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I feel better this morning…  after spewing that last post, I took a whopping dose of tylenol.nighttime & it chased the bad dreams away. I just went back & read from last September & the one before that, & realized that while I am getting a smidge better at navigating the anniversary of my mother’s death, there is also a pattern forming. As strange as it sounds, the neat-freak in me is comforted by the fact that there’s a pattern, no matter how abstract & messy that pattern might be.

I probably will go to the cemetery today in preparation for tomorrow. Not going to think about that right now.

Last Sunday, I skipped church too… this is the second week in a row. Today I skipped just because. Last week, however, my reason was a little more… how shall I say, “heathen-esque”? Who gets tatted up on a Sunday morning at 11am? That would be Susanna, with me in tow for moral support. It happened like this.

Sue’s been talking about getting this particular tattoo for ~2 years now. It’s a line from Mama’s favorite poem by Wordsworth:

and then my heart with pleasure fills

Now there’s quite a bit of irony in this, because my mother HATED (all caps) tattoos. Hated them. With all the passion of a mother’s heart. When she spied my tiny tat during a family vacation, she actually packed up the entire family & drove us home from the beach several days early. The 5-hour drive home was a misery that I still vividly recall… we drove in silence, & every few miles, she would look over at me with watery, teary eyes & say “I am SO disappointed.” And then she’d stare back on the road & we’d drive on. In silence. To say it was a miserable trip would be an understatement.

But anyway. Sue’s been wanting this tattoo for a while, & she wanted in Mama’s actual handwriting. Now this presents a problem since #1: Mama’s unavailable, & #2: she never hand-wrote this poem before she left. So Sue employed my handy forgery skills that I perfected years ago in middle school, in the days of “have your parents sign this.” I can do Mama’s signature flawlessly. Her handwriting, I can do acceptably. So I wrote the line of poetry 50+ times, & then Sue used my recipe book full of Mama’s handwriting to pick the perfect version of each word. She then cut & pasted it into a single line that most authentically represented Mama’s writing.

So off we went on Sunday morning (because strangely enough, in this Bible-Belt town, there was an opening at the local tattoo joint on Sunday @ 11am). As we pulled into the parking lot, Sue’s ring fell off. And not just any of her rings — it was Mama’s ring. It wedged in under the seat, almost as if it had been placed there. Not one to ignore signs, Sue said “Mama, I don’t care what you think” & flounced into the tattoo parlor (they don’t still call them “parlors,” do they?), leaving me to fish the ring out. It took me 10 minutes & a drinking straw to finally extract Mama’s ring from under the seat. All the while, I was explaining to Mama that while I knew that she didn’t like tattoos, she also only had a limited say in these things since she left, & this was just one of those things. So sorry.

The tattoo guy did a great job. Really he did. She got it on her left ribcage, under her heart (& boob). And it looks just like Mama’s handwriting, if I do say so myself.

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