Ten years ago, my mother died.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know what a pivotal moment this was in my life.
“Pivotal”. Yeah, let’s try that again.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that this moment broke my life.
But I forgot. I forgot it was today.
I forgot because I’ve gotten used to it. I forgot because the hole in my heart has healed, or, perhaps, scarred over. I forgot because the gap is normal. I’m used to not having a mother, to my children not having a grandmother–indeed, three children having never met her.
And then, I struggle sometimes with feeling guilty. Because, what kind of son am I if I don’t remember the last day my mother had on earth?
There was one moment that I felt guilty that I wasn’t there when she died. That’s a completely stupid feeling. I had moved my family out to Peoria the year before. My parents had visited only a month or so before she died. I wasn’t being irresponsible or neglectful. But, when I looked over the obituary, and it listed me as being from “Peoria, Illinois”, there was this quick, sharp jab of guilt.
Stupid human psyche.
My brother and father have already written today. I wouldn’t be surprised if other little memorials began appearing throughout the day. They are worth the read, especially my father’s. (More on that in a moment.)
For myself, the memorial I set up to my mother is the LARP I wrote, A Flower for Mara. Because the death of my mother truly taught me about death and dying.
In his piece, Dad says that his heart was shattered ten years ago, and at the same time, says that it was one of the best things that ever happened to him. Those aren’t idle words. I saw Dad earlier this month, and it was clear to me that he feels every single day of those ten years. He doesn’t complain or grumble (oh no!), but I can tell that he carries them all.
And still, to be able to see past all that pain, to see through to the good that God is doing…. That is a blessing.
I know that it’s more subtle, but A Flower for Mara is also in honor of my father. In the dedication, I wrote: “To Leon Ben-Ezra, my father. You showed me that, truly, there is life after death.” And you can see him in the pictures in the book, which were taken by my sister Adiel. It’s his hand holding the roses on pages 29 and 38. It’s his grief-stricken face on page 32. And it’s him you see on page 40, worshiping in the cemetary where they buried my mother.
A Flower for Mara is in memory of my mother, but it’s maybe even more about honoring my father. I watched him carry his flower, and I’ve watched him put it down.
Life after death.
Why am I talking about page numbers and pictures you can’t see? I’m going to fix that. For this weekend, I’m making A Flower for Mara free.
Just click on this link and help yourself. Edited to ask: Give-away is closed now. Thanks for all the interest.
I’ll probably take down the file on Monday or thereabouts, so spread the word. But, please, don’t just share the link to the file. Link to this post. I want to honor my parents. Help me in that goal, please.