Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mom Always Took Good Notes

SHORTLY AFTER I MOVED TO BOULDER, Colorado, my mother stopped by my home and handed me a thick document. Across the top and in all caps it read LAUREN’S LOG.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“It’s what happened,” she said.

I thumbed through page after page to see that everything she’d written in her blue notebook during the worst two months of my life was now typed up and organized, each separate date an underlined heading. Single-spaced, the pages totaled forty-seven.

“Forty-seven pages?” I asked, incredulous.

“You have no idea,” Mom said. “Hell, you weren’t really there half the time!” She laughed at her own joke and left to resume her morning errands.

By then, I was getting used to these whirlwind visits from Mom. Rarely a day passed that she didn’t stop by to give me an interesting article she’d cut out for me or to pick up an empty Tupperware container that had held the soup she’d dropped off two days earlier. I thought the frequency of her visits was tied to the excitement of finally having one of her four grown children living in the same neighborhood, let alone in the same time zone. Today, however, I believe these visits were Mom’s way of reassuring herself that the nightmare was over—that her youngest child, the one who would’ve been voted Most Likely to Laugh in the Face of Adversity, was still alive, and indeed laughing again.

I stood alone in my kitchen staring at Lauren’s Log, my head buzzing. I’d been told that Mom had taken copious notes and collected scraps of paper with others’ notes during what I now refer to simply as “the train wreck,” but I was taken aback by the abruptness of actually receiving them. Over the past six months anecdotes had been doled out—gradually and tentatively—by those who’d been with me as I lay unconscious and unlikely to live, or as I screamed from physical pain so great I wanted only to die. As if putting together a jigsaw puzzle with no photo on the box to guide me, I’d taken each detail, each story, and figured out where it fit into the larger picture that was unfolding, the richness and depth of the scene not yet taking shape. I sensed that in my hands I held fistfuls of additional puzzle pieces.

I tucked the document under my right arm and climbed the stairs of my new home, clutching the railing with both hands to pull the weight of my body up each step, slowly and one at a time. Reaching the second floor, I paused to catch my breath, then wobbled precariously to the overstuffed chair in my home office and sat, exhausted.

I began to read, and ten pages in I was choking back tears for these people: the baby, the husband, the new mom. Oh my god, oh my god, I said under my breath over and over and over again. I felt like I was watching a movie and was suddenly transposed from the audience to the screen. Holy cow, this is me, I remember thinking, as if discovering this fact for the first time.

I had no idea how unprepared I was to look back, na├»vely believing that because I was alive and breathing and moving more each day, I was healing. I had no idea that the wounds to my psyche were far greater than the wounds to my body, that the true healing hadn’t even begun.

Lauren’s Log helped fill in more details, but the bigger picture revealing purpose and meaning wouldn’t emerge until I began to write about it, presumably to give encouragement to others in similar situations. With ten years of hindsight, I now know that I wrote Zuzu’s Petals for me, and in so doing gave myself the final piece of the puzzle.

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This is the Introduction to Zuzu's Petals: A True Story of Second Chances by, well, ME! Download a PDF of the first 4 chapters of Zuzu's Petals FREE here.  Click on the link below the green "Buy the Book" button.  Happy reading!  

1 comment:

  1. Amazing story, amazing book, amazing Lauren, Amazing mother!! AMAZING!!!