March 08, 2005

Anniversary of March 8th, 1995.

Mum sleeping...
My PDA reminded me to remember my mother on March 8th. March 8th is the date that she died in 1995.

A few years ago, much to my shock, I realized that I was forgetting my parents' birth and death dates. I'm just geeky and forgetful enough that plugging information like that into my PDA gave me a warm sense of reliability. Now I'll never forget them on those days.

For me, the ritual of March 8th is simple: I just try to spend a few moments picturing my mother's face. Once I start remembering that, other things begin creeping back in as well:

The softness of her hands.
The anticipation of eye contact. The stare of her eyes, and wondering if she knows me.
The stale and slightly funky hospital odour of her ward at Riverview.
The feel of her pale blue smock, smooth and homogenous, with a softness that seems to come with all well-worn, freshly-laundered hospital clothes.

See also:

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The hospital smock spends it's anonymous life in endless travel: from a shoulder blade to a caregiver's hands, to a laundry cart, and then off for a swim and a tumble in the dryer. Then, it's back out into the ward for another day across the shoulders of someone else's temporarily forgotten grandmother, sister or mother.

Wearing the blue rag hides frail nakedness, providing a small measure of preserved dignity, which disappears as soon as one spits up their chocolate bar all down the front. But there's always another shirt ready to take it's place, and someone else's hands are working their shift, ready to help put on the new one.

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