Or is it Fies-hies, in our case? (One of Mom's favorite dinnertime sayings was "Pass the cheese, please, Fies.")
Fishies - for those of you unfamiliar with the stories of my nineteen-year-old cat passing last spring, Calliope taught me the afterlife exists by sending me a half-dozen undeniable signs.
Mom sent three undeniable signs to us yesterday. I may have to explain the significance first.
Mom's last new goal was to go on a roadtrip with me in the spring. She always needed a goal and a metaphor. Two of her most wonderful memories were getting to know Brian and Brenda on separate road trips, so she decided it was my turn. And because she was 66 years old, she somehow got fixated on driving Route 66 with me from Chicago to LA. In a Thelma and Louise convertible. Oh, and that I should bring my expensive video camera and make a documentary out of it. (She was always looking for ways to get a little famous and make a buck...it was one of her charming ways, and a great irony that all she had to do was live her life to become immortalized.) And just in case I wasn't convinced yet, she would finally tell me all those family stories she'd been holding out on. (Mom was the family historian to the end, and had an amazing memory, which I unfortunately did not inherit. Much of our family folklore has died with her.)
So when her three children went to make memorial arrangements, you can imagine our relief when our destination was located above a classic car display room with a huge neon "Route 66" sign. Clearly, we were in the right place.
Then when we picked out urns, we found the blue one with seagulls, which we all instantly agreed was Mom. And ten minutes later I looked at the name of it and saw it was "Coming Home." Her focus the last two days of her life, which eventually shifted in her mind from her Hollywood home with Hero to the afterlife with her Grandpa.
The last sign? Before she lost consciousness, Mom began writing a list of all the people on Earth she loved. Barbara was a fierce list-maker, busy busy busy up to the end. It was very touching. And when she was done, Brenda and I helped her make a list of all the wonderful people waiting to greet her in the afterlife. She got really excited about this, and it helped shift her focus in a beautiful way. Her emotion over getting to see her beloved Grandpa again, and finding out who her father is were new goals that she couldn't wait to accomplish.
After she was done with the lists, she started visualizing a safe place to go to now. She asked me, "What was that icy palace Superman took Lois to, that was beautiful but not cold?" An amazing memory. Dead on. I told her "The Fortress of Solitude, Mom." She smiled and closed her eyes and said, "Oh yeah. Mmmnnn. That's where I am." I had forgotten how much she loved the movie, and Christopher Reeve was a hero of hers during her cancer battle.
So last night I was really tired, but for some reason I knew I had to turn the TV on (Brenda reported the same feeling but actually went to sleep instead...which she desperately needed). I switched channels for twenty minutes, unsure what the hell I was doing. Then I hit A & E. Superman II. At the exact moment when Lois discovers Clark is Superman, and he then flies her to the Fortress of Solitude.
We love you Mom, and we miss you...but it's wonderful to have such a powerful, loving Guardian Angel. Looking forward to a lifetime of fishies.
I'm actually doing really well. I would request that readers send some messages and love to Brenda and Brian. They need some candles lit.
And if you want to smile and think of Mom, A&E is replaying Superman II:
Tuesday, October 04 @ 2:30pm ET
Tuesday, October 11 @ 8:30am ET & 2:30pm ET
Saturday, October 15 @ 1pm ET