Page 11 - Scene Magazine 41-12 December 2016
P. 11

he went to visit his friends, Peter and Paul that lived far away. I didn’t understand then, but I know now, he passed away. Mom never talked about her family and I never asked.
If I had to guess, and that is all I have, maybe she was disowned by her family for being with child and single. She was considered a disgrace so she left. But this is just my theory, I surely don’t know.
Christmas was always celebrated in the most joyful fashion. When I was a little girl, my mom always had the house decorated in colorful reds, greens and gold. She loved silver and gold decorations. We had golden bells, golden wrapping paper and golden wreaths. She did love her colors and she always knew just how to mix and match things. She could find a bargain a mile away.
I would always laugh and tell her, “Mom, you can sniff out a deal fifty miles from home.” And, you know, she really could.
Four Christmases after the golden wicker basket with the golden glass bulbs, mom was still not finished with the basket decorating. She kept telling me it needed something more.
“It must be a special red cloth to line the basket bottom and just fall over the edges a little to give the full effect of a true basket full of gold.” That summer she looked and looked, but there was nothing that was worthy enough to line my basket.
Two more years passed and each year that went by, mom became more ill. Garage sale-ing and Goodwill shopping seemed to slow for us. She just couldn’t make the walks any longer. I knew our time together was precious, so I didn’t want to tire her out with running all over.
The next fall, mom became bed-ridden sick. She moved into our house finaly so I could properly care for both her and my family. Each night I sat by her bedside reading our nightly stories; she loved the Bible and loved how I would retell the stories in my own words. She claimed I could make the characters come out of the Bible and appear. Mom was the one who really had a knack for storytelling; it was her teachings that gave me the drive to do as I was shown; to tell a good story with all the bells and whistles.
After our story, I noticed she had fallen asleep so I closed the book softly, laid it on her night stand, pulled the covers up on her shoulders, bent down and kissed her forehead. As I kissed her, she whispered, “I have something for you, Rosie. Your Christmas gift is under my bed.”
“Shhh,” I replied. “Get some rest, Mom and we will talk in the morning.”
“Rosie, you’re the best daughter, I’m so proud of you dear.” And she closed her eyes and drifted off.
The next morning came early and I usually didn’t awaken mom until everyone was gone and all was a little quieter around the house. This morning was no exception. Everyone was out of the house by 7:10am and that was my time to get the tea and oatmeal ready, go get mom up and to the restroom and then have breakfast together.
As I walked into her room, there was stillness in the room I had never experienced before. I stepped in and looked at my beautiful mother lying so still in her bed, so weak, so fragile, yet so strong
and so full of life. I tiptoed to the edge and softly said, “Mother, it’s morning; time to wake and use the restroom. I have our breakfast waiting.” She said nothing. There was no movement at all.
“Mom! Mom!” I bent down and touched her face. She was cold, cold as ice. I touched her arm and she was stiff. I knew. Mom was gone. I knew this day would come. I just wasn’t ready yet, but then is anyone ever ready to let go?
I made the calls to Charlie, the hospital, coroner’s office and the church. Mom requested that she not be laid inside a funeral home, but rather in the church. I kept my promise.
After the funeral, while we were at the gravesite was the hardest for me. That’s when everything really hit home. I knew I would never again have my mother to talk to or share my thoughts with or anything ever again. She was gone and never coming back, just like Uncle George when I was twelve. I guess it was my mother’s turn to go visit Peter and Paul and George too.
With Christmas now one month away and the house needing to be decorated, I knew this was not going to be Christmas without my mother. Charlie tried to soothe me and so did the kids, but it was just not the same. Soon Christmas day arrived and everyone was throwing ribbons, bows and paper all around, grabbing gifts and passing them to each other. I sat and watched with tear-filled eyes and looked over at my basket of gold. There it sat, without the red lining, but beautiful anyway. It was at that moment that my daughter, Lilly returned carrying a small golden box with a red ribbon wrapped around it and a note pasted to the side that read, “For my Rosie!” She handed the box to me and said, “Mom, this is from grandma; she said to tell you Merry Christmas.”
This brought me to my knees in tears. Lilly stood holding the box as the boys and Charlie helped me get a hold of myself. As I wiped my eyes, Lilly stretched out the box to me once again. I lingered for only a moment, looking with tear filled eyes at the most beautifully wrapped gift I’d ever seen. And, just for a moment, I heard my mother’s soft whisper of laughter from a distance and I knew she would always be with me.
I simply held the box for a while. Everyone waited patiently as I took my time opening my last Christmas gift from my mother. I carefully untied the red ribbon as I knew I was going to cherish it forever. I pulled gently each piece of tape on the edges of the box as to save the golden paper as best I could. I lifted the top off the box. It was then that I saw the most beautiful red headscarf I had ever seen.
This was no garage sale scarf; it was mom’s favorite Sunday scarf and she wanted me to have it. I picked it up and under the scarf was a neatly folded note tied with a red ribbon around it. I untied the ribbon, unfolded the note and read, “My precious Rose. This is the perfect scarf for your basket of gold. I am so proud of you. I will always be with you in spirit. I’m going to visit your Uncle George and see Peter and Paul. Kiss the kids for me and give Charlie a hug. Be strong and think of me often. I’ll be watching and guiding you to the good sales. Love always, Mom.” ■

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