June 3, 2014

Dearest Mamalee…

I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. I guess that means I’m getting back more to my normal life (whatever normal means). When I first left home, I always reserved Sundays to call you guys and I never missed one. No matter what else was going on, Sunday was always “call home day.” And then as we got into more of a routine, and it became easier to make time to call, I’d call other days, and Sunday kind of became less important. If I talked to you on Monday and Thursday and Friday, Sunday wasn’t so unmissable. Of course, there would always be busy weeks, and maybe we’d only talk once, but we always talked at least once – at first it was because I knew how much you appreciated it, but then it became about how much needed it. Anyway, all I’m saying is that it’s good for me to be busy sometimes and not busy sometimes; to write sometimes and to not write sometimes. It feels like how life was before.

My therapist  (this is a different one from before, Mom – her name is Elizabeth and she’s young and so wonderful. She just sits there and asks me questions and says “I wonder if…” instead of trying out all of her new theories and treatments on me. It’s at this place called My Healing Place which also hosts free group sessions twice a month. It’s really been helping to talk to someone.) – she suggested this idea of a Grief Box (I’m calling it the “Mom Box”) in which I put all of the things – photos, cards, memories – that make me think of you, and then I go through it once a day and allow myself to grieve. It’s making a space for grief so that I’m not always squashing it down and then it just bursts out at inopportune times. She says that because I’m swallowing it, it builds and builds and builds, and then things happen like sobbing in the grocery store, or having to cancel a babysitting job because I can’t get out of bed, etc. She gave me this assignment last week, and I put the box together one day and then looked at it this morning. So… I kind of failed at the every day part of the task… But it’s better than nothing.

Most of the box is letters from you that you attached to care packages or envelopes of mail. A lot of them are from my freshman year of college. I don’t know how you managed the time to do all of that, all of the time, month after month. You were so intentional about it – about keeping in touch, about sending me what I needed, about asking me to do things in that sneaky way (you never told me to do anything – just asked very convincingly). You were so intentional about thanking me for the things I did that you liked – calling Nana, sending birthday cards, calling every Sunday. I was just thinking about how I tried so hard to make you proud – when really, you were proud of me all along for just doing things that came naturally. That feels so good, Mom. You loved me – you were proud of me – for just being me.

Wish you could see this right now! A little gecko just ran across the porch and jumped onto the fence! It’s just hanging out and I’m waiting for Mosby to notice him and chase him away…. Whoop! There he goes! Under the fence and out into the wilderness.

The other thing I wanted to tell you – I reupholstered a chair! I think you’d definitely be proud of this. It’s not perfect, of course – but I don’t think it’s half bad. We got outdoor fabric so Alex and I can have an easy chair on our back porch. I think it’s going to look a little silly, but at least now I”ll have a really cozy place to drink my coffee in the mornings. Someday we’ll have a great porch like you and Daddy.

One last cup of coffee is waiting for me, so cheers to you, Mom. I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you, forever and forever.

– Robin

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