Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ma P'tite Maman

Ma P’tite Maman,

I was so scared to sit down and write something- scared that much like whenever I try and tell a joke, I would forget the most important parts...the indispensable details that makes it all come together. Then I remembered that you are the one who always, without fail, gets my jokes- even if we have to make up a new punchline because I’ve completely forgotten it. In fact, I’d say that’s what we did more often than not…made up our own punchlines in the beautifully challenging story of life that we always found a way of turning into a joke. Together, we found the joy and most definitely the humor in everything we could…and while not everyone got our special brand of silliness, or not all the time at least, those moments and the lesson of it all, are some of the greatest gifts we could have ever given each other.

I feel so lucky, Maman, so lucky for and so very proud of (as I know you were) how close we are. We created a truly unique mother daughter relationship that was the envy of most every mother and daughter we knew. And we worked hard at maintaining that relationship by respecting the hell out of each other for who each of us was. It wasn’t always easy, but wow was it worth it! I am so honored that through this closeness, I got the opportunity to really get to know who you were…not just as my mother, but also as the inspiring force of nature that you were.

I can hear you now, as clear as a bell, protesting with your completely genuine modesty, that I’m going a bit overboard, and I want to tell you that I honestly am not…that these are my true feelings, that you do inspire me, that I hope to one day become just a fraction of the woman you were. You wouldn’t accept a compliment in life, so now I’m embarrassing you in death by making you accept some pretty deeply felt ones in front of all your family and friends.

You taught me long before the heartbreaks of death and cancer appeared on the scene the true meaning of strength and courage, and reinforced these lessons with every challenge that you greeted with dignity and grace and yes, a truly liberating silliness that enabled you to melt every heart that came near you. You taught me that the process of self-discovery is never over, and that it never should be. In the last 10 years, I watched you bloom and grow into yourself in ways that you admitted you never thought possible…I watched with such awe and pride as you found and claimed your voice and power as a woman! I cried to know all that your path to these moments contained and felt so honored that you were sharing your incredible journey with me.

LIVE LIFE FIERCELY!

This was your battle cry after [my brother] died, and I can still see you, fist in the air, imparting your considerable strength and spunk to the world…and most importantly to your daughter, at a time when I desperately needed it. And now, it comes back to me again, at a time when I need it most…here you are in my head, fist in the air and spunk intact…unstoppable even in death! (Death has not met such stubbornness yet!) Encouraging me to now take up the torch and continue what you began as I start on my journey as a mother, my arms laden with the many beautiful gifts you have given me over the years.

I am devastated that you are no longer here in the physical realm…that you will never physically hold your grandson in your arms and sing him the French songs we sang together my whole life or hear him call you Mimi. But I know and trust you are with us (I just ask that you send some really super obvious signs every once in a while so that I don’t forget this) and that your grandson will be connected to you by many invisible threads that extend far beyond a mere name.

Yes, Maman, after 9 months of you calling him Baby N, you’ll have to get used to a new name involving a J instead of an N…but I think you’ll agree that’s exactly as it should be.

We love you,

Synge and Baby J

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You did it, S., this is beautiful, just beautiful. I wish I could be there for you tomorrow, but you already know that I will be there in spirit. Love, Tzuzu

deeceesw said...

Simply beautiful. Wish we could be there with you all today. A big hug and much love to you and yours.

Dawn, Ron & Ryan

Janine Serresseque said...

The service today was just beautiful. So many sweet and touching words from so many different people. Bruce and Phil wanted me to let you know how sorry they were that it was impossible for them to attend. They send their love and support.
Lots of love to you and your family.
Janiney

hoosier steve said...

I am so sad that I was unable to attend yesterday, I really wanted to be there as well. We all send our love and support to you. The coming weeks will be filled with much sorrow but also profound joy as you welcome a new member into your family. I know that your mother will be with you through the trials and tribulations of your journey as a mother, and her love still shines in you.
Much love to you and your growing family,
Steve

Liza said...

you are going to be a great mom because you were a good daughter.

Anonymous said...

S&C,

I cannot tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I am so glad you have each other right now, and that you have those wonderful and hilarious memories of Mimi.

I wonder if you can provide a postal address - I have something I'd like to send you and don't have a current address for you.

Thinking of you,
Liz

pnlkotula said...

This poem was read at the passing of a dear friend just a week ago. It was comforting to me, and I hope will be to you.

DEATH IS NOTHING AT ALL.
I HAVE ONLY SLIPPED FROM YOUR VIEW
I AM I, AND YOU ARE YOU.
WHATEVER WE WERE TO EACH OTHER, WE STILL ARE

CALL ME BY MY OLD FAMILIAR NAME.
SPEAK TO ME IN THE EASY WAY WHICH WE ALWAYS USED.
PUT NO DIFFERENCE IN YOUR TONE; WEAR NO FORCED AIR OF SOLEMNITY OR SORROW.

LAUGH AS WE ALWAYS LAUGHED AT THE LITTLE JOKES TOGETHER.
PLAY, SMILE AND THINK OF ME.

LET MY NAME BE EVER THE HOUSEHOLD WORD THAT IT ALWAYS WAS.
LET IT BE SPOKEN WITHOUT AN EFFORT, WITHOUT A TRACE OF SHADOW IN IT.

LIFE MEANS ALL THAT IT EVER MEANT.
IT IS THE SAME AS IT EVER WAS.
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY UNBROKEN CONTINUITY.

WHAT IS DEATH BUT GOD'S CALL TO GLORY.
WHY SHOULD I BE OUT OF MIND BECAUSE I AM OUT OF SIGHT?
I AM BUT WAITING FOR YOU, FOR AN INVERTVAL-SOMEWHERE VERY NEAR, JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

ALL IS WELL.

AMEN.

Tia said...

This is so touching. I came over from Jessica's blog (it has been way too long again since my last visit) and I am crying harder and harder as I read your recent posts. Your spirit and words are so beautiful - what an amazing connection you have with all those around you. A life beautifully lived. Your mother must have been an incredible woman. And you are clearly just like her... Congratulations on becoming a mom yourself. He looks darling.