The times when I was working on it were sacred. They brought me back to making a scrapbook with my mom for my sister. I listened to Christmas music again, used photo corners and scrapbook tape, figured out the placement of the photos on the page. It was just like being back with her. She was with me as I was making this new book of memories. She shared in memories she wasn't alive for.
I wanted that experience again the other day, that sacred remembrance. I have some photos from when I was a child that I had been organizing to put in a photo album, so I decided to pull them out.
I started going through the pictures - of me smiling and playing and getting covered in dirt. Of me jumping around in puddles and petting animals and making concoctions in the kitchen.
But everything was all wrong. The pictures were out of order and I couldn't remember my system and they wouldn't all fit in the photo album and I didn't have enough time for this to be a big project and I was so happy and lighthearted when I was a kid and... my mom was there - in those pictures, taking those pictures. And now she's not.
So I threw all the pictures on the floor. And I left them there for a few hours, because I was worried that if I picked one up I would just tear it in half.
I was angry. My mom used to be there and now she isn't. I was homesick for her. I used to go through photos with her and now I can't. I felt all the pain and anger and sadness in the span of five minutes and I wept. (That's the proper way of saying I bawled my eyes out, right?)
It took me a few hours and a few chapters of Harry Potter (another thing we had in common - she loved Harry Potter and when she first got sick she listened to all the audiobooks) to feel calm again. Calm enough to pick up the pictures without shredding them to pieces. Calm enough to stick them back on top of my bookshelf and out of arms' reach.
It's been almost a week, and I still feel irrationally angry when I see those pictures sitting on my bookshelf. My first urge is still to take them all and tear them to bits. But the saner part of me knows that I'll want those pictures someday. And even though it hurts so much to think of putting them in an album without my mom, I know I'll eventually want to.
In the meantime, well, I guess I'll just keep my hands off any childhood photos. And I'll keep trying to figure out how to live each day without her.