I was brushing my teeth last night and the memory came. I was in the hospital room with my mom, dad, sister, and baby Will. There is a cot set up under the window which looks out over the highway through Jacksonville. I remember saying to them, how can they just keep driving? Don't they know what is happening here in this room? Don't they know she's leaving us?
I continue brushing. Jeff is showering, getting ready for work but I don't say anything to him, it's too difficult to explain this altered reality of past and present residing in the same space. Again, I stop the toothbrush as it comes - sitting on her bed, trying to hug her, but she's not really able to put her arms around me, so it's really just me climbing onto her lap and pushing my body onto hers. I just want to be close to her, feel my weight on her as if somehow this will hold her here on earth a bit longer.
These bits of our time there sneak into my consciousness. Sometimes all at once, making it impossible to continue whatever it was I was doing. Other times it's just strands of those memories, seeping in and then leaving before I am paralyzed with the enormity of being motherless.
I am blessed to have an earthly father who is caring, involved, and who strives to cover all the bases as a grandparent and parent. Not in a overcompensating kind of way, merely in the knowledge that he is running the show solo. He is great. He is amazing. He stayed with my family for the entire time Ryan was in the NICU! And I know that my mom's story is not over, just being written in a different language, that of our Heavenly Father. The setting is an exotic location, a place I cannot even imagine in my humanness. The cast includes some incredible people: Christ, my grandparents, great-grandparents whom I never met, the saints of history. I rejoice in her wholeness, her health, and I envy her place with the Savior. I envy her peace and joy. But my heart still hurts. I walk among the living thinking of the dead. Admonishing myself at times for having forgotten her for a bit. Continually replaying the memories in vain attempt to not forget. Fearful that in 20 years what I can barely remember now will be lost forever. Clinging to the promise that my story is not over either and perhaps we can again share a chapter together.