Tuesday, May 15, 2012
If I were to add up the hours of my mom's life that I got to spend with her, I'd most likely discover the majority of them were spent walking. Maybe these are just the hours I remember the most because I had her all to myself then.
I'm not sure when these walks began. Most likely I joined her when I was still in her belly. I'm sure she pushed me in a stroller through many miles I don't even remember. When I was older and started running, we would often walk awhile together before I'd venture off on my own, seeing if I could get my run in and still catch her for the end of her walk. When I went off to college, we'd often be off on a walk within hours of my arrival home for visits.
I never thought much about it then, but I think we both saved up certain secrets for those walks. All those things we stored in ourselves that we thought no one else would understand- we shared them then. Sometimes I'd convince her to walk just a little more, and then just a little more, because I wanted more time. Although it was always unspoken, it was as if we each agreed that these times were free of judgment. That's not to say we didn't give each other our opinions. In fact, looking back, I realize that she had mastered the art of giving her opinion without judgment. I can only hope some of this wore off on me.
On our last walk together, she shared some of her fears. Death was not included. I'm not sure if this was because she wasn't afraid of it or because she had no way of knowing it would happen so soon. Mostly likely, it was a little of both.
A few weeks later, she was gone.
I hadn't realized until she was gone how much of my life I spend filtering what I say to avoid judgment. I took for granted the luxury of having time and space to say whatever I wanted, however I wanted to say it, even if it was just for an hour. Without it, I often feel trapped in my head, as if my voice got stuck somewhere between my brain and my mouth.
It's no coincidence then, that I've spent so much time running and riding by myself since she died. Although these times are silent, they are still my escape from the filter. They're my time to dream freely even if now I don't get to speak these dreams out loud. I'm pretty sure Mom hears them anyway. She was always one to walk along my road with me, even when I chose the bumpy, uphill route.....