…remains in motion. I have been told many times recently that I am that object. I can’t totally be blamed for all the motion. We are in our busy season at Lifetouch. There are underclass students, classroom groups, sporting events, and homecomings that need to be captured, immortalized for generations to come.
Some of my motion I learned from Keith. We called him Tigger because he was always in motion, almost to the point of being a blur. I was never a morning person but that didn’t stop him from bounding into the bedroom way earlier than I was prepared for, setting a steaming hot cup of coffee on the night stand, inches from my face. It was a strategic maneuver for sure. I couldn’t resist and was sitting up as he asked me when I was going to get out of bed. As we would start the day, I’d lounge around the house while he whirl winded about. And then he got sick. Like a relay race, I had no choice but to grab the baton from him. Be the strong anchor for the final stretch. As he ceased to be in motion, I became the one to remain in motion. So in some strange way, I inherited my tendency to not stand still from him.
But what I’m really here to touch on – what has weighed heavy on me, maybe even slowing down my trajectory, is all the objects in my life that are no longer in motion.
Last night, Gary’s mom, Momma Shirley, breathed her last breath. I pray that this is the end cap of a long series of people who are no longer in motion in 2017. It was peaceful and calm. Very similar to my Mom-Mom’s passing in March. She was our first one to leave us this year. One matriarch in the Spring and one in the Fall.
And those that died in between – here I will give each of them pause. Their condensed eulogy. First, Dave (AKA Fruit) a drummer supreme, and a total nut, and a musical genius, lost his battle to cancer in April. He was 53. There was Asa, a name from my far distant youth, who was probably the most creative force of nature I had ever witnessed. I still have cards he made and carvings he did. He was in his 60’s. Then Kim, with her kilowatt smile and heart as big as the sky, was in a hit and run accident on Mothers Day. She was taken from us the next day. She was 48. Harry was in a fatal motorcycle accident in August. He practically lived on his bike so it seemed fitting that he would die riding. I always marveled at his under spoken nature and sweet awkward shyness. He had just retired from the army and was enjoying life to the fullest. He was 48. In September, Eileen lost her battle with Cancer. Her spirit was as strong as the moose gifts she would hand out for all the special occasions. In the words of her brother “the world is down one good person – everyone do your part to pick up the slack.” She was in her 50’s. Aunt Donna was in a car accident that killed her instantly one week later. She struggled after Uncle Mike died. She’s back in his arms and safe once more. And in between Eileen and Donna, Great Uncle Don left us. Between Aunt Donna and Momma Shirley, it was Great Uncle Dayton’s turn to say goodbye.
Meanwhile, in the land of the living, a few of my photography assignments took me back to my old High School – Colonel Richardson. On the first visit I ran across Cynthia. We graduated together and found paths crossing again when I worked for the law firm in Easton. She has always looked just like she did way back in the day. I’m a little jealous but still enjoy talking with her. Her voice is always so quiet and soothing. On my return to the school, I ran across Tommy. He used to hang out with me and my brother when we lived on the farm in Choptank. His father rented our shop and while he was hard at work, Tommy would play with Lance. Now he’s all grown up and the band teacher at Colonel. He reminded me of the time Lance squished his hand with a rock. We were kinda, ok – maybe a lot – mean to him. But he turned out pretty cool. Today, I’m in St. Michaels. Melissa got her picture taken and we did a selfie with Cow to send to Katie. Her kids are growing up so fast. So is Katie’s son, Landon. Then Tom stopped by. Hands down, he was my favorite teacher on the planet. I credit him with starting me on the path to theater. My first loved career. They are all in motion. Just like me. And it is pure joy to intersect with them from time to time. Reminding me that we are all still in motion, bouncing off briefly from each other. Gaining a little energy from the impact to keep us going. Those that have left will have to wait a little longer for us. It is not our time.
It was Mom-Mom’s time. It was Momma Shirley’s time. Mom-Mom got everything ready for those that followed her. Momma Shirley has just arrived to catch them all up on the land of the living. These two mothers never met. But I was always aware of two similarities they had. Both could hear 20 conversations at once from the opposite end of the house. Both could talk endlessly about everything under the sun. There could not be a better beginning or end to this year of loss than those two mothers. We will eternally have the two greatest listeners keeping an ear out for us. Two of the greatest talkers to visit our dreams with stories of those no longer in motion, and of course, to occasionally give us our dose of motherly grief. Two matriarchs of so much more than their own families – eternally cheering us on as we remain in motion. For however long that may be.