A Solstice Dance With My Best Girl


11:46 am tomorrow is the Summer Solstice. I’m not altogether sure what happens at that– oh yeah, the days start getting shorter again.

Remember when I was going to go dancing at The Gizmo a few weeks back– then it didn’t happen? Tonight’s the night. Mom and I are going dancing. I doubt I’ll dance until 11:46 am (then again, who knows) but I am going to dance my heart out for as long as this body will move. I need to sweat. I need to cry. I need to get lost in the music. Mom was my first dance partner, on the highly polished red asbestos tile floor of our kitchen when I was a little boy. Tonight, we dance again, Mom.

I’ve actually had some more moments of joy today, which gives me hope. However, that joy is balanced by some more memories of how I could have done better by mom. I was not perfect. Y’all know that. You know who I’m talking about if you’ve been reading my blogs more than a minute. I’m a very flawed individual. I won’t delineate the points that occurred to me today because I don’t want to spiral but there are a few of them– regrets I mean– and it will take a while and some praying and “work” to let it all go.

My sister-in-love, Krystle sent me a text today telling me to check my deleted messages in voicemail for any from Mom, y’know, just to hear her voice again. There were two. The first I permanently deleted forever. It was 8 seconds of her trying to leave me a message through the re-breather mask. It took me immediately back to the trauma of last week. I never need to hear that again. But the second one was beautifully appropriate. It was Judy at her most effervescent and happy. She was not only my mom, she was my best friend. She said, “Hey! I just thought of something but I can just tell you when I see you again. That’s okay, I’ll talk to you later.” And that was it. It has occured to me too that she will always be preserved in memory and for those who never met her in this life on the documentary. Millions have an opportunity to know what a wonderful lady my mom was in this life. Now she continues outside of restriction. Wopila.

My friend Lolly had me to dinner tonight at her house with her lovely family. It was relaxing and fun. She will ritually burn the straw man tonight in symbolism of letting go of what no longer serves. (Tonight, instead of tomorrow as she will be at church. She still practices her Christian faith and, obviously, sees no harm in rituals that had origins outside of that religion. She’s my favorite kind of Christian.) She invited me to add something to be relesed. I added “I release any and all feelings of guilt and shame around the times when I could’ve done it better with regard to taking care of my mother. This and all things, of course, if it be in accordance with the will of God.” I still haven’t burned the dead flowers that I collected from Mom’s grave. Perhaps I–

Wow. I just looked to my right. I’m sitting in the front porch swing where Mamma and I sat for hours together throughout my life. When Dad died, we got a lot of live plants. I guess people thought Mom would take care of them. The irony is her green thumb was a pale yellow at best and I’m the one that got my grandmother’s (her mother) ability to tend plants. I thought it would be good for Mom to take care of the plants from Dad’s service. “Part of the process” and all. I bought her pots and soil and gloves and tools. She just let them sit there and die. She was too depressed. And somehow I felt like it wasn’t for me to save them. Maybe letting them die was “part of [her] process.” But now, that can go into the growing pile of regrets. Why didn’t I take care of those plants? Would it have killed me? There were probably ten big, beautiful house plants– rubber trees, corn plants, peace lilies, birds of paradise, schefflera. I just let them all die. She would have probably pitched in if I made the effort– got her started. I’m an asshole. We knew that. I thought maybe I’d have the opportunity to make a “living amends” with the live plants from her funeral but since there was no widow, people assumed there wouldn’t be anyone to care for them– except for four. And I am going to take care of those four as best I can– “the best I can”– that’s all I can do at this point.

I’m going to take the leaves of that dead corn plant over there and make my own straw man for Summer Solstice. I’m going to burn him with Mom’s funeral flowers at 11:46 tomorrow. I am going to ask Mom’s forgiveness. I am going to ask God to help me let all that go– unless there’s more I need to learn from it. I don’t want to go through any of those lessons again.

(I have here deleted some negativity for the benefit of us all. May it go up on smoke with tomorrow’s pyre.)

It’s 20:03 and it’s time for me to start thinking about getting ready. I might go to a movie before heading out to the bar. (I’ll be drinking ice water.) The kids do it so late these days. Was I ever that young?

See y’all tomorrow.

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