My hands are clasped behind my back and I'm leaning against the wall waiting for a timer to go off. Somebody walks by and I smile as a hello. I realize I haven't taken a breath. Maybe I'm just taking immensely shallow breaths but it's as if I'm wearing metal armor.
My hands are cold and wet. They are wrapped around my handle bars. Reaching for the brakes and making a familiar right turn, I survey the trees. Drawing cold air over my lips, my nostrils sting and I fill my lungs to capacity. I force warm air through my teeth.
With my hands gripping a fork and stirring vegetables, I look out the window. There are yellow leaves on the driveway, and I count to ten. Ten days.
Ten days until the first anniversary of mom's death and I find my breath shallow. It is alarming and I am constantly forcing my chest cavity to fill. I can't logically connect the anxiety to this anniversary but I know they are related. I don't have religion and no tools to manage death. In some sense, I am creating the anxiety. I am expecting October 12 to be morose, and I can't quite fathom the connection but I can't breathe.
I am still angry that she has missed this last year. So much has changed. I have needed her advice on so many different occasions. I have reached for the phone to call her to celebrate more times than I can count. I don't feel like writing this because I'm having a hard time articulating these emotions. I like writing to be cathartic and indulgent, like eating a decadent slice of chocolate cake. This feels like old raisins.
It's been over a month since my last post and I have an idea that I'd like to share so I'll eat my raisins. No one looks forward to the anniversary of the death of a loved one but while chatting with Aunt Polly, we came up with a good idea. How about this date being the marker for a reason to do something good for yourself? (Like using your last child's birthday as your reminder to make a gyno appointment, which my mother did. Yes, I'm the youngest.) Since August I have been training for a triathlon and am happy to report that I've lost 15 pounds. The race will be in a week and channeling mom while exercising has been a great way to prepare for the impending gloomy day. I will get to spend the weekend with my Aunt Polly and Aunt Kathy. We will get to do a lot of exercise, maybe a little shopping, and certainly a lot of talking. I couldn't think of anything Cici would want to do more.
In the last year of my mom's life, she became involved in Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner and with them she reached a healthy weight. She was exercising regularly and eating healthier. I know she would encourage my plans and I want to motivate you to do something similar. Maybe on October 12th, eat a salad. Get off your ass and do a little stretching. Skip the chocolate cake and eat raisins.
Then, tell me about it. Please! I'd love to hear from you on that day. Tell me something you did for yourself!