i was cleaning out my mother’s closet after she passed and i found an unopened christmas gift addressed to me. a present that bought and wrapped years ago. i recalled the wrapping paper from years ago, but couldn’t place the date.
when i saw it, my first instinct was to open it. to unwrap the mystery present, long forgotten, to see what my mother had chosen for me. to see the last gift she would ever give me. but then i decided it was best saved for christmas. when it was originally intended to be opened.
in an effort to clean some things up before visitors came, i put the present [along with a bunch of my mother's other things] into a closet in the guest room. i told myself i would remember it was there. only i didn’t. christmas came and went and though i did receive one other present from beyond the grave [two dollar bills from my grandfather, via my uncle]. it was not until last night that i remembered my mother’s present to me.
only, i did not remember it from grand epiphany. no, i was reminded of it when my mother’s things, which had been stacked peacefully for a month or two, came crashing down.
my aunt [her sister] is staying in that room and was getting ready for dinner in the en-suite bathroom. brian and i were downstairs waiting. suddenly there was this tremendously loud crash. i called for my aunt, but she did not reply. i thought something happened to her, like a dresser falling and crushing her.
i rushed up to see what happened and found her fine, but with the three plastic boxes i stacked in the closet all over. as i went to pick up the boxes. there it was. my mother’s christmas present to me.
believer or not in this sort of thing, but i believe it was her there who did that. who knocked down the boxes. not sure if it was for me to find the present or for her to make her presence known, but either way it was her way of reaching out.
[or maybe that's something of my own imagination].
i took the present into my room and opened it.
while i wasn’t sure what to expect and i didn’t have high expectations, as i reflect on it, the pastels were fitting.
my mother loved to paint. she was an incredible artist. she drew and painted throughout her life. most of it, i remember from childhood, but the cases of paint and the artwork i found [even on manila folders] showed she never completely stopped. she even helped me with some crafts the days before my wedding.
i, unfortunately, was never gifted with her talent. even though i took art classes, i never had the ability she possessed naturally. however, since her death i have felt compelled to paint, to create. i have day dreamed of it. it has come into my dreams at night. it has hovered over me, which is quite unusual.
so maybe this gift of pastels will be the inspiration.
it’s hard to think that this is the last gift she will give me. physically, anyway. that this christmas she was not here. that i will never celebrate another christmas, another birthday, another holiday of any kind with her. that my last opportunity was wrapped up in that present. that she is just gone.
it’s hard to believe, even when you know that is the course of life. it’s just hard to have it happen so soon.