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Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Hope You Dance

Mother’s Day 2010, Mom and her girls.

Her last direct order to me was, “Get those babies home and ready for their dance, take a lot of pictures. Life is going to happen… if I’m here or not. You have to live. It’s okay. I’ll be fine, honey. See you tomorrow. I love you.”

Tomorrow never came.

That was the last time I saw my mom. Those are the last words she said to me in person. We talked again later on the phone and said good night. Yesterday she left us to be with Dad, and my sisters Mary Kay and Lucy, along with all of the other loved ones we have lost through the years.

As much of an attention whore as she always was, she wanted her illness kept on the down-low. She never liked sharing sad or difficult news. Even in her final day she had all of us laughing.

I felt so bad not being with her and my sisters at the very end. But, I followed her orders and got Lane 1 and Lane 2 back home and ready for prom. “You have to live,” echoed in my head as I went through the motions.

Before the kids left, the call came in. She was gone. I tried to not react. She wouldn’t want their prom ruined. She would want me to tell them in the morning. I didn’t cry. I didn’t react. I kept on living… but didn’t want to.

I could hear her laughing at me as I was gluing Lane 2’s fake nails on. I accidentally glued my fingers to her fingers…twice. And then I glued the kid to the table.

Lane 1 can read me like a book. As soon as he had a moment with me alone, he said, “It happened. She’s gone isn’t she?”

“I wasn’t going to say anything until tomorrow.”

“I know,” he said as he hugged me and we tried to not cry. “We can tell Sis tomorrow.”

An hour later, Lane 2 was interrogating her father. She knew too as word spread like wild fire through the world wide web. I thought she was preoccupied with getting ready, and had no idea she was on the internet reading a Facebook post, “Rest in peace, Grandma.” She didn’t want to burden me by asking if she was really gone. She knew I was trying to protect her. So she did what any little girl would do. She went to her dad and badgered him until she got an answer.

She came back in the house, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I know.”

“She wouldn’t want you sad. As we were leaving the hospital, she told me to get you kids ready for your dance.”

As my little girl wrapped her arms around me, the feeling of role reversal nearly overtook me. Maybe it was me who really needed to wait until tomorrow.

So we followed that final order and we lived.

Lane 1 and his beautiful girl.

Lane 2 and her Jonas Brother looking boy.

My babies.

When the word cancer was brought up, all I could do was wish/hope/pray for a quick and painless journey. And that is what she got. She died in her sleep less than a month from being diagnosed.

No doubt she is at peace, with Dad.