It’s been over a thousand days since mom died and I am still finding scribbled, unsent letters and postcards of hers in manila folders and spiral notebooks that seem threateningly infinite. I frequently curse her for not adding dates to things, so many, many of them are impossible to fix in the timeline of her too-short life.
One thing that makes me happy, though, is just the sheer quantity of empty pages she left. It sounds anti-intuitive, I’m sure, but she and I shared — and, to be fair, she is the one who instilled in me — a great love for writing, and writing implements, and new paper. There’s something profoundly hopeful about buying a new notebook.
In this I will begin my great American novel …
This one will hold letters to my great-grandchildren …
I can use this to record ideas for short stories …
I know those are the sorts of things she was thinking when she purchased yet another exquisite leather-bound journal or $1.99 college-ruled Walgreens notebook. I know because those are the sorts of things I think. And even though so many of them contain three pages of her lovely handwriting and 197 pages of blank space, it still brings me such joy to imagine the thrill she felt in line at the book store, and to know that for those few minutes she was sublimely hopeful and happy.
Here’s a few pages I found in an undated notebook of hers. Based on some of the content, she must have written them at some point between the Fall of 2010 and the Fall of 2011, but that’s as specific as I can get. It’s probably hard for anyone but me to recognize it, but the plague of commas — which I know she abhorred — is a sure sign to me that she was suffering from some sort of mental problem by this point. And the title of this entry is taken from what she had written on the inside back cover of the notebook. Just those three words.
I guess I missed the whole technology revolution. I still get confused sometimes, but, when I’m talking to people, I’m okay.
I have great fun when I’m with people, but, I think all the years of living alone are doing me in.
I am very, very luck to have, not only Lydia, but a wonderful, caring church group that I can count on.
Even Dic, has been as supportive as he can. Amber, my beautiful niece has a huge heart, and she is being very solicitous. We went for a nice walk yesterday.
Dic, however, is very concerned and doesn’t have a clue. I wish things were better, but, for now, I’m trying to just rest in God’s arms.
You might recognize that I am in a laundry room right now. It’s a quiet place, where you can think about your life. I have some fears, but I am continually asking God for the solution. I hope that I have a long time to be with the people I love and to try to be a better person.
Fear has ruled my whole life, and
No matter what, I hope that I will be with my family for as long as I can. I have lost too many lonely years.
Yet, now, I have friends, Christian friends.
I know that my behavior has been very erratic, and it scares me.
My prayer for you, is that you will always have great joy, and that we will be together in Heaven.
I feel my life winding down. I have not had much joy in my life, but I hope that you and David will be happy.
Jen, I’m afraid. I want to be whole but I am nowhere near who I was. I am afraid. I have very little, but what I have is precious to me.
I know that you and David will be fine, but my heart has never learned to love.
If only you had been closer. If only I had seen you more.
I didn’t ever want to intrude on your lives, but the loneliness really hurt. I don’t blame anyone. It just was.
Now, I probably won’t have a lot of time going ahead. I wish, like everyone, I guess that I had cherished more hours.
I’m still in the laundry room. I hope that life will turn so that I will be able to enjoy the people I love most.
I am continuing to write hoping that you will be able to fix my head! I want companionship. I want someone in my life to validate my life.
I can’t believe that I was such a failure to my kids. I feel bad that I can’t get to L.A. I will miss all the first special days and months, but I knew that would happen.