Weeks before my mother died, I asked my aunt if she thought it was ok if I took a reading lamp from my mom’s house to take to my apartment. I remember she gave me some strange, little look and then stated that that it would all be mine soon enough anyway. But, it didn’t feel that way. And most days, it still doesn’t feel like it’s mine. I feel that at any moment my mom could walk back into her house and claim back all that was hers.
The day after she passed away, my friend MaryAnn and I went to my mom’s house and began looking through her bible, notes and journals to find specific quotes or passages my mother wanted included in her funeral. What we found were years upon years of manic journaling, dating back to the day I was born. Pages detailed what I ate, when I ate, what time I woke up, took a nap, smiled, etc. I thought it was absolute craziness, just part of the mystery of my mother’s life I was discovering through her passing. “How amazing!” MaryAnn said, “You have almost your mother’s entire life documented in her journals. Do you know what I would give to have that from my parents?” She said. And I realized she was probably right.
But those journals have sat in her basement for over a year and a half, until several weeks ago when I took them out and began reading them, slowly. I had known that at some point my mother had written a book because she had spoken of it many times at the end of her life. I knew that she had titled it, “Dear Mick; I’m Just a Friend In Waiting”, which was supposedly a series of essays to Mick Jagger, who she loved, discussing her own woes and secrets, with the catch phrase of every entry ending, “still waiting”, for him to come and pick her up and take her away. “All I want to do is just go away”, she had written.
What I found, instead of a book, was almost thirty journals, pieces of notes written on the back of bills, and magazine clippings, all stored together and titled, “Dear Mick”. Alas…her bestselling memoir which had never, ever been shared…before now. And every night at 12, when Alex would take the pups upstairs and go to bed, I would take Griffin for a long walk, smoke a cigarette and then, and only then, sit down and relive a little bit of my mother’s life.
July 3, 1997…Awakened to television talking about James Stewart-Died yesterday @ 89 of blood clot in lung. I know I had read he wanted to go since his wife Gloria had died….
July 9, 1997…Beatles Song. “And in the end the love we had was worth the love we gave.”
September 9, 1997…Father, Please let my spirit show through in my life. May I know every day taht there are people hanging on by a thread and their life; and I should live my life accordingly! Please Father, please! I am ashamed to get down and not live my life to it’s fullest!
January 1st, 1998…Happy New Year! In the end all we really have is; who we are and how we have lived our lives! Don’t fill your life up with negative people. They are a waste of time. I’m not sure I believe this, but I see hope in my eyes when I look in the mirror. Self pity is masochistic! It is making oneself have pain. I refuse to do this anymore! The power of the mind is incredible!
Later on January 1st, 1998…I went to New Year’s service and was reminded of two, very important life resolutions…1. Be as wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove, and 2. Love and Live full, because we’re on borrowed time as it is!
And then, I found a profound lesson my mother had written out, maybe something she had heard on television or something she came up on her own. It was dated September 11, 2001. “These are my questions for a New Life Strategy!”
1.What did you think was important before today?(9-11)
2. What in your life were you neglecting before today?(9-11)
3. What do you pledge to do now?
4. What would be left undone or unsaid if you or your loved one died today?
5. What must you do now, behaviorally, to live a NEW life?
6. If you had 30 seconds to tell the three people closest to you in your life goodbye before you died, what would you say?
“The stranger it feels, the more awkward it feels, the more you need to do it! I want to quit being guarded, closed. I want to be genuine and have a life fulfilled. I want a new life! Why is it that something painful must occur to inspire this change?”
And as I read over this, and decide to apply these principles to my own life, as well as practice these details with my clients, I’m reminded of how some things did change for my mother before she died. And how I’m just now discovering, page by page, word by word, the secrets and intricacies that made up 64 years, blond hair, 5 foot 1 inches, of a hilarious laugh, an embraceable hug, dancing through the kitchen to Led Zepplin or Janet Jackson, offering coffee, cigarettes, severe New York black style with a hint of hot, Miami pink, 50 presents under the Christmas tree from Santa, carrots for the Easter Bunny, Sunday drives to the casino dancing harmonizing to motown…my mom!
And hopefully, as I read, a little every night, I’ll learn more and more and be inspired more and more, although, honestly mom, sometimes, I just can’t figure out what you were thinking!
June 20th, 1997…“Jackson Pollack, the painter, not to be confused with the porn star. He was concerned with primal undergone analysis and yoga, yearning for transcendental experience that would transcend his life. He thought Japan would be exhilarating! Wanted to experience the tea ceremony…Awwww…take me Jackson. God, I need to sign up for a yoga class! Hey Mick, still waiting!” xoxo Bobbie.
Yeah, well…we’re on borrowed time as it is, right? Still waiting Mick!
Stay tuned for more lessons from “Dear Mick…I’m Just a Friend in Waiting”