Some years are uneventful on the dead mom front. Just the customary abandonment issues and fears of an untimely death. You know, the usual. But some years, they Kick. Your. Ass. Good thing I had declared 2015 to be the year of the Grown Ass Woman, because I am here to do some Grown Ass Shit.
On January 1st, 2015, I woke up to find that somewhere between my third and ninth glass of champagne on New Year's Eve, I had emailed myself this mysterious message:
Bakarw980120. I took this to mean that sometime in the evening, I had resolved to book a session with my mystic to the stars, Bakara Wintner. (BTW, I am the “stars” to which Bakara is a mystic. I mean, maybe she has other celebrity clients, but I am the star, obviously.) So Bakara came to my house, and gave me and my other aerial half, super famous sex icon Erin Clark, some uh-mazing readings. Bakara dropped a lot of truthbombs and realness in the form of a beautifully illustrated and intuitive tarot reading full of grown ass woman shit. Bakara also brought a message from the beyond. “Your mother has a message for you, but she’s not going to give it to me. She wants you to talk to her.”
Guess how many things I will do to avoid a supernatural summons from my mother? All the things! I cleaned my apartment, you guys! I scrubbed the baseboards with organic lavender soap! I opened all my mail! I crossed off errands that had been on my to-do list since 2008! And in all this avoidance activity, I found the thing my mom wanted to talk to me about. And I did not want to talk about it. At all.
"It" was a set of cassette tapes my mom had recorded before she died, and I had been hiding them in my desk for about seven years. I did not want to listen to them. What if they held information I couldn’t handle? What if she told me I wasn’t really her daughter, that I’d been switched at birth, or that she knew on which date the world was going to end, or that Prince William was actually my secret brother so our future marriage would be a case of incest, and not in a creepy-hot Flowers in the Attic way? What if listening to those tapes was more painful than losing her? No wonder I wanted to AVOID ALL THE THINGS!
My dead mom was on a roll, so she didn’t stop there. She sent me some diamond rings in the mail, rings I had left at a jeweler for 7 years, for, I don’t know, safe keeping? Let’s be real, I did not leave them at the jewelers for safe keeping, I left them because I did not want to deal with my shit. Then, a few months later, I received what I like to call “My Box of Feelings” – a random package from my brother which contained the journals my mom kept while she was pregnant with me. Did I hide that box under my bed? No, I sat down, and I read those journals. I dealt with my shit, and I learned about 40 million things which I will also put in a novel. The title of this novel, BTW, will be “Shit So Crazy I Can’t Make It Up So I Pretended It Was Fiction,” and I will sell it on Amazon for $7.99, so you should get Amazon Prime now so you can get that book shipped to you for free.
Since my dead mom had done such an excellent job of preparing me to deal with my shit, and showing me the rewards inherent in dealing with my shit, like diamond rings, expanded musical knowledge and a gold mine of “artistic inspiration,” I decided it was time to deal with the real shit: my mother’s storage unit. For about 14 years, my siblings and I have shared a storage unit of stuff a moving company had packed for us, full of our mom’s belongings. We didn’t really even know what was in there, but I kept paying the bill for it because writing checks is easier than dealing with my shit. But no longer! I am a Grown Ass Woman!! So I flew to Hawai’i, and my little sister and I rented a U-Haul, and we dealt with our mom’s shit.
|Grown Ass Women drive big vans using their muscles and mermaid powers.|
You know what’s a lot? Physically handling your dead mom’s shit after 24 years. I mean, if you want an exercise in sifting through what matters to you, store a bunch of sentimental items for a few decades, and then physically unwrap every piece of it and see how you feel about it then. I graduated from a box of feelings to a storage unit of feelings. And my primary feeling was this: Who needs this shit????? So we gave it all away. Except for the good silver. We sold that so we can shop at Anthropologie.
At 3am the following morning, I woke up in a panic. Because I gave all my mom’s shit away. I dealt with her shit, and then I threw it all away. See, what I had been storing in that unit was the idea that maybe someday, I could be surrounded by her things again, and then I would be surrounded by her again. But that time has passed. That place is no more. And twelve boxes of wedding china cannot bring her back to me. But I can wear her rings, and look at her pictures, and read her journals, and feel my feelings, because that is where she lives now. We carry the people we love with us, we are their forever home.
So, to the Princes William and Harry, and to the rest of us on this Dead Mom Day, I want to tell you that if you are storing a Buckingham Palace full of your shit, empty it out. Deal with it. You will find a few treasures, but most of it you don’t need. Take the things that no longer serve you, thank them for whatever comfort they brought you, then donate the good stemware so someone else can use it, and throw out the rest.
We are only on this planet for so long, and we must keep our spaces clear for the real valuables, for the things that are actually precious to us. Like a bomb-ass Tina Turner tape.