It's eleven years today that Mama died. Totally weird. I remember when it was all-consuming, when the grief was this huge, terrible thing that I had absolutely no idea what to do with. When it apparently caused me to do all sorts of things I don't remember now. When I thought nothing would ever be good again. But now it's just... normal. There have been years in there when I didn't even notice this date until it had passed, and later I would feel wretched for being so oblivious, like didn't I even care that my Mom was dead? But on days, like today, when I do remember -- all day long -- I think that I don't like this way either. I don't want to be the person who can't let go and it's not like it's her birthday or Christmas or some day that can be a celebration of the good memories. No, it's just the day I remember sitting beside her bed and telling her, before I left to open the store that day, that I loved her and if that was the last time I saw her, so be it (she had been completely non-responsive for days). The day I remember being on the phone with a vendor when my aunt interrupted the call because my mom had just died. The day that quarterly reports were due to the IRS so I had to stop crying long enough to do the figures and send them. The day I had to figure out how to tell my father, who was in a nursing home with Alzheimer's, that his wife had died and exactly who she was again. Luckily, when we did finally get him to understand, he only cried for a minute before he was distracted by a big John Deere dealership and totally forgot. I completely envied him.
There was a time, not all that long ago really, that just typing all of that would have reduced me to a useless ball of tears and snot. I'm not like that anymore. Those memories will always be with me (depending on which of Dad's genes I got, I guess) and they'll always suck, no matter what day of the year they emerge. But their edge is dulled. The first year after she died I couldn't even be in the same town, so Melissa and I road-tripped to Kirksville and rented a paddle boat for the day and drank. Tonight, Melissa and I went out for Chinese food (which Mama hated) and bought a shower curtain and some shoes. This was much better. I'd like this to be the last year I ever acknowledge the date. This isn't a date to commemorate.
Making fudge pie on her birthday is still a fine idea, though.