aged her body shrunk, and with it her sense of entitlement. She took up less space physically but also tried to take up less space in our lives. She was always grateful for any amount of notice you would give her. She would put out requests, for a visit for example, and immediately take it back, acknowledging out loud how she understood it would be hard to find time in a busy and important schedule for her. That is my one regret from our last conversation. I wish I’d said: “Take all the space you want, you’ve earned it. You’ve touched so many lives. You’ve saved so many castaways, you’ve inspired us all who were lucky enough to hear your tinkerbells”
Bonvoyage Mamimi, ‘til next time.