The other funny Christmas story is that my mother knew Dana liked football, but didn’t know which team. So one year my mother got her a Cowboys jersey (or maybe it was me and it didn’t fit). Either way, there was now a Cowboys jersey in our house, and to Dana’s credit, she did not burn it on our front lawn in effigy.
Hail to the Redskins. May their name eventually rest in peace.
IF there is anything I would like to say directly to Dana & Argo, it is that through our conversations, my mother got to have three full years of hearing every day that she was right about Diane and me, that it never should have happened, and that I’d gaslighed her into believing two things; the first is that I was okay. The second is that it was over. Because of you, my mother and I were able to reconcile on a deeper level than we ever had before, because I was able to atone for a number of things that weighed deeply on me, the biggest one being when Diane and I separated from each other permanently…. as I told Diane directly, “don’t you see that I left her for you and now I don’t have either one? Can you see how much it is killing me inside?” It was the resurrection in the middle of the mess, in the words of Dr. Susan Leo.
Our last conversation lasted two and a half hours. There was nothing more to be said, no unfinished business. The grief is for the future, the fact that she is left out from seeing the enormous dreams I have for myself come to fruition. She was wholly supportive of me going into the ministry, because if her ex-husband was any indication, there’s no way I would fail. She’ll never see “The House that Leslie Built.” She won’t be at my graduation from Howard. She won’t be at my UCC ordination service. She won’t work for me until I find a choir director. She won’t play the piano in my sanctuary, as she did one Sunday when I was preaching at Bridgeport. Lindsay and I cried all the way through her solo, and then she cried all the way through my sermon. So, the memory of it happening once has to be enough, even though it was only a pulpit on loan.
In my grief I am feeling absolute disgust at the fact that all I want to do is hug Diane and cry and get snot all over her shirt because we both have such deep, ingrained memories with her. Despite her distaste for Diane in some ways, she was also her accompanist and they used to have a blast together. In fact, as I have said before, Diane came to visit a week before my 16th birthday and my mother was accompanying Diane at a funeral (I think). She knew that we’d want to spend some time alone catching up (because she didn’t know we were actually talking all the time), so she let me go to the church early before they were supposed to meet and said, “I should let you drive so you can show off for Diane.” I was trying to play it cool and said, “no, that’s ok. I’ll walk.” She looked at me and said, “is that what you’re wearing? You usually dress up for her.” That’s how I knew my mom had my number way before I did.
Confidentially, I think she was smarter than me.