Knucks Mean Namaste


She’s with me still and yes, I know she’s “in a better place” and “not suffering any more” and all that– but I am. I want my mamma! and I don’t care if that makes me sound like a titty baby and immature or if anybody thinks I’m being selfish for wishing I had her back. Yeah, I did some things right but I’d like another shot at some things too and that seems to be holding my focus tonight. I should have hugged her more and told her I loved her more. I wish I’d done more earlier on to help her with her health and with her sadness at having lost Dad. I was too wrapped up in my own shit! I was selfish. I wish I’d taken her to the movies every Tuesday night on the discount night at the theater and I hate I ever gave her a hard time about staying up watching TV all night. I should have stayed up and watched with her! I’d give every cent I have to sit up all night tonight watching movies with her. I should have offered to go with her to chair yoga instead of just suggesting she go and I should have pushed harder for her to go back to church. I actually would try not to touch her so much– can you believe that?! I felt like we needed more emotional space between us. What horseshit! In the last hour of her life I couldn’t touch and kiss her enough! I should have done more to make sure her death was more peaceful and not so scary for her. I should have never let her spend a night alone at the hospital– not one single night. I shouldn’t have put her in that stupid physical rehab place! There’s nothing they could do for her there that I couldn’t have done at home! She begged to come home a week before she was supposed to and I threw a little pouty fit so she said she’d stay. When I told her, “You can’t even walk to the bathroom” she got up and nearly danced down the hall she wanted to come home so badly. I can’t believe I was so stupid. I should have brought her home that day!!

One night I was going to eat with the Swaffords and mom and I were still in Birmingham. She was hungry and wanted to eat at Captain D’s. She would have liked to go in and sit down and eat. I told her I needed to get to the Swaffords. I don’t even remember how it happened but we ended up sitting in the car of the Captian D’s parking lot while my mother ate her box of fish. I sat impatiently waiting on her so I could then go to dinner at my friends. I am not the good son everyone says I am! I should have cooked meals for her. How many thousands of meals had she cooked for me?!

While I was living here and helping her take care of Dad and then helping her (to the extent that I was helping her at all) I paid for nothing. She bought all the groceries and took me out to eat and paid for our gas! I’m almost fifty years old! I should have been buying her anything and everything she wanted by then. She helped me so much financially in my adult life. Just think of all the things she could have done for herself with the money that she gave her deadbeat son.

—It’s a few minutes later and I actually deleted a couple of sentences where I had launched into the next “evidence for the prosecution” I had presented to prove to you what a terrible son I had been– not really terrible I guess– but definitely terrible at times and, well, I guess I just wanted to give you more examples of times when I really wish I had behaved in a more mindful and skillful way.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Those sentences came on the wave of a few tears and just in the middle of the salt-bath, my bedroom door opened. You would think that my brother would have learned to knock over the years given a couple of awkward interruptions but I reckon I’m glad that he clearly knows that my door is always open to him. My brother Chad is staying the night up here in the house where we grew up and will take some business meetings in this part of Alabama tomorrow. He’d been to CrossFit tonight and came in to visit with me a little bit when he got back. He told me that he stuck around after the WOD and talked to our cousin, Kyle, who owns the CrossFit box in Jasper. When I asked what they talked about, he said Mom.

“That’s interesting. I was just writing about her.” I told him.

My brother knows me well. He’s seen his brother go through a lot of rough stuff in this life and I’ve been at his side when he had to face some very rough stuff. I know that he could tell I had been crying.

Again, the Lord works in mysterious ways and the timing of his busting up here in my bedroom when I was in the middle of a self-flagellation about Mom was– well, timely. We talked for a few minutes and I opened up to him about some of the stuff I’d been writing to you. And I added some of the stuff that I have now deleted. There were more tears. Then I asked him if we could pray. And we prayed.

I asked God to help ease the pain I’m feeling and I prayed a lot about the gratitude we both feel for the parents we had. I prayed that we could continue to be good brothers to each other and love and support one another. I prayed that we could be the men our parents raised us to be. I prayed for forgiveness where I fell short as a son and I thanked God for my brother. I love him very much.

I still ache, missing my mother– and there are certainly still things that if I had a shot at doing them again, I’m sure I’d do better. But I have no choice but to move forward from this point and, since I can’t change anything about how I did with my parents, I can try to behave more skillfully in the relationships I have now. And I do have some beautiful relationships– too numerous to list here.

Shana, my spiritual sister is staying with us a couple of days post-New Orleans. I went to workout today and when I came back she had bought groceries for the house, cooked a beautiful meal including potato salad and deviled eggs and had cleaned the house on top of all that! I was so touched by this demonstration of love and caring. Shana’s seen some rough stuff in her life too and is powerful testament to what Divine Love can do. She was a true and good friend to my mother and she has been a true friend to this family. Our refrigerator tonight looks like somebody who loves the Key boys was in that kitchen today.

When we stopped in Auburn yesterday, when I walked in the door to collect my hugs from my nieces and nephews, something miraculous happened. That’s always a beautiful moment for me; I love this next generation of my family more than life. The miracle happened when Gracie came to hug me. My mother loved all her grandchildren “to the moon and back” and she always had a special bond with Gracie. When Gracie hugged her Unc yesterday– no, it wasn’t really like a hug, it was like she grabbed ahold of me and held me. (I’m seven pounds shy of weighing three times what she does but this little athlete is strong.) While Gracie was wrapped around me squeezing me tight, all of a sudden my mother was present in the embrace! I realize how crazy it sounds and it wasn’t just like I was just thinking of my mom– it was as if, at the same time, she was the one hugging Gracie and yet she was somehow “in” Gracie hugging me. I remember the sensation right now as I’m telling you this; I can remember what that feeling was like. It was precious to me and I won’t ever forget it.

Gracie (pictured) is really putting a lot into her running these days. She, like her parents, is a natural athlete. I know she’ll do well because she’s committed to it and has a good support network in us, her family. She also has a very special angel pulling for her from the other side, an angel named Judy.

Chad and I just did the ROMWOD for today (it’s yoga for CrossFitters)– We must have been a sight, two big men filling up the living room floor of the home our parents gave us. I could feel our mom and dad smiling down on us. The feeling was as warm as the candlelight that lit the room. At the end it was “knucks” not “Namaste” but the meaning was the same: I definitely can behold the Divinity in my brother. I hope he can see a little spark in me. The night ended with me in a much better place than when I began this blog entry. For that, I’m grateful.

See y’all tomorrow.

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