February is a difficult month for me. Oh, I know, lots of folks suffer through February. It can be a dreary month; and by the time we’ve gotten through November and December and January we’re worn down by winter. And can’t wait for Spring.
But that’s not my problem.
Three beloved family members have been taken from me, in February. Stolen, I sometimes think. My cousin, who was more like my sister. My mother’s twin sister, who was my other mother, my confidante and friend. And my mother.
Cheryl (my cousin) passed a long time ago. In 1976, when she was only twenty-four years old, of what was diagnosed as fulminating hepatitis. Which it couldn’t have been, because her dad died of the exact same thing when she was thirteen months old. Clearly she’d inherited something. So much for the accuracy of autopsies.
Anyway, she died on February 15. Her mother, on February 3, 2000; and my mother on February 26, 2007.
Bizarre, isn’t it? That the three of them would all die in the same month. Like some strange, twisted, cruel co-incidence. Or, maybe not. I’ll never know. Or will I?
What’s really a bit spooky is something my mother told me, not all that long before she died. She said she’d been having the most vivid dreams about my aunt, night after night, for months. She said they were so real, she’d look around the room when she woke up, expecting to find her, sitting there, in a chair.
She’d wake up, still talking to her.
Sick as she was, my mother’s death was unexpected. So it isn’t like she had doom and gloom on her mind. Not that she would have, anyway. She certainly wouldn’t have been thinking about her mortality. When it was her time, she’d have gone kicking and screaming all the way. Nobody had more of a zest for life than my mother did. So leaving this earth was not a subject she dwelled upon.
It bothered me, though. It was like a dark cloud. A premonition. I never said anything to my mother, of course. Or anyone else. Until this very minute. But it filled me with dread.
For me, it was as if my aunt was visiting. Trying to convince my mother to ‘come over’ to the other side.
Honestly, it wouldn’t have surprised me. Because those two were so close, you would have thought they were physically attached to each other. And mentally. And emotionally. Even spiritually. It was like they shared a heart and a brain. Which in some, abstract way, they did. They were, after all, identical twins. One egg.
Everyone knew how much my mother missed my aunt. So no one would have been surprised to learn my aunt still missed my mother. Even in the after life. But still, it pissed me off.
“You’ll just have to wait”, I’d say to my aunt. Or at least, to her spirit. “I still need her”. “Leave her alone”. “Leave us alone”. “Go AWAY!” “Not now.” “Not yet.” “Just wait!!”
She didn’t listen to me, though. Did she?
Then again, maybe she wasn’t sent to do the convincing. Maybe she was sent to do the accompanying. To hold my mother’s hand. To make sure she didn’t have to travel alone.
That’s a nice thought, isn’t it? Comforting.
And it makes sense. Because, in life, that’s exactly what they did for each other. They were always there to guide. To share. To assist. To laugh together. To cry together. They were sisters. Soul mates. Best friends. They supported each other in life. So why not after life?
Hopefully, they hooked up. Found each other. I like to think they did. All of them. And a host of others, including my dad.
Lovely, don’t you think? Not that it makes it any easier for me. They say it gets easier. I’m not so sure, honestly. It’s less ‘raw’. The pain dulls. You stop grieving. You get on with living. You experience joy. You laugh. You do. You go. You love.
But you never stop missing those you’ve lost.
At least I haven’t.