The 3:45 alarm goes off this morning, and I linger in bed for another five minutes, something I hardly ever do. I get up and shut off my back-up alarm across the room before it has a chance to go off (it rarely ever does, as it is set at 4:00 a.m.)
I have a habit of peering through the drapes from our upstairs bedroom each morning; I love looking out onto the quiet street. Sometimes there’ll be a cat walking by. Sometimes I’ll see the flashes of my neighbors’ TV through the drapes of their apartment across the street; that neighbor works very late nights at CVS Pharmacy and is probably unwinding before bed.
This morning I am just in time to see a homeless man meandering down the street with a shopping cart and a very large trash bag. He is picking through trash and recycling bins in the neighborhood. I hardly ever see anyone out there at this hour.
The homeless man appears to be smoking a cigarette and I wonder how he is able to afford cigarettes when he is homeless. Regardless, I feel very fortunate that I am not in his position.
In my bathroom, as I am brushing my teeth, I notice a moth perched on the edge of the mirror. I don’t believe I have ever seen a moth in my house before, at least not in my bathroom. I hate to kill bugs so I leave it alone.
After my shower I go downstairs to make my espresso and throw together something to eat at work later this morning. I think about the homeless guy, but even more so, the moth.
Jackie DeShannon’s “What the World Needs Now is Love” comes on the radio. This is the first time I have heard this old classic on this station. It is probably one of just a handful of songs I remember from early childhood.
And it is at this wee hour it literally dawns on me that it was exactly two years ago today, around this very hour that my mother died.
A sense of sweet melancholy washes over me. I smile and listen to the song as I pour my espresso. I think about my mom and how she was in 1965, her short reddish-brown hair and the pedal-pusher pants she always wore.
She and my father weren’t very close; not much love in that marriage. She worked very hard at her job at Crown Zellerbach paper mill, and hated it, but having grown up in poverty, anything was better than having to go without. Although she loved my brother Tommy and me, I know that at times we were were just nuisances (she admitted this to me many years later), making her life more hectic and draining. Mom smoked a lot of cigarettes, and always seemed very nervous.
I become curious about the moth. Back upstairs I Google “Moth Symbolism,” and up comes:
I read further:
As if being a night-dweller weren’t enough, the moths are babes of the moon. They follow the mother moon as a source of light, and this connects them with some powerful moon associations such as:
Knowledge of the Otherworld
As I apply makeup before heading out, I notice the moth has now moved to a corner of the ceiling in the bathroom. I ponder what it supposedly represents. Is it watching over me? Will it safely see me to my car in a few minutes? Doubtful about the latter, I still feel safe.
A spiritual friend once told me, “Mother looms large.” I’m thinking that means there will always be signs, perhaps even more evident at significant times, anniversaries, etc.
“Ah, you’re just reaching, Kelly,” the skeptics (including the one deep within me) say.
Of course it could all just be coincidental; homeless man (representing poverty); moth (representation listed above); popular song from 1965 coming on the radio — all happening not only on the anniversary of my mother’s death, but around the exact time of her transition.
But the spiritual side of me sees beyond coincidence; the spiritual side of me believes in signs, especially when very little rumination is necessary in deciphering.
“Appreciate all that you have, sweet girl, because you are fortunate,” I imagine her saying. “Never take for granted that you have a job that you are not only perfect for, but that you love going to.”
Most of all, I hear her go-to advice any time we stepped out: “Be careful.”
My natal chart reading a few years ago listed these three things as some of my strong traits.
I’m on it, Mom. Love you! Miss you! Feel free to keep the signs coming, and I will promise to not buy any mothballs.