When we look back at this time a year ago, we never imagined that we would be where we are now. By this time many of us have learned a lot about ourselves and are learning about other things. We are learning how to make it in a simpler world, we have to, right?
My Mom decided approximately six months ago that she had a desire to add to her “bucket list,” no she is not dying anymore than the rest of us, she is a good southern woman and they always plan ahead. My Great Aunt had told me several times about how my ex-husband was going to be a pall bearer at her funeral and she was not dying at the time either. They often times were prepared for their funerals when they happen, still do, ha! Anyway, I am sorry I got off track. This day and time when your Mom says she wants to do something on her bucket list I suggest to do just that, these times people are suddenly dying. On the plane to Texas I had the opportunity to watch “It’s a Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood,” Mister Rogers story. I loved watching that as a kid and the movie did not let me down at all. Speaking of a simpler life! We tend to think that life has passed us by but I took lessons from that memory and movie with me throughout our trip and brought it home to heart again. It was much needed with all that is going on and we don’t know. I had friends asking me, “aren’t you afraid to fly into Texas, you know it’s a hot spot with the virus right now,” I told them I was more afraid not to go to Texas and see my Mom and family. It’s about does my love weigh more than my fear?
If there is anything we can learn from this is to do things now we may regret that we didn’t do later. How many times have we heard at the end of people’s lives that they had regrets about the things they didn’t do. Part of grief is regret, I try to live my life as best as I can without regret. whether we are in a pandemic or not. Fortunately, when I lost my only son at 18 I did not have regrets about last words or anything like that, I am not going to say I got away totally regret free, I am just saying we can be kind and accepting, it’s much more simpler. Being kind doesn’t mean buying into anything and being gullible, it just means we can not mean when we disagree ~ one of the things I love about polarities is the power of choice of our own thoughts and perspectives, there may or not be conspiracies in government and I am sure there are and there are not, meaning we don’t know which are real and not real, true or how true because I am certain in all this uncertainty that much of what we hear is true and much is not. Is that where you want to put your trust and power? None of us know how much time we have here but I am pretty sure that worrying about what we don’t know is not going to expand our lives, I say worry, not taking precautions and care and concern respectfully as you see fit so you will have less regrets.
Back to the trip! Mama wanted to go to Sweetwater, Tennessee to The Lost Sea so we decided to take a road trip as many are these days with flying wherever you want to go is out. Last year I thought I would be going to California at this time to the Jimmy Kimmel Show and etc., but that stuff wasn’t happening so “Mom’s Bucket List” was in right and divine order, I rented a car and drove, I love driving!!! I thought I should hire myself out to take people on road trips, they are such a wonderful experience!
I wanted to have coffee and beignets with my mom and brother in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Cafe Du Monde. I had said driving along the way that we need to stop about 5:00 for dinner, but no, I kept driving so when we got to the hotel about 9:00 in the evening, there were not many places open. Somewhere in the drive I forgot that places, even in New Orleans were not “popping” later especially on a Monday night. We walked down the street, I love walking but find many people are put off with how much I love to walk, I love walking as much as I love driving. My mom and brother did not care for the walking either, after we walked a couple of blocks, I was going to ask a lady if she knew a place we could eat. These days are so crazy some of this stuff seems kind of surreal, out of a movie! The lady just walked past me and didn’t acknowledge or notice me, like a zombie. I didn’t know what to think about that. We are going through Black Lives Matter and I know racism is real, so I thought is this reverse racism? I thought about the movies I had seen about how bad black people were treated and how when they spoke to white people how insulted the white people would be, so then I thought she didn’t seem insulted. There is racism though, I have black friends that tell me about it and have worked in places that black people were not considered to work, hence there is racism. At the same time I respect and have heard even from black people that the movement is a conspiracy, maybe the movement is I can believe that but the issue is real. Anyway, back to my story. I was thinking about how my friends would feel disrespected if they spoke to someone and the person did not speak back, I really didn’t feel like the lady was disrespecting me either. So I go back to Mister Rogers and think about he commanded respect but not with his words or actions but with his words and actions (polarities again), this is the thing, he behaved in such a manner that was kind, not a pushover but genuinely kind that no one would be hateful to him, so he was respected. The problem with many of us is that we demand respect, it is not to be demanded you cannot treat people poorly and expect respect. I don’t think most people intend to treat people poorly, I just don’t think they are thinking, they are just going off of what they “know.” Which is not really with thought. I took you through a long thought process to show you how our thinking can work and admittedly how we go from what we think we know, but we don’t know. For all I know that lady legitimately could not hear me for whatever reason, maybe physically or maybe she had lots on her mind as people do these days. I can tell you my first thought was “hmmm, she didn’t speak to me, she doesn’t like me,” that’s what started the process. The reality is she doesn’t know me and it’s ok. I am curious if you have a thought process, if this has been helpful? Please let me know in the comments. We did get up the next day and go to the Cafe Du Monde, we had some great coffee and beignets, Mom and Kelly even got to see and hear some wonderful live jazz music as we enjoyed our breakfast outside. It’s a beautiful memory and we hope to go back again.
We had to go though, The Lost Sea still awaited us and was the reason for our little shenanigans. I got to do more driving. We got to Sweetwater to spend the night before our big day, what we drove all that way for. The next morning we got up and went, it was so exciting!!! That morning I got to go get Mom and I coffee and a little red headed boy greeted me with a big hello, then as I looked at crystals in the gift shop another boy began chatting with me, he was so well spoken, thoughtful and intelligent. Then we got a tall really handsome and polite tour guide, the age range on the boys just seemed to progress, I’ll get back to that in the next paragraph. I got to walk the cave with my mom and brother, there were steep and slippery spots going down into the cave toward the water. I got to hold on to Mama’s hand and arm, I didn’t want her sliding down hurting herself, it gave me great pride and pleasure to be able to do that for her as I know she did it for me when I was little, it meant a lot to me! I didn’t know that I would get to have that opportunity someday. It is a wonderful memory that I will get to have the rest of my life. No regrets only respect and love. We had a wonderful trip, the joy that it brought was priceless! It was time to head back though that Thursday morning. I drove all the way back from Tennessee to Texas playing oldies and classic rock even singing along giving them a concert whether they wanted it or not, but they love me and seemed to enjoy it and didn’t seem like they were just tolerating it…but I don’t know. What I did know is that I cherish this time, there was no frustration, no arguments, no shoulda’s, nothing.
The next day we were back in Texas, it was my son”s birthdate. I lost my son in 2011 when he was 18 years old so he would have been 28. We got to do what we have done on his Birthday in the past. There is a memorial bench for him and friends in the frisbee golf course he liked to play in, it was the last place his Dad saw him alive so it was a fitting place. He was a free spirit. We didn’t know he was going to to perish when he did. I do know when those boys interacted with me that day there was a bit of him with them, in their smiles, their politeness, their big personalities. A couple of his friends met us at the bench to celebrate and decorate , it too was very meaningful that he is still remembered. I am grateful that the kids friends can go there and have peace and special time remembering them not just on Birthdays but always.
I then got to go be with my special friends, sisters, some that were with me that tragic day and watched me along the way. I was the only girl as a child but always wanted a sister. As a young woman I went through a time of not liking or trusting women. These women though, we have been together through some of the sickest, saddest times of our lives as well as some of the most joy-filled and humorous. We didn’t know how and when we would be connected or that we would have the bonds we have, we didn’t know. What we do know is that we have each others backs and continue to grow.
The next day I got back on the plane. I didn’t watch a movie, there was nothing to gain. I felt everything immensely and was so worn out. I was taking with me much love, songs, laughter, experience, memories, and that is what I know. I felt was a beautiful day in the neighborhood and all that’s good, I took it from Mister Rogers perspective, you know thinking like he would. I look forward to more that’s for sure, my heart was so full and I think that there are things I don’t know and that’s ok.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and have a beautiful day!