Mother, the moon looks lovely tonight

“Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

(photograph: moon as seen from Julie’s back porch/ 2013)

Next week is my mom’s birthday, or actually it would have been her birthday. My mom died 27 years ago from a short battle with cancer.
I think she’d be 80 next week. Wow…
That’s hard to imagine.
My mom had just turned 54 when she died. She had become quite sick with what was an out of the blue case of pneumonia. Odd for someone who was never sick and was an avid tennis player (I hate tennis but that’s another story)
She was hospitalized on July 25th.
She stayed in the hospital with what was then soon diagnosed as lung cancer. She died 6 weeks later, having never left the hospital.
I am now her age.
I don’t think I feel like my mom when she was this age. At least I don’t think I do. Mother seemed, well, like mother, not like me, a daughter. And thinking about my mom being 80, well that’s just kind of weird. Dad is 85, but that just seems like Dad, but Mom at 80….??… My mom was not old when she died and resides, I suppose, in a bit of a time warp. My mom will always be this age I am now. Time stands still in one regard and races forward in another. Almost hurts my head thinking about it.

I don’t know if you noticed the moon last night. It caught my eye as I was cutting out the lights making my way to bed. I was walking past a window when a bright light practically blinded me. “Oooooo, a full moon!!” I hear myself saying out loud. “Camera!!! Where’s the camera??” (remember that is my mantra). I go running through the house grabbing my camera. My startled husband, who had been taking a shower, catches a glimpse of me darting past with camera in hand racing outside—in my pjs. I think he now thinks I’ve totally lost my mind—but what’s new?!

First of all it is almost miraculous that I could even see the moon, what for all our months of cloud cover! Good to know there is still something on the other side of the clouds!!
I took a couple of shots—as best as my little amateur self and camera could muster.

When I think of the moon looking as it did last night, with me glancing up at it, I think about the people I love and care for–those near or far, those living and those deceased. Maybe some of them are also glancing up looking at the same moon just as I am—that always gives me such a nice connected feeling–comforting of sorts.

After my mom died, I had a very hard time to say the least. I was having to care for my distraught dad, while living about 70 miles away in one community, as a newly married young woman. I was also teaching in an entirely different community–trying to be in three places all at the same time..not to mention dealing with my own grief—when there was time…

The juggling had all somewhat started when she first went in the hospital and was in ICU. I made the journey back and forth from home every day. Once school started for the year, there was the commute from home to school, then form school to the hospital, then from the hospital back to home via a long lonely interstate late at night. That went on for the 6 weeks.

Thinking back during those dark days, I find it hard to believe I managed staying sane.

In 1987 Linda Ronstadt came out with a song “Somewhere out there” I didn’t pay much attention to the song until it was paired with the movie “An American Tail”. My son was probably around 3 when the movie came out as a video and of course I had to buy it for us to watch. The story is of the Russian jewish immigrant, Fievel the mouse, and of his separation from his family during the escape from “czarist Russia” –we all know how these things play out…drama, trauma, turmoil, resolution.

When I sat down with my young son to watch this movie, the tale of this young little boy (I can’t help he was a mouse) and of how this little boy mouse becomes separated from his family…the scene where Fievel sits all alone looking up at the sky thinking about his sister, who he had been separated from during turmoil, looking at the moon and the stars— que the song— and I immediately start sobbing.
I can’t hear this song to this day without thinking about my mom and crying. That a grown woman can cry over a song sung by a cartoon mouse….hummmm

Separated by time, age, space, dimensions—somewhere out there my mom is looking down on me, of who I am and of who I’ve become–hopefully pleased as I have, I pray, gotten over the growing pains and the more rough patches of growing up—developing into and coming in to my own as a wife, mother and most importantly as an intact woman who hopes to have made my mom proud… I look at this moon this night, I think of my mom and of a little mouse singing a song about “somewhere out there….someone is loving me tonight…”
Happy birthday Mom, I love you too……

Somewhere Out There

written by James Horner, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil

Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight
Someone’s thinking of me and loving me tonight

Somewhere out there someone’s saying a prayer
That we’ll find one another in that big somewhere out there

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there if love can see us through
Then we’ll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there if love can see us through
Then we’ll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true

10 comments on “Mother, the moon looks lovely tonight

  1. Val says:

    I had to not finish reading your post. I knew where it was going. I can’t go there. Even almost thirty years later, I can’t go there.

    The end of first grade started our wild journey leaving home…again, and again, and again.

    There was no internet, e-mail, skype. Now? There is maybe some way to keep in touch. Then? Just letters. Thus began my career as a writer of creative nonfiction, for what — really — is a personal letter but strung together bits of essays?

    “Somewhere Out There” was “our song” from our favorite movie, and something that would — eerily — define our friendship when I left my best friend in June 1987 and moved from New Hampshire to New Mexico.

    Can’t find her now. Can’t find any if my closest friends prior to junior high. All that remains of them is a time warp memory. I am finding that I have so much more to say on this subject.

    Blessings friend, I have to stop typing now.

  2. phyllissnipes says:

    You have MORE than made her proud! I can promise you that!!

  3. Lynda says:

    I was 32 years old with three young children when my mother died at age 65. I weep as I read your beautiful tribute to your mother and yes, I weep at times when I think of how I miss my dear mother as well. We were blessed to have wonderful mothers. Blessings and prayers.

    • I’m sorry to have made you cry—I cried writing it. She left me when I was not where I wanted to be in my life–I didn’t think I was a finished product yet….I’m still not, but better today than I was back then. That whole time issue….standing still in some place, racing forward in others…
      a hug to you my friend—-

      • Amanda says:

        I was 24 years old when I stopped by to see my mom and I found her passed away in her home from a massive heart attack. Cookie, Your post takes me back to that day… Performing CPR without success, calling my dad and sobbing for him to come home… The sadness is still so deep…Spring forward 9 years… I have just came downstairs from watching a sweet baby who looks more than just a bit like her grandmother sleep peacefully…. A sweet baby who every day for nearly the last 2 years has helped my broken heart heal. I don’t mean to ramble … I just felt compelled to share a little. Cookie, your tribute to your mom is beautiful… I agree Phyllis… She is definitely very proud. Love you!

      • phyllissnipes says:

        Amanda (and Cookie), even in the pain you endured, there is growth and, finally, peace. What amazing work at the hand of God…the greatest gift given even in the face of such tremendous loss. But, is it really loss when we get to a point to see the bigger view? As a grandma, I can tell you the precious gift you have upstairs is a treasure. And I’m sure your Mom’s very person is a part of her sweet soul! Our final todays give way to our promised tomorrows!! I pray the greatest blessings on you and your family.

  4. I know Amanda–and I am so so sorry as I was thinking about you when I wrote this –not wanting to upset you–but you with Abigail has your mom so happy and smiling over how wonderful a mom you have become–as you have Amanda–

  5. nonfatlatte says:

    A beautiful post remembering your mother. I loved that song, too, though not for as poignant a reason as yours. It’s a tear-jerker. BTW, I dislike tennis, too! Never could get the hang of it after several years of lessons.

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