Today is December 23rd.
I have just woken up with my eyes overflowing with tears and the room seems shrouded in mist.
Today’s entry in my diary reads, collect Florentina and Andrew from NYU, let Christmas begin!
How is it possible to keep see-sawing from thinking that Andrew is alive only to remember that he is not. That he is dead. Every time I “remember that he is dead,” I get punched, in the gut, the stomach, the face, my underbelly, I’m a huge bruise on the outside, and a red hot shredded mess inside.
And here’s the thing though, I am responsible for a lot of this. If I see something that Andrew would have liked, or not liked for that matter, I go down that “road” and dig up all sorts of memories. You know how it is with these things; they gather momentum.
It is the Law of Attraction, and before I know it, it is August 2005. I am with the whole family, telling a woman in a car park near the ruins in Pompeii not to feed chicken bones to this stray puppy.
Next we are in the car asking two policemen, stationery at a gas station on their motorbikes, to point us toward the motorway to Naples.
“Wait just one minute,” says one of them, before continuing his conversation with his colleague. They keep talking, and talking and sitting in our steamy car, we start to think that it would have been quicker to try finding our own way out of Pompeii.
“Look,” I say to the policeman, leaning out of the window. “You are busy, we’ll be alright, we’ll find the way.”
“No, no Signora,” he insists. “We’ll take you to the motorway in just one minute.”
The children start chuckling, and so do I and Hugh.
“This is so Italian,” Andrew says.
Next, they stop a motorbike and start talking with the men on it, arms flying, voices rising. The guys on the bike start it up and make to leave, the two policemen draw their firearms and gun their bikes. We are in the middle of it.
“What the hell,” says Florentina.
“Oh fuck,” I say. “Now what?”
We are in shock, but the boys are doubled up in laughter, they think it’s the funniest thing ever. Then as suddenly as it all started, it ended. It was a misunderstanding, the guns are holstered, the “bad guys” are free to leave.
“Venga Signora. Ci segua, l’accompagniamo – Come Signora, follow us, we’ll escort you,” the two policemen say smiling as if nothing had happened and position their bikes, one in front and one behind us. That’s how they drove us to the entrance of the Autostrada del Nord. Then with a flourish, they raised their helmets and bid us goodbye.
We talked about it all the way to Naples and on to Rome. And we often reminisced about it around the dinner table whenever we talked about our many travels.
The Law of Attraction says: “… set your tone for things to appreciate…”
And I do, I appreciate ALL the moments that add up to over twenty years of memories of, and, with Andrew. And I do appreciate and treasure the reassurance that Swamiji, one of Amma’s Monastic disciples gave me in response to a question I posed to him; he says:
Aum Amriteswaryai Namah
“… Andrew is still your son. He is feeling comfortable where he is now. He still remembers all of you and is constantly sending his love and asking you not to get worried about him. Please do pray. Thanks,
But I would rather have him here; I would rather deal with a pile of his dirty laundry and that general whirlwind that comes when all of ones’ children are home two days before Christmas. And they have “secret” meetings in each other’s room about… guess what – presents, stockings. Every year they remind each other of which stocking belongs to whom.
But Tigger…. I can’t bear to think of your stocking lying empty and sad, like all of us.
I love you Andrew