And just like that, 12 years have gone by.
The mirrors haven’t reflected her face for 12 years now.
Her frilly light green nightgown hasn’t been worn for 12 years now.
Her hijabs haven’t touched her hair for 12 years now.
I haven’t touched her for 12 years now.
I had this thought recently. I’m five years slow in realising this – I don’t know how it could have taken me this long – but she hasn’t lived in this house longer than she ever did. We moved here in 1997; she passed away in 2004. That’s seven years of presence versus 12 years of absence. And yet she is still in every corner. There is nowhere I can look without seeing her in my mind’s eye.
I never wrote about this, but this time last year I was in Waterford, Ireland, and after writing a post about it being the 11th year, I was drifting to sleep and felt someone hugging me from behind – spooning me, really. I instantly knew it was my mother. After all, having her be the big spoon was one of our favourite activities – yes, even when I was as old as 19. I heard her voice say, “Don’t turn around. I’ll just hold you.” But I wanted to turn to look at her anyway. I pushed, and was met with resistance. She cautioned me again not to. But I didn’t listen. I pushed hard as she raised her voice: “I told you not to!” She dug her long fingernail into my back as punishment and of course, I was able to turn my neck fully around and…she wasn’t there.
I don’t know if I was awake and she really came to visit, or it was a combination of lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis, but my back did hurt a lot from where she had pressed her fingernail.
I’d like to think it was her though, coming all the way to Ireland to comfort her crying child.