It’s weird how after someone you love dies, you start to focus more on the patterns in their lives.
It took me awhile to recognize the one here – that for at least the last 10 years, my mom has always ordered a Sierra Club Wilderness Calendar. I can still hear her: “I like the large boxes so you can write in appointments – especially if there’s more then one”. She did this for the many years that my dad fought his autoimmune illnesses. And then as the number of her appointments picked up, we would write her times and dates and the Physicians she was supposed to see on the calendar as well.
I never understood it. “Why can’t you get an iPad?” I asked, “that way we can have all of your appointments listed, we can download directions on how to get to there, factor in travel time and even put some books on it so you can read while you wait…you’ll be able to enlarge the font so you have an easier time reading”. I thought I was technologically savvy and had everything down. But then she would say “But I can’t turn the page.”
“What?” I would ask. “I like to feel the pages when I turn them.” she would say. “I like to feel the book in my hands and be able to turn the page”. So I used the iPad and we continued to have Sierra Club Wilderness Calendars sent to us every year. Shortly after Thanksgiving, wherever I was, she would call me and say “You know what I need?…I need a calendar. Can you order one for me?” And by the time I was off of the phone with her, the calendar would be on it’s way to Florida via Amazon. Point, click, bam, done.
Shortly after Christmas as New Years approached, she would take the calendar out of the box and transcribe birthdays and important dates from one year to the next frequently making comments about how the years were passing by and how old we were all getting. This would usually be followed by more questions about friends we had not seen and how they may be doing.
Then, of course, because it was the Sierra Club, she would review each photograph throughout the calendar and comment about how beautiful the photography was and what it was about the photographs she liked.
But the calendar was never complete until all of the holidays and our birthdays had her sketches on them. I didn’t realize how much I reviewed the calendar just to know what day a holiday fell on so that I could book a flight or we could make plans for traveling.
On Easter – I always looked for the bunny.
One year, I was reviewing all of her sketches and (in September) looked at my birthday and saw only “Su’s b-day”. “HEY!! – Where’s my picture??” I asked. Sad that I had been left out. “Bring it here,” she said, and looked it over and said, “I haven’t finished it yet”. Sure enough, in a few minutes, there was a picture of a sailboat surrounding my name. Christmas had ivy and bells, Thanksgiving had a huge, fat turkey and Easter or Palm Sunday always had a bunny carrying easter eggs. The picture above is from Palm Sunday – 2014.
And of course, we can’t forget St. Patrick’s Day.
This year, mom had lost more of her energy and wasn’t feeling well. The calendar was ordered from Amazon a little before Thanksgiving, but the dates and the sketches were never added.
When it came time to leave the assisted living place where she had stayed, I grabbed the calendar and packed it in my bag knowing that while I would never use it in the manner that she had, just having it reminded of the routine she enjoyed and the discussions we had. And, deep in my heart, I know that when Thanksgiving rolls around, I may just have to order another one.
Happy Easter; some bunny loves you.