"Who are you talking to? Sher?" Paul asked as I cackled into the phone.
Of course! Who else do I cackle with? We can just answer with a weird breath or sigh and know what kind of day the other is having!
She's back in Columbus and I know her house looks huge compared to base lodging she's been living in the last month. She said Minnie, her cat, seemed to know she was home, too. Melanie kept Minnie for the month Sher was at Keesler. She starts her new job Monday and it will have decent hours. I hope she'll relax a little and not work herself into the late nights like she was having to do before.
I'm so glad I have my sister. Sometimes I wish Amy had a sister, but she does have dear and close friends and she has Melanie, her cousin, and we've tried to make sure they remained close through the years.
Ray and I have emailed each other several times over the last two or three weeks and I get updates on Shirley, Mama and Margaret's youngest sister. She is on oxygen all the time now, he said, and they have had to make other hard decisions which are best made soon, but ones you never want to have to make, but it's best, right? I know - we know - what he's going through, what Robin is facing. But seeing eternity in the distance and knowing the reality of it being upon you in maybe the next breath are two very different things. Everything changes after that.
I know Mama, Margaret and Shirley talked fairly often and they exchanged birthday cards. They didn't see each other often just because of difficulty of driving in later years and distances - Margaret in Florida, Shirley in Texas then Kansas, Mama sort of between in Mississippi. I saw Aunt Margaret while we were on a vacation trip probably six years ago, and Aunt Shirley - I guess it's been twenty - at Goobie's funeral. It makes me regret maybe not taking the time to travel those distances in the years between. I know Mama went to Margaret's with Sher a few years ago, and the trip was hard on her then. But they remained close in their own ways and I'm glad.
It has always been easy keeping our sistership/friendship close and I'm thankful. I don't know what I would have done without her when Mama was sick, or any time for that matter. No one else understands the "joke" like we do when we say "Some people..." Or remember the prayers and hymns in the hospital room, or freezing and trying to stay warm in that room; or chasing down doctors in the hallways; or listening to Mama pray all night for every "generation," and not realizing it was a prayer until later! It always comes back to our Mama - our beginnings, our bond, our shared love for her and each other. The boys understand other things in their own way and there are sweet memories of all of us together at the hospital, trying to understand what was going on, eating together in the cafeteria, being sure we were all in agreement about her care, trips to Tupelo, back to Iuka, and back again and her move to Sanctuary House. For those times I'm thankful for when we were together.
Tomorrow will be six months since our sweet Mama went to Heaven. A half a year. Sometimes I want to call her, want to be able to go see her, spend the night or weekend, send her a card. One year I went during the winter and got iced in for nearly a week! Oh, joy! Now I'm so glad I did!I I imagine how she ate, walked, how long it took her to fix her hair and get ready to go somewhere, her trips to Wal-Mart, her outlet, even when she probably didn't feel like going, going to the beauty shop to let Elsie once again do disastrous things to her hair! (I thought it always looked nice, but Mama was so particular about how her hair looked and never quite got the look she wanted. Some of the colors Elsie put on it were questionable, but then again, Elsie helped her out of some home coloring disasters, too!) Her orders for wigs and returns of wigs! She loved to watch Dr. Charles Stanley every Sunday morning on TV. She couldn't read without going to sleep. She loved salmon croquettes and made the very best sweet tea ever! She was an artist. She loved her kids and grandkids. She had boxes of Christmas cards and individual cards she'd gotten for people ahead of time for birthdays and holidays, and kept every one she ever received.
One year we three "girls" made an overnight trip into Alabama and spent the night at Wheeler State Park on the lake. I was such a scaredy sleeping in a room alone (there was harldy anyone else at the park), but Sher and Mama shared a room. Another trip Mama and I made to visit Sher in San Antonio, we went to the campground/lodging the base provided and again, was fairly isolated. Sher and I were awake half the night clutching knives, listening for someone to break in, for we heard them outside! The next morning, we realized that some small animal had been rustling around and setting off the motion light! Mama asked, "What were you two girls doing up last night?" We didn't know she'd heard us, didn't want to wake her when we went to get the knives out of the kitchen, didn't want to scare her (we were the "guardians!") so she never knew we were holding our knives and our breaths all night!
So many sweet memories. So many things I don't want to ever forget. Christmases, birthdays, porch days, staying up later than we should nights, breakfasts and dinners, and rides through Riverton, the tour through Papa's house at Glen, rides to Eastport... And as long as I have my sister, I never will.