Or she was just my ride
It was the turn of the karmic tide – we were one
Then I was born
I’ve carried these bones for far too long
They’ve haunted the words of my every song
Not saying that’s right or that it’s wrong
It made me strong, and I got along
Can we let it go?
Can we say we may never know?
Can it be a mystery?
If not for Freud – then for me
(From “The Karmic Ride,” music and lyrics by Megon McDonough, 2015 ASCAP)
I knew when I saw my sister’s name on my phone at 5 a.m. on Oct 30 that it could mean only one thing: Mom had passed.
We’d been waiting. She had been switched from palliative care to hospice care almost four weeks ago, and because she was a fighter, and really wanted to stay at the party, we thought we had more time. Oh yeah, and denial was still holding strong. Even though she was 103!!!
But in our defense, this wasn’t the first time it seemed like she was dying. In fact, she’d had a heart attach about a year-and-a-half ago, and it seemed really serious, so my sister Brenna had called the priest for last rights. But the old gal was up the next day eating ice cream and watching baseball. Those must have been some powerful last rights.
However, eight months later, she fell and broke her hip. They performed surgery, and afterwards, when she was in rehab, Mom astonished the physical therapist by “taking 16 steps today!” But, truth was, she was done. She was tired and ready to go Home. Thankfully, she got her wish.
She was a Big Light, a Force of Nature, frustrating and gloriously wise. She was my first voice teacher and coach. She was brave and beautiful, and in our little town, she was a big draw for actors, artists and theater orphans who came to our house after my Dad died. She was inclusive. In fact, after she was widowed, whenever we would be out as a family, and she saw a woman sitting alone, she would ask her to join us. We kids were of course mortified, but my mom was kind, and she knew what she was doing.
I sat up in bed in the dark when I answered Bren’s call. We breathed a, “Thank you God,” and hung up. I sat there, cried, and got up, made a cup of coffee, and sat by the kitchen window to think. I saw in my mind a memory I love of my mom. She had just picked me up from Kindergarten in her convertible, and I was in the back seat. As she pulled away from the curb, her hair was blowing in the wind, her face turned up to take in the sun and she was whistling. I remember watching her from that backseat with my heart full of love for this person, and smiling and turning my face toward the sun. And I tried to whistle. It was a great ride.
I have so much to be grateful for this season. Mom passing and out of pain, the familiarity of work, as I am on tour with The Four Bitchin’ Babes twice this month. Releasing a holiday CD called Season of Light, which is also the name of my holiday show at The Wilmette Theatre on Dec. 17, being on Rick Kogan’s show on WGN radio on Dec. 4, and more gigs with The Babes in Wisconsin.
Thank you to every one of you and for your support. I’m so grateful.