Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reading for the Dead

My mom and I have had a tradition for years that when I finished writing something, or even sometimes if it was just a snippet of a scene, I would come downstairs and read it aloud to her. I knew when my writing was good by the emotional response I got from her. Laughter was good. Nodding head definitely good. Tears were best of all. I knew if I could make Mom cry that I'd done some darn fine writing.

I didn't write for a year after she passed. I couldn't. It was our dream. How could I carry it on without her? She was the one who dreamed of writing long before I was born. It was a dream and a love she passed on to me, but it didn't feel right to do it without her and how could I gauge if my writing was any good or not without her there to show me?

I was bemoaning this to my sweet friend Laura one night that one of the things I wanted to do the most was impossible. I wanted to sit down with my mother and read my ARCs to her. I wanted her to see this finished thing we'd done. Laura's response? "Then do it! My grandma talks to her mom all the time. She sits down with her picture and tells her all about her day."

It really got me thinking. Would it really be so crazy to read my story to my mom? The picture above was so her, it's almost like she's sitting in the room with me listening. It's so real it almost moves. I can imagine her nodding at me. Can feel her hand on my own telling me I'd done a good job, just looking at it, so why not give it a try.

Tonight, I did just that. I opened up the picture of her on my desktop and put my ARC right next to it and started reading aloud. It has been one of the most therapeutic acts I have performed, aside from writing letters to her. See, it doesn't matter if she has a body or not. I believe in an afterlife and I know with all my heart that she's not far away, and though she may not be able to sit through all of my reading, because I'm sure she's a busy lady, I know she hears parts. I can feel as if she is here as I read.

That may sound completely wacko to somebody else, but I don't care. It makes me happy to read to my mom and that's all that matters to me. It's just one more way I can connect with her and ease the ache of her loss, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Quote of the Day: "The pen is the tongue of the mind."
Miguel de Cervantes

14 comments:

ali said...

That, my friend, is the most beautiful thing I've read in a long, long time. ((Thank you))

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm so glad you did it. I know your mom was there, nodding and listening, and yes, crying.
We can't always see it but love is forever. It's a constant. I'm so happy for both of you for this moment. I don't know that you'll ever have a more poignant reading. Keep doing it, sis.

Nikki said...

She's definately listening. I'm sure she's taking time out of her busy schedule to listen to ALL of it. I don't think she'd miss that for anything. She has to be so proud of you. Love ya!

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

You know, I think reading to your mom is beautiful. My mom passed away almost fifteen years ago, but there are times when she's right beside me. I can just FEEL her, you know? I remember seeing you at the LDS Story Makers conference, or at least one of the conferences. I don't remember which. Glad I found your blog.

Haley Hatch Freeman said...

This really touched me. I'm glad you did read to your mom. Keep it up.
I know she is more than aware of you and listening. There is no doubt she is proud of you.
I loved seeing a picture of your mom. I've heard so much about her it was neat to see her.

Haley Hatch Freeman said...

One more thing-
I have been out of the loop and just now saw your cover of your book!!! I got so emotional and excited for you when I saw it! Your dream is coming true!

Valerie Ipson said...

I love this, Karen. One of the best parts of having writing success is having people we love to share it with. Thanks for reminding us that we can do that even if they've passed on. My mom was a writer and even though she's gone, I am going to read my book to her (someday...cross fingers) and I know she'll be just as pleased as if she was here sitting beside me.

elizabeth mueller said...

Kay, thank you so much for sharing this very personal experience with us! It is a wonderful thing that you have done and I know your mom was there listening! She loves you so much!!

HUGS!!

Kimberly Job said...

Thanks for sharing this, Karen. I'm so glad you can carry on the tradition of reading to your mom. I know she's proud of you. Not only because of your writing success, but because of who YOU are.

Marta O. Smith said...

Your mother may be busy on the other side, but what else could be more important to her than her daughter, in the eternal scheme of things? I'm sure she is keeping tabs on you, more often than you might suspect.

Karlene said...

What a great idea!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Karen, I think this is a great solution to feeling lonely for your mom. I've often wanted to go to my mother's graveside to talk with her, but I live 300 miles away from her. I might do the same thing.

jenica said...

i'm quite sure your mom heard every word. and i'll bet she cried with joy.

xoxo

Nishant said...

I'm so glad you did it.

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