we spoke on the phone yesterday. do you remember ?

i said that i’m coming out to visit and that i’d like to take you to lunch. do you remember?

i’m suspended in the warm California air as i write this.  coming in for a landing soon , the captain says.  my heart is heavy suddenly at the thought of you not being at the airport, whizzing in to pick me up curbside like you have for so many decades.

times have changed these past few years and you don’t drive anymore…or even own a car.  let’s be honest though, the freeways are safer that way.  but i miss it just now.  alot.

i’m sentimental like you mom.  and i think about those days gone by, especially when i come back to my home town. childhood was good here , filled to the brim with bright and wonderful memories…most of which are lost to you now. and all of us have grown up and moved on.  now i’m older.  much older.  and this adult life gets hard sometimes.  honestly, some days i want to be a little girl again and know that you will be there to take care of me.

but now it’s my turn.  now i’m the one who takes care of you. and reminds you of the warm, lovely memories of what was. it’s almost like a game we play as i try to jog your decaying mind.

do you remember how much you loved the beach and taking long walks ?

do you remember your favorite color and what lipstick you wear?

do you remember what it felt like to travel to far away places, and how much you loved that ?

do you remember holding your grandbabies for the first time or laughing about your bad cooking ?

i want you to.  i want it all for you so badly.  i want the wholeness of life to wash over you.  but i fear you’re not really in there anymore. you’re eyes don’t sparkle like they used to. instead they stare confused.  i notice.

that is why i try to remember for you and choose to play this game.
i tell stories.  i repeat things.  again and again and again.
i choose to repeat without scolding, so you won’t notice that you’ve asked the same question 10 times.

and i hide my breaking heart from you.

i guess i don’t want to make you scared or let on that you’re not the same.  but you’re not the same.  i’ve lost you.

i’ve grieved little by little and bit by bit.  i miss you so much it hurts on some days- even though you’re still here.  i tell you i love you often, and i hope you remember that.  and i hope somehow it’s enough to keep your fragile mind from slipping away completely.

but, i’m bracing my heart for the day you don’t remember me anymore.
164this is the part of being an adult that nobody ever tells you about…that life is a long string of collecting moments, holding them closely and then releasing them back.
there’s so much letting go. and most of the time we’re not really ready for it.  we are either being pushed from the nest or pushing others from it.

ready or not, whether we want to or not.  nothing stays stagnant in this strange and beautiful dance of adulting. ( yes, i made up that word)
i want to hold you tightly mom and i don’t want you to forget the rich, full life you’ve lived.  but i can’t fix this brokenness, hard as i might try.

for now, my hand can hold your hand-aging and soft.  and my heart can hold the memory of you-complete and whole.  and i can do my best at this adult thing.

knowing that adults usually live somewhere between braveness and frailty on most days.  and that’s ok.
today is just one of the frail days.

i’ll love you forever,
xxoo jamie



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6 Responses to remember

  1. evermorecolor says:

    oh wow. Jamie. I am so very sorry for this so-very-brave “adulting” you are being called to. UUUUuuuuugh. I CANNOT EVEN . . . When it’s my turn, I fear I will be a puddle. So hard. You are walking in it so fierce-tender like. I adore you, Friend. Once again . . . beautiful expressions of your heart.

  2. Pat Edmonds says:

    Beautiful words that have so much power! Thank you from all who are walking the same road, whether at the beginning, middle or end.

    • jamjobryan says:

      Pat, I apologize for not responding sooner and thank you for such kind words. I am deeply grateful that what i offer could encourage or speak to those walking this strange and hard road. It’s a space and time we all need community and shared grief wherever we can find it. Be blessed my friend ,xxoo jamie

  3. Jamie — my husband and I have gone through similar “adulting” trials with our dads. One with Alzheimers, one had a stroke and was incapacitated for the next 5 years. Our most severe “adulting” trial to date was when we lost our son. But God is bigger, God’s grace is greater, God’s love is dearer. You don’t even have to hang on to Him, cause He is hanging on to you. Love you, cause you love my dear friend Connie.

    • jamjobryan says:

      Katie it means so much to know you have walked through such hard “adulting” trials and can say It Is Well. You are a wonderful and courageous woman and I am grateful we connect through our dear Connie. Your life is a beautiful picture of a soul tested by holy fire .
      May His grace be upon you, xxoo jamie

  4. By the way–your writing is truly gifted by God!! So beautiful!!

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