Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How many times can you say goodbye?

The lighter I've been using died yesterday. Such a silly thing really. It's pink, with designs on it. It's nothing big. Except it was Mom's. What a ridiculous thing to hold onto. Yet, it's sitting right here on my desk.
Last night I was talking to a friend and I confessed that I was unable to clean out Mom's desk. It's the only thing I can't seem to do. There's nothing great in there, but it is completely my mother. Tons of loose Post-Its with her handwriting on it. Bits and bobs. Junk. Yet all uniquely Mom.

It's been almost five months, which seems really hard to grasp. And lately, I keep wondering what happens next. When I moved down here, I knew it was for the long haul. I committed to my job. A truck payment. A mortgage payment. I thought that my life was here. But suddenly, in all sorts of ways, my anchor is no longer here. I love my house, and I love Dad, but I wonder what happens next.

I look around the house and Mom is everywhere. Her figurines in the cabinet. Her photos on the wall. In some ways, this house is all that is left of her. The last place she was. The home she had. I love my home. But if life is to move forward, would I be able to leave it behind- this place that was the last place I knew my mother in? The last home we had? I know my family, if we don't have this house, we will soon find ourselves in the wind, separated at first by excuses and convenience, and then by habit. Dad didn't talk to his family for almost twenty years because it was simply out of sight, out of mind. My sister's last visit home was not to see us, but as she stated, because a bunch of her friends would be home. So if I don't have a house that is our home, I don't think we'll stay a family for long.
And that's the crux of it all.
Does the responsibility of my family fall to me?
I love my house, my home. The work I've done on it, seeing the yard grow out of a bare sandbox. The all too brief memories of Mom here- her standing on the porch wishing me a good day at school. Her playing with Nehi in the yard. I don't want to lose any pieces of her. I feel as though I can't afford to. If she's not here, where could I find her?
I'd like to eventually pursue my PhD, but that would mean moving. And that's the part I can't seem to think about. Dad can't make the payment on his own. The house isn't really set up to rent out part of it. I can't see Dad taking on roommates. I don't even know if he'd want to stay here by himself.
But I can't imagine not having my home, the touchstone of where Mom last was. The only place of contact for her.
Mom always said she had no doubt that I would go on to be Dr. Shimabukuro. That she always saw me in academia- teaching in some ivy encrusted campus. I know what she'd say- dream, go, jump! She was a big one for running full out towards your dreams.
But she's gone in so many ways, and I don't know how I would deal with this last goodbye. How could I keep her with me if I left?
I miss her so much. And I feel like I am all alone in this. The idea of leaving seems incomprehensible to me, while at the same time the idea of pursuing my PhD seems exciting and scary.
I wish you were here Mom.

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