The last time I posted here it was as an announcement for a book I wrote called Finding Nine. At the time I told myself and others the book was not about the son I lost. And in fact it was inspired during a road trip with his daughter long before he was even ill. My loyal readers though seemed to know the truth while I continued to find pleasure as I continued to write surrounded by my own denial. The kind of denial that stays with a mother long after her child has died.
This month I’m once again writing in the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word count rough draft challenge. As I write it comes to me there is no way for me as a newbie writer to write anything that I do not know. So in goes an overheard conversation, a detail taken out of my own life, a stolen vignette from someone else’s, a piece or many pieces of my son’s story. His life, who he was, who I wanted him to be, the man he became. Little bits and pieces here and there making up for his absence in my real life. In fiction he is always by my side. I write in a character by his name during the rough draft, changed later on. But while I write it is him who comes to life on the page, or parts of him mixed in with someone of my imaginings.
He is beside me. This is what I forgot recently while I sat ensconced in the weight of misery. Putting off writing until I felt lighter and less alone. But he is here, right here with his voice whispering details in my ear. Thank you Jason, Write on!
Happy Mother’s Day to you. This was another first for me – being without a child of my own to get a hug from. (Sadly not even our grand girls called or came by…. a topic for another blog perhaps). The week leading up to Mother’s Day was actually fine. I knew what to expect but when the day was here it was like being in a rudderless boat.
Now I should say here, Jason was not the most reliable when it came to pinning him down for a visit on Mother’s Day. He always called though, and came along sometime during the day. In his youth he brought along a bouquet of flowers, picked en-route, regaling me with a verbal picture of the amazing garden he had swiped them from. Pleased to see him and to get the flowers we would talk gardens and I would provide food, I loved to watch him eat!
When he had children of his own it would be an early morning stop for pancakes allowing the girls mother to sleep in. Last year he came all on his own, I’m not sure if it was exactly on Mother’s Day but it was our Mother’s Day visit; by then he was sick and on chemo too. He drove us to the beach for a walk and talk, this was one of the last times he drove me in his truck, he was wearing an orange T shirt.
Going through photos today, trying for a semblance of organization either chronologically or by category such as pictures with us, pictures with his children, or with his cousins or friends or with his dogs…When Jason was first diagnosed he spent three weeks in hospital. Most days the kids would come for a visit after school and I’d be there either to stay over night or for all or part of the day. On occasion his best pal Mac the yellow lab would make an appearance. The day Mac came and sat so calmly for this picture Jason could not wait to see him. All day he had it in his mind that soon Mac would be visiting.
Jason used to say there are two types of people, those who really like dogs and those who don’t like them so much. Jason and I are both in the first group. When he met his wife he already had a dog, a pit bull named Kato. She was gentler than her breed is known to be and I credit Jason for that. Mac is just a big softy by nature. Jason was born in 1970 which on the Chinese calendar is the year of the dog. He grew up to be loyal, loving, faithful with a kind and open heart…just like a dog.
I wish we had been aware Jason had such a short time and then our time might have been used in a different ways. Instead of planning for the future and looking ahead we could have looked to today. It wasn’t until his last three weeks that the good of each day was recognized in the moment. And I know how lucky I am to have had any moments at all. Which reminds me of an old Sanskrit message:
Yesterday is but a dream
Tomorrow is but a vision and
Today well lived Makes
Every yesterday a dream of happiness
and Every tomorrow a vision of Hope
Look well therefore to this day!