April through July…a tough time in my history. Mom died in May and that’s also the month of Mother’s Day. Her birthday is in July. So..basically, when the Mother’s Day cards start showing up in April, the reminders start. The reminder that I don’t have a mom. And, now, the reminder I don’t have a dad.
I used to buy Dad a Mother’s Day card because…well..he was also my mom! The first time I gave him one, he shook his head and said “What the hell you do that for?” But I could also see that shit-eatin grin on his face too…he loved it and loved it every other time after that I got him a card. So to me..Mother’s Day is now a double whammy to the gut because both of my mom’s are gone.
So, how do I cope? Well..I focus first and foremost on my best friend. My big sister, Nona, who I nicknamed “Mom” years ago. She was only eight when Mommy died and she took over the mothering on the ranch. She’s not like me. She’s more quiet, reserved and has always been more of a loner. I’m the loud mouth; the instigator; the one who comes out swingin in a fight. Not her. No…Nona won’t slash your tires if she’s pissed at you. She’ll just quietly loosen the valve stems to let the air out. Nona is also a mom AND grandma now. She’s my inspiration. Truly..my wind beneath my wings. So, when April rolls around, I focus on her and what a beautiful person she is. I also focus on all the other moms out there. I see their posts on Facebook about how much they love their children and these beautiful messages touch my heart.
I get through May much easier these days. Then…June comes and it’s kind of okay…just a period of waiting. Kind of like April because I know there’s another milestone coming up.
July 17th. It slowly rolls around and I do the math. This year she would have been 88. Wow…hard to imagine she would be that old. Why? Because her face is frozen in time at the age of 20-something in her nursing picture. She CAN’T be 88…she’s still 20. She’s still 41 – how old she was when I was born. She’s still 44 – how old she was when I died.
My niece, Amy, shares her birthday. I wish it were my birthday.
I guess God had other plans.
July passes. Then fall…the time I miss Dad the most. I miss the butchering and watching him read the spleen of a pig to predict the weather. I miss seeing him on his old Massy Harris combine cutting our piddly-ass crop of wheat. I miss smelling cigarette smoke mixed with sweat and Old Spice aftershave. I miss hunting with him and riding over country that would make most men pee their pants in our old Jeep Willys pickup. I miss watching him slap his knee in laughter of pride when I shoot a deer with one shot…open sights.
October comes. We used to have family reunions on the ranch but like the tumble weeds that roll over the dried gumbo at the Ranch, we’re all scattered now. Dad’s birthday approaches..October 25th. I miss making him DBC (Damn Black Cake) or carrot cake…his two favorite cakes…from scratch.
Then, October passes and Thanksgiving and Christmas come around. Memories flood through my head…only to be subsided just enough to get me through the winter.
Starting next April, the reminders will come around in full force again.