I’ve been staring at the clouds a lot lately. That’s because there’s real clouds up there. They’re real. Actual clouds. Clouds I haven’t seen in years, nor thought I’d never see again. I keep telling my dad this. He thinks I’m crazy. But they’re there. They’re not as high up as you think, they sit lower in the atmosphere. Like they’re hanging set pieces in a high school play. They move fast against the backdrop, blown by some unknown force. And they’re real. They’re white, grey, stormy, stratus, cumulonimbus and more. It’s how I know my mom is watching over me. It’s how I know she’s still here, even when she’s physically not.
Mom went to heaven two weeks ago today. She went to sleep Saturday night and didn’t wake up Sunday morning. Since then, I have not stopped looking at the clouds. The more real they look, the more it feels like it’s her saying “Mommy’s here.” And there’s no trails up there either. Not many, at least. Far fewer than I’ve seen in recent years. I’ve seen three since she’s been gone, and none of them affect the clouds at the forefront. I saw a gigantic one rip across the sky yesterday, but those real clouds I keep seeing were in front of it. They were there, still fast-moving, undisturbed by this intrusive faux formation. “That’s the last of it,” I told my father as we drove down the main town road. He doesn’t see what I keep seeing. But it’s hard to tell him that this is Mom is talking to me. He has his own thing with her, I should have my own too. I just want some acknowledgement about what we all can see if we choose to look at it.
Over the first week after it happened, I was told by everyone to “look out for my father.” But he’s happier than I’ve seen him in years. The past five have been so agonizing for our family; Watching my mother’s slow decline, losing the ability to walk, to speak, to communicate the thoughts from her brilliant mind. She was in so much pain, we just wanted to make her as comfortable as possible until she didn’t want to be here anymore. And, true to her nature, that’s exactly what she did. Only she waited until I was on the plane home from Italy to head out. She was home, though. That’s what mattered. And now she’s at rest in her new home; A mausoleum on the bottom row, across the way from her parents and grandparents, who have a lovely spot under a tree. My dad will join her when it’s his time to go but based on his organization and dedication to her and the house, it won’t be for a long, long while.
I’m sitting in an Uber home right now, writing this after watching the clouds. I’m stuck in traffic on Route 80, a car accident happening just ten minutes before our arrival. Another nod to Mom’s sense of dark humor, since she and my father produced driver safety videos for an insurance company for years. Just as long as you don’t kill anybody, Ma. There will be more time to tell even more stories about my mother, as I have so many, and was hearing even more from all the people I’ve reconnected with. They all tell me I look just like her. If you see me, you’ll see her too. And if you’re not seeing me lately for whatever reason, just look up. I’m sure the beauty of those clouds is enough to tell you exactly what is real.