Three years ago today, I was frantically making arrangements to come home from Egypt. I'd spent the day teaching, leading a Bible Study and a prayer group, and sharing table fellowship with my various international and Egyptian seminary students. I returned home to find a number of messages from my dad, and then an AIM away message from my brother saying my mom had died.
I spent the evening on the phone and internet with travel agents, PCUSA Young Adult Volunteer coordinators, and various other people. I made a list of things I needed to pack, and I packed them. I got plane tickets for the next day. I planned what I would say to the teachers as I went in to say I couldn't work for a while. I sat for a while with the pastor of the church I was attending then. I made plans for my classes that someone else would teach. I cried some, but was mostly numb.
The next day I flew home, which took nearly 24 hours. I was sick the entire way--I ate something for breakfast on the flight to London and had food poisoning for three days, probably mainly because I absolutely refused to throw up anywhere but my own house. I laid on floors, I drank 7-Up, I tried to keep cool and not talk to people around me. Flight attendants told me I couldn't lay on the floor. Airport gate agents looked after me and told me when my gate was changed or when the plane was arriving or getting ready to board. Seatmates tried to engage me in conversation that I avoided as much as possible. London to Seattle is a long flight, in case you didn't know that already.
Two years ago today, I was recovering from my ordination two days earlier, still entertaining family and friends, trying to celebrate rather than sit and mope.
One year ago today, I was eating mexican food and writing letters to my mother.
Today, I spoke with my old Atlanta mom (a church music director I've worked with), and I spent the day with my church music director who is also a good friend and sometimes an extra mom (I seem to have a record of this as far as church music directors are concerned!). We visited the Art Institute and were some of the first people to see the new special exhibit "The Divine Art: 400 years of European tapestries"--an exquisite collection. All of the Art Institute's 70+ tapestries have been restored and are on display at the same time. They're gorgeous. Today was the first member preview day so it wasn't crowded and we were able to move through at a fairly leisurely pace--even when the exhibit closed they didn't chase us out, they just didn't let any more people in. Then we bought Christmas cards (I love buying my cards at the Art Institute), had Cosi sandwiches for lunch, wandered Macy's and tried on $900 coats and a cute party dress (didn't fit properly). We sampled truffles and bought frango mints. We met her husband for the train home and then the three of us had a lovely Italian dinner--wine, great entrees (well, they had lamb-kabobs or something...I had a great mediterranean vegetable strata), lovely tiramisu for dessert.
It was a relaxing day, and a great way to honor the women who have gotten me this far. Today I remember my mom, and also Dana F, a pastor at my home church, who died this week and whose funeral was today, and also all the extra moms I've had over the years who have helped me out, taught me things, kept me on the good path, encouraged me, and have generally made me who I am today. So especially to Betsy and Martha and Sherri, thanks ladies--I know my mom appreciates you as much as I do. And while I miss her a lot (not a day goes by that I don't think about calling, only to remember that I can't), you're all doing a pretty good job too.