A mugging in winter wonderland

Well, it was brief and only internally dramatic. No blood, not even bruises.

The stage was set for it this morning when I looked at my right foot and thought: Huh, you my foot look funny. It was my foot I was looking at, but Mama’s foot – or rather feet – it instantly brought to mind. They, like so much else about her, had been marked by her illness. Her slender, well-defined feet became puffy. She needed new shoes to accommodate them.

The slight swelling of my right foot (due to nothing more worrisome than a running injury) became a physical reminder of what cancer visited upon my mother.

So she’d been brought to the fore before I’d even brought Micah to school through yesterday’s many inches of snow.

After drop-off I walked to the park – no running with that aching arch – and was welcomed by a very vocal blue jay. It was easy to spot: Electric blue against the white. It was heckling something, some other animal, me, who knows.

I crunched along the narrow path already tread into the snow on the Long Meadow. I had the sun on me. The white under me. Wandering through all that light.

That’s when I was mugged by a memory.

It used all that light to sneak up on me and then – wham – slugged me just under the ribs.

That memory hit hard enough to make me cry.

Mama’s last summer was the summer we didn’t visit. The one summer we didn’t manage to see each other was her last. No more summers together after that lost last one.

I apologized to her when she was dying. She said it was alright. What else could she say?

The fact remains: I missed her last good season and never told her the whole truth about why.

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