may day

today i awoke with the remnants of a grievous dream about my mom.  the dream was so real that i could feel the smooth skin of her artist hands pressed against mine, remember clearly the softness of her hairless head, the frailty of her body, her big brown eyes full of unknowns.  it rattled me completely, made me cry, put a cloud over my day. then i remembered: may first.  my dad and mom's wedding anniversary.  "mayday! mayday!" they would say.  it used to be a funny joke. we'd laugh.  not so much laughing about it anymore.  yeah, some days are harder than others i guess.

springtime is a time of mourning for me.  may 29th is the day my mother died.  the last may of her life was spent on the slippery slope leading up to her passing.  so while the plants and trees of the world were waking up, spreading their leaves joyously to face the sun, i was watching the sun set during the coldest winter of my life, wishing to god that the darkness would leave me be. 

"we're gonna miss the springtime forever," james wrote in words to a song, a premonition, years before we ever knew how much of this world we would truly grow to miss.  the glorious blooming of the flowers, of poppies in particular, is met now with a bittersweet sadness, memories of cutting those radiant blood red blooms to bring to her hospital room.  and how she loved them.  every day i brought a fresh bunch, flowers that i planted with my own hands in the barren earth of the city, that hard fruitless rocky earth that i mulched and turned and transformed to a healthful medium, those plants i watched grow and bloom like a proud parent. tiny celebrations of life they were, every one. i brought them, arranged carefully in mason jars, to that sterile smelling, beeping room, that room of sickness and scheduled maintenance and confusion, where the television is always on...i kept those flowers fresh always, refusing to allow them to wilt before her, to die and lose their petals, to wilt just as my mother's body had done to her. the cruelty of nature. it was the least i could do, it was the most i could do.  i will always think of you when i see the blooming poppies, i remember saying to her, the thought of which was met by a satiated smile.  yes, maybe there was some satisfaction in knowing she would be remembered by a fleeting burst of fiery red.


  1. That was a lucky marriage that made you. Love you.

  2. Your mom picked May 1. To her it was a milestone for a changing season. We had 30 "Maydays"....I'm beginning to smile recalling the memories....progress.