Last night, I was meditating in the bathtub. Pretty sure any story I ever tell from this point forward will start with me meditating in a bathtub. Meditubbing? Workshopping a new word for it since I basically hang out in a soup of myself chatting with the Universe 24/7. You survive the pandemic your way, I’ll survive mine, okurrr? Side note - If anyone knows where I can find a waterproof laptop to go with my CBD bath bombs, let me know.
Like I said, tub time. I had just finished thanking my body H2T (<-- that’s head-to-toe for anyone unfamiliar with the classic, albeit kinda problematic, television program America’s Next Top Model). Normally after this gratitude practice, I move straight away into visualizing a space (aka the seaside house of my dreams, complete with kitchen counters, a music room, a giant gather-round-y’all community table, a backyard for my kid, a back apartment for my dad, and a fancy ensuite restroom with a stone-tiled shower and a beautiful - you guessed it- mothaeffin bathtubbbbb!) where I will be able to cultivate my values (safety, serenity, creativity, community, compassion, family) under one roof. You know, Oprah stuff.
But last night, instead of visualizing, something compelled me to take a little meditative detour. That something was grief. Obviously.
Mom’s deathiversary is approaching, and if you’ve been following along with these emo posts of mine, you know that my bones start aching and my hips start screaming and my eyes start weeping and my heart starts longing every time the earth and the sun reach this particular part of its cosmic 12 bar blues progression. I could be naked and watchless and mapless in the middle of some jungle with Bear Grylls and the only thing I could ever tell him with absolute certainty is when February was coming.
I closed my eyes and let the tears come. Mama, mama, mama, I murmured soft and low. I love you. I miss you. Protect me. Come see me. I called to other lost loved ones as well, sometimes out loud, sometimes in my mind. Grandma Ollie. Grandpa Bethel. Poppa Bill. Jeffrey Joe. And now Uncle Kenny. But mostly mama, mama, mama. Mama, mama, mama.
Even though I have never done this during any meditation, I lifted my left hand out of the water, and with my thumb and index finger, gently grasped the charm of my necklace. Which used to be my mother’s necklace. One that I haven’t taken off for years. A triangle little thing from Bloomingdale's that I couldn’t afford, but bought for her anyway. I liked how there were three sides: one for her, one for me, one for my sister. And since all of our words continued to fail us back then, I thought maybe that shiny little triad could communicate these things for me: “I love you. I’m tired. Don’t leave me.”
Suddenly, my two fingers started pinching the triangle with full force. They gripped to the point of ouch, ouch, ouch as the little triangle corners dug into my skin. Kinda spooked, I focused my thoughts on making it stop, and it stopped. I let go of the necklace and examined the triangle imprint it had left on my fingers. What the hell just happened? I thought back to a Reiki session many years ago with my friend Leah where I experienced something similar - a super strong, involuntary grip of a heart-shaped rose quartz crystal.
Is my mom actually listening to me? Is she HERE? In the TUB?
I grabbed the necklace again and almost immediately, my two fingers re-gripped the triangle charm with a level of strength that surprised me. I’m the girl that can’t open pickle jars or play bar chords for more than an hour before needing a break. I wear a wrist-brace to the grocery store sometimes! This was coming from somewhere else.
And then, without releasing the grip of the necklace, my whole arm started moving back and forth, slowly and gently at first. Eyes still closed, almost locked shut, I started talking to my mom. I wish I could tell you exactly what I said, but it was just a big energetic blur of crying and whispers and arm-shaking, topped with what was probably the most awestruck widespread grin I've ever grinned, stretching itself across my face like a fitted sheet on a California King. I wish there was video footage of it for you to laugh at. It was like I blurted out everything I would say to her if some genie had granted me a wish to see her for two minutes. How does one fit 34 years together and 4 years apart into 2 minutes? All the words I said were somehow stacked on top of each other like burger toppings. No, melted into each other like pizza toppings. (I haven’t eaten today and it’s seeping into my writing at this point).
Mostly, I just kept repeating: I love you. I’m sorry. I love you. I’m sorry. Over and over and over and over, my arm shaking all the while. And I don’t know how, but I mustered up the nerve to ask a question, too.
Do you love me, mom?
And that’s when shit got wild. As soon as the question mark dove Banzai-style off my tongue and into the rising steam, my arm was not my arm anymore. It was my mom’s love, and she was basically beating me with it. My hand (still hanging onto the necklace) pounded against my chest and retracted with such force that I’m kinda surprised the necklace didn’t rip right off my body and land in the neighbor’s driveway.
Warmth and happiness came over me. I could feel the energy start to dissipate and my hand finally chilled out. And even though the Lindsay I know would’ve definitely said: “I love you. I’m tired. Don’t leave me,” what actually came out of my mouth in these final meditative moments was: “Thank you, mama. It’s ok, you can go.” The charm slipped out of my fingers, but my index lingered on my thumb, gently rubbing it back and forth like a tiny bow on a tiny violin. There, there. The smallest gesture. The biggest relief.
And just like that, it was over. I called my sister and we cried. I got out of the tub and put on mom’s oversized knitted poncho. The one I wore for, I dunno, fifteen thousand days straight with no shower breaks after she died. I sprayed her perfume in the air. I sat on the couch and waited for Audrie to come home from work and I told her all about it. And I’m telling you about it now, trying very hard not to talk myself out of the awesome possibility and comforting potential that could finally replace wearing my mother like a mortal watch with telling her like divine time.