Ten years ago this January 19th, my mom died of a heart attack at her home in Madison, NJ.
Now, come January, in addition to the normal weather related SAD, I get prone to sadness because of the grief I still live with having lost my mother so suddenly. I never know quite when it will hit. It’s been building. Stories. Conversations. Connections.
And today, it hit with tears. A little early this year. And that’s ok.
I miss her. I will always be her little boy.
Fall On Me
I’ve always been a sensitive boy, prone to crying. At commercials. Brandon loves that part of me. I get emotional.
Yet at some point, I learned to stuff those emotions. To not cry. To not show weakness particularly in corporate America. I can remember getting teary eyed at a business meeting in my 20’s, and my boss pulled me aside and told me that was not acceptable behavior for management. I can also remember when I was taken to the hospital with chest pains at work, my direct supervisor showed up at the hospital while I was still being checked out at the ER. He didn’t do that because that was in his job description. He did that because he knew we shared a common humanity, and that’s what we do. As humans, we show compassion.
The song that broke me open is Fall On Me, a version sung my Chad Vaccarino and Ian Axel on the latest album of Andrea Bocelli, titles Si (Deluxe). I started crying. And I realized a lot of it was coming from the memory of my mom, and some recent family chatter about how we are continuing to grieve. It reminds me, I’m not alone. My siblings and I are all living with grief; that’s what we do. As humans, we experience grief.
Grief and compassion are two sides of the same coin, I think.
I came across an autobiography my mother wrote her senior year at high school. It’s a side of my mom I want to know and remember. An innocence, a confidence and a clarity. Ah youth.
I want to remember all of her. Not just the later years, in the same way I don’t want to be judged for the times I’ve fallen. I want to be known for picking myself back up – with the help of those around me – and getting on with getting on. And my mom was doing that in her own life.
As humans, that’s what we do. We live through a natural cycle, on a macro and micro level – moment to moment, lifetime to lifetime.
I want to remember the bison photographs at Yellowstone National Park, even if I never find those slides in the decks of slides I have yet to scan from our young family travels.
I want to remember mom and her ancestors, for her story is part of my story. As is Blanche’s, and Groh’s and Vera’s and Garland’s. That’s the richness of my story, even with the shadows we know are there – because we also see great light.
I’m full of clichés today.
On with the show.
Here in my mother’s words is the introduction to her autobiography, along with the table of contents. Having come across the full scan of her 42+ page autobiography, I’ve been enmeshed in learning more about her – especially since she isn’t around to tell her story. But, I have it in her own words! What a treasure. (Yes, I’m a softy for origin stories and happy endings… in all nuances of that idea!)
The only regret is I don’t seem to have the dozen or so pages of pictures and Christmas cards – though I do have some of the original Christmas cards framed in our home, from the years circa 1942 and 1965, right about the time my sister was born. I love the photographs and the story they tell, as a macro and micro level! I might have to blog more about that in future and share those stories.
The stories themselves aren’t as important as knowing we all have one and have a yearning for it to be heard. That’s part of my why – the joy of telling stories through art, which includes spoken word.
I miss you mom. I will always be your little boy, guardian of the ants.
I love you,
Christopher “Cricket” Todd Fuqua.
The theme is not important but it has helped me to carry out my story.Carol Lou Schneider