A Letter To Christine And An Apology To The Homeowners Association For Not Mowing My Yard

When Princess Diana died, I imagined many reasons her death was faked.
She was in danger, of course. There were plots and conspiracies against her.

I believed, in fact, that she hadn’t died, until the young one– the redhead– wore a nazi costume to a party. I was sure that if she were living in witness protection, that event would have brought her out: a Lady Di Lazarus forth from a fancy french middle-class castle. When she didn’t emerge then, I lost hope that she ever could.

My head works hard through the minutes I don’t believe my mother is dead.
It’s confusing, because although I don’t believe at times that she is dead, I can’t think why her death would require an elaborate faking.

And that is why I can’t mow my yard.
If she really is dead and I mow the yard, then I am the kind of person who goes around mowing the yard when she knows full well her mother is dead.

And I don’t want it. I don’t want grass to grow when my mother is dead. I don’t want the crepe myrtles to bloom or the geese to gather on Silver Lake.

What I want is to stay in Unionville where last she was alive. And I want everyone else to stay there, too. I want it to be two weeks later and she is still living and Janet brings Ava and Gus to see her. We cook out. And laugh like crazy.
I want George and I to pack some lunches and load up our folks in their wheel chairs and on their pain meds, and take them fishing at Punch Courtney’s pond. Like we used to do. Like we talked about doing just before Dr. Fairley called and said the test results weren’t good. Like we still thought we could do until the minute came when Mom’s last breath went and we couldn’t anymore.
And if the two weeks later thing can’t be, then I still want to be in Unionville with everyone else who lost her, too, and I want us to be together while we fashion a new normal for ourselves.
I want anything other than this current thing, where I am needing to call her and can’t.

5 Responses to “A Letter To Christine And An Apology To The Homeowners Association For Not Mowing My Yard”

  1. I wish that I could come over and mow your yard for you.

    Don’t worry about staying in Unionville. She’ll follow you wherever you go.

    I’m sure of it.

    I have proof. Some friends and loved ones never really left me. I’m being serious.

    xo, Julia

    “she’ll follow me wherever i go”. thanks, julia. i’m counting on that.

  2. Oh my dear!
    This letter brought tears to my eyes before and now again.

    She is here, in your longing, your wild lawn, your ways and memories.
    Knowing you, i feel i know a bit of her too.

    She’s obviously glorious.

    So much love to you.

    you say everything just right. thank you for it.

    and you know what else? i think she has something to do with the frogs that keep popping up in odd places at odd times.

  3. Julia and C really do know just what to say–for me, its much more of a struggle! All I can say is… mow the lawn, travel to Fiji, drape yourself in life’s experiences–in that zest, you’ll find N — cheering you on!

    well, pally, you say what you struggle to say very well. i don’t feel it quite yet, but i am hopeful that the day will come.

  4. Clancey,
    I can only say that I understand so very well how you feel. My father died years ago and I still feel bad about going on without him. I wish there were something I or anyone could say to make the pain go away. Christine is right, she is there in your love for her, your joyous memories, your everyday small actions, the music you listen to – all of it.

    i’m sorry for your loss, annie, and very thankful for your support. the day before yesterday, i noticed the crepe myrtles were waking up. yesterday i decided to “fake it til i make it” and i mowed the yard. today i woke to find geese had gathered here on silver lake. the season turns.

  5. When my father died (1981) it seemed so rock hard final – impossibly gone beyond my touch. When I brushed his hair and looked at that body which once spoke to me and went off to work and lay under the car while I handed him tools on a freezing winter night… I realized there was more than just this silent relationship between son and corpse… I became aware this life had vistas I was yet to witness. I knew there was no need to say I’m sorry or I wish. I knew he was in a place of perfect understanding and I smiled with him to this day. That is not to say it was easy, but it was less lonely.
    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers Clanceyjane.

    qazse. your phrase “impossibly gone beyond my touch” silenced me for days. last week i spent some time with my mother’s sisters. it was there, in the midst of them, i caught sight of the vistas and felt less lonely– exactly as you described.

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