Driving past Mom's residence--but not picking her up--on my way to church this morning was difficult.
Somehow I felt guilty for not stopping to get her, though I knew that was crazy.
Entering church, I sat in a different place than I had always sat before with her.
The service was fine until Communion and the words, "Do this in remembrance of me."
I thought about Jesus, aware of his impending death, asking his friends to remember him--a sad moment.
Then I thought about Mom on the day before she died, a Tuesday. I wished I had spent more time with her. Instead, I was bustling around going to work as usual and doing other errands. I could have chosen to spend the afternoon with her.
When I walked up to take the bread and wine, I was acutely aware of not pushing her up there with me in her wheelchair.
I felt like half a person. I guess that's how widows feel when their husband dies, or how widowers feel.
Back in my seat, I realized that from now on this central Christian ritual will always be in remembrance of Mom, as well as Jesus, at least in this particular church--unless I am with other family members to distract me. On April 13 with my cousins, the Communion didn't strike me this way, nor on April 20 when I was rushing back to do things with Roz. Last week I missed church to attend the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA.
After church I attended the lecture on Judaism by Rabbi Michael Mayersohn of the Alliance for Christian and Jewish Studies. I couldn't have done that if I had her with me--she got bored in long lectures.
Then I drove home, happy to arrive at 11:15 and not to have to do shopping for Depends and other necessities, not to have to spend another two hours or more taking her to my house, urging her to eat, taking her back to her residence, settling her, and coming back home.
I am relieved to have more time for myself today--writing, gardening, sorting through her things to pass them on to my brothers and sister, paying bills.
But for the foreseeable future, I will be thinking of her as I drive to church, during church, and during the hours after church. Sunday was the day I spent the most time with her, except for doctor days, holidays, and other special events.
How strange. I couldn't have predicted that.