Stars

*a repost from a time I can’t seem to forget

This morning, the highway was filled with a multitude of disembodied headlights, each one searching through a seemingly inexhaustible mist, an optical illusion a bit tough to handle at 6AM when you’re still sleeping.
I made it onto the train and stared out the window at the relentless sheets of rain.
The dark and rainy skies made me think of a night many years ago when I went to my parent’s house after a slew of frantic phone calls from my mother.
She would freak out on a fairly regular basis back then.
At the time, she was in the late beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and I was still in total denial.
I pulled into the driveway and saw her silhouette standing in the open doorway.
I remember thinking she looked peaceful standing there
and not the frantic woman I’d just spoken to on the phone.

I called her name.

“Mom?”

No response.
As I walked up the stairs, I could see her staring off into the distance, detached and trance-like.
I stood next to her to try and see what she was looking at when she said,
“Look. There’s million’s of them.”

“Millions of what, Mom?” I asked.

“Stars,” she said, “Can’t you see them?”

In the front yard there was an old oak tree, the leaves still dripping from the heavy rain.
Behind the oak, I could see the front porch light from the Jacobson’s house
up on the hill illuminating the thousands of falling raindrops.
Stars, I thought, it’s raining stars.
I took off my glasses to see the world, if only for a moment, through my mother’s eyes.
A simple oak tree was being transformed into an impressionistic masterpiece right in front of me, thanks to a few misfiring neurons located somewhere in my mother’s brain.

“It’s beautiful, Mom.” I said.

“Yes. It is…” She replied.

I didn’t realize it at the time but the raindrops falling from the tree closely echoed the neurological avenue my mother was currently traveling down.
The drops of rain falling and disappearing into the waiting earth were so much like her failing memory,
a collection of antiquated shooting stars ultimately destined to crash and burn, their celestial beauty gone all too soon.
As we stood silently on the porch, an internal cog clicked inside me.
It was a frightening moment of absolute realization.
My phase of denial had finally come to an end.

~m

8 thoughts on “Stars

  1. It’s amazing to me that this really happened. I have so many interesting memories of my Mom over the years. Many of these small vignettes are going to be expanded upon, hopefully finding their way into a finished manuscript someday.
    As always, I thank you for reading.

    ~m

  2. Pingback: The Yellow Wallpaper » Blog Archive » Memory Lane Webring

  3. Strange that you posted this tonight…..John, Ryan and I came in from a late night boat ride, just about an hour ago. We were admiring the stars and Ryan noticed the big dipper. It made we think how I haven’t taken time, in so long, to notice something so beautiful. What you shared with your mother was bittersweet. Your words were so touching. I can imagine you standing next to her, telling her how beautiful everything was, yet realizing what was to come. God Bless you and your Mom -who is now watching the stars with Walter :smile:

    Serendipity can be a wonderful thing.
    Thanks for reading, kiddo.
    ~m

  4. I enjoyed this the first time I read it and I enjoyed it even more this time.
    It’s quite a haunting piece of writing ~m, yet beautifully so at the same time.
    I said it one other day, and I’ll say it again my friend.
    Reposts could be a way to help you come to terms with what has happened, particularly if the memories are a good ones.
    Contrary to what some would say, I would suggest this is a good memory, even knowing what was to come.

    We will talk more about this when you get here.
    A good memory?
    Yeah, it was good, sad but good.
    ~m

  5. The images are stunning, i admire your ability to capture and share so clearly the events.
    It’s a rare gift.

    I was lucky to have Mom in my life.
    Period.
    I thank you for your comment.
    This post just ‘happened’
    ~m

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