My mother and I thought it was a good idea at the time.
I say, “Mom. Let’s go down the mountain and see a Chinese herbalist and get me some Chinese herbs to mix up and brew. I know they’ll make me feel better.”
“Good idea, honey,” my mother says. “You always have such good ideas.”
(This all happened many lives ago, while I was divorcing my second and last husband, and I was a physical and emotional wreck. I needed a cure.)
Off we chug; down the mountain to a quirky place called Hillcrest where I quickly find just the right little shop for me. It’s dark inside. From the ceiling hang swaths of dried plants. Glass jars packed with ground, pulverized, and shaved herbs (and probably beetles and dung and dragonfly heads), sit on shelves.
Oh yum. I forget all about my unhappiness with the Bad Husband. (more…)
Bill is telling me about the red and black bird in the red berry bushes by the garage.
We are sitting on the patio having a glass of wine. It’s February but it’s acting like spring.
Bill points at the bird flapping around in the high bushes against the garage windows.
“He’s been throwing himself against the garage window for three weeks now! He’s crazy. He thinks he’s seeing a female bird and wants to mate.”
I say, “Yes, I’ve been watching him, too. When I drive into the garage, he comes and peck-pecks at the window. He makes peeping noises and looks at me.
“Some people,” I tell Bill, “say that their dead relatives come back as birds to let them know they are alive and well.”
I take a little sip of white wine and continue.
“So I thought, ‘maybe this bird is my mother coming to tell me she’s OK.’ The last time I drove into the garage that bird was there, again. Staring at me. Tap, tap, tapping on the glass. I got out of the car, went up to the window, leaned up close, looked him in the eye and said to the bird, ‘Is that you Mom?’ The bird flew away so I decided it wasn’t my mother.”
Bill leans back in his patio chair and laughs and laughs.
He’s staring at me like he doesn’t know me.
“You are as crazy as that crazy bird!” He says and chokes on a handful of peanuts.
My feelings feel a bit ruffled. I’m serious about my mother possibly coming to see me as a bird. I like to stay open to all possibilities.
Bill just keeps laughing. For a man with a bad cancer, he is certainly jolly.
He’s laughing and snorting at me. He even puts out a few ‘hoots.’
I glance at him and try to look like I’m the smart one on the patio.
But Bill looks good. He decided not to do chemo and radiation. He decided to say no to having most of his teeth pulled out. He’s changed his diet, cut out sugar, and takes special herbs and vitamins.
His color is better and he’s trim, solid, and lean these days. He runs, he works on my property, he doesn’t lie around all day on the bed like he used to when he was healthy, and he’s not as irritable as he used to be.
I tell him all that.
“I’m still irritable,” he says.
I agree. But it’s less. And I like him better. As an ex-boyfriend he is quite perfect.
I tell him that cancer has been good for him.
He doesn’t like to hear this so much.
Life is an odd and puzzling mix.
Cancer can be a healthy turning point and birds can sometimes masquerade as dead mothers…but in this case, not this bird. This bird is not my mother, he is just a sexually disturbed bird. I am disappointed. But, life is full of disappointments if we let it be. I prefer to see events and situations as part of a fascinating mix of entertainment. It’s better that way.
It’s smart to stay open-minded, I think, because, frankly…you never know…one of these birds one day might be my mother and I wouldn’t want to overlook her.
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February’s Winner is LU, under “Dead Man Talking.“: “My father has appeared to me in dreams, mainly to help me with relationship issues that likely would not even be happening if it weren’t for him! He’s a whiz at figuring things out for me from the Other Side, and unbelievably, our relationship has healed.” (I told Lu I know a lot of people would love to chat with her dad and get some help from the other side with their romances!)
*Lu, please email me that you are the winner of a 10 minute phone reading with me.
I sang it over and over in the dark, wondering why I was doing it as I am not a good singer and I certainly never wake up singing in the night! In the morning, I realized that this song is my mother!
We will be playing this recorded version at at her service and I have asked my daughter Summer to also sing the song, in her own way.
Margaret McWhorter, age 20
MY MOTHER’S OBITUARY
As beautiful as a movie star and as unaffected as a flower, our Mother, Margaret Jane Woods-Lange McWhorter died Tuesday evening, Nov 16th, at the age of 88 after having well-lived ten years with lung cancer. When sometimes asked how she stood the pain and fear of cancer she said, “I just make it neutral.” She also told us she had made friends with her cancer. (more…)