The day my Mom passed away I stopped at her nursing home still in shock, and walked into her room half-expecting her to be asleep in the little bed. It was neatly made with a stack of packages where her feet had once been. I glanced at her collection of photos, taped allover the small wall unit her bed was pressed up against, and saw the little ceramic pot I had made her in high school. I took it and stared at the tiny heart I had carved out of the bottom. I forced myself to just put it in my bag, and turned my attention to the packages. One held a little Blue's Clue's outfit she had obviously meant for JT. I pressed it to my chest and then we left, the only other item I took was the blanket she always draped across her legs. She was always cold.
At first remnants of my Mom were allover our apartment. The blanket, the little pot, a card she had sent, a stack of photos with her and JT sleeping, toys she had surprised him with, pajamas she had handed down to me, magazines she had finished reading. Piece by piece they disappeared, until one day I realized all that remained were the blanket, pot, and a Blue's Clue's mailbox she had been incredibly excited to order from a catalog for JT. Playing into his Blue's Clue's obsession had been her way of desperately attempting to be part of his daily life from the confines of her bed. JT has long since given up on Blue's Clue's, and when Paul suggested we give away that mailbox I gave him the Hello Kitty Deathstare until he nervously backed away.
Now several years have passed, and whole days, maybe even weeks, can pass by without the stab of pain I thought would never go away. I was right, it hasn't, but now it is dull rather than piercing and elicits only the occasional tear rather than muffled sobs. I can speak freely of her memories with a smile, and only in rare moments am I startled to realize I am crying, hastily wiping the tears I promised her I would not shed.
Last week I went through JT's old clothes I had saved and found the Blue's Clue's outfit my Mom never had the chance to watch him open. She no doubt had planned to pull out her little disposable camera, snapping pictures of his delighted cherubic smiles for her to look at when we were home and she was alone. At bedtime I pulled the pants and shirt onto Mica, proud of myself for storing them long enough to pass the magic down to my baby who never even had a chance to meet her namesake. Mica smiled and squealed "Blue's Clue's!" signing it the same way JT had as a toddler, momentarily taking me back in time, as though I would look up and see my Mom happily taking her picture too.