01:13:10 pm on
Thursday 05 Aug 2021

Her Tribute
AJ Robinson

It was one month ago, exactly, that my mother (above) left us. She went to her final reward, as the aphorism goes. It put me in mind of a story from my childhood.

As a little boy, I was afraid of the dark. It’s nothing unusual. Many kids have that fear.

I swear, some nights, my parents would come home from visiting friends or going to some social event and find every light in the house ablaze. They started hiring local high school girls to sit with me. Paying them was cheaper than dealing with a higher electric bill.

Then, over time, my fear faded, which is also perfectly normal. Most kids outgrow it. It was replaced by another fear, fear of the dark, what I now know understand as oblivion, the darkness that comes when we, as Shakespeare said, “shuffle off this mortal coil.”

Again, that’s the norm. People have been debating, discussing and fearing what comes after this existence since people first sat around campfires and gazed into the heavens. Early campfire stories surely included spirits, ghosts and such.

Why are we here? What’s it all about, and where do we go from here? Is this truly all there is or is there more?

If there is more, what is it? Golden harps, wings and clouds? Reincarnation? Another plane of existence? Heaven and a North Korea-like existence? For years, I’ve asked myself these questions and found no satisfactory answers.

I’m a lifelong Trekkie. These questions thus always remind me an episode of the old classic television show, Star Trek. In “Return to Tomorrow” the Enterprise encounters beings of pure energy: Sargon, Thalassa, his wife, and Henoch.

The group want to come aboard, build android bodies and then return to the Federation. By the end, of the episode, they realise they can’t. They’re too powerful and would end up destroying everybody.

Henoch is destroyed; Sargon and Thalassa prepare to cast themselves into the universe, into oblivion. They ask a final request of Captain Kirk and Dr Mulhall, a lady scientist, to let them possess their bodies one last time so they can say goodbye to each other in a physical form.

Kirk and Mulhall agree. Thalassa says she does not fear oblivion. They’ll be together.

Then there’s a song of which my family and I are rather fond. It’s called, “I’ll Follow You into the Dark.” In it, a man sings to his love, I assume his wife; although, these days, who knows, right?

He sings that it doesn’t matter when she’s gone. Heaven and Hell illuminate the no next to their vacancy signs. When it comes his time, he’ll follow her into the dark.

That is why I no longer fear the dark. Because, as Thalassa said, so long as we’re together, Mother of Mine, there’s nothing for me to fear. Someday, I hope many years from now, when I approach that final curtain call, it will be without fear, without dread.

It won’t matter to me if Heaven and Hell are booked solid; if they’re SRO. Again, forgive me. I’m also a lifelong theatre person.

No, as the song says, I’ll follow you into the dark. I will never fear to tread anyplace my mother goes. Because, you see, anyplace she dwells, there is no darkness. No, the light of her love could illuminate a world.

Every night before bed, mom used to say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” It was her way of saying, “Thank you, Lord, for my life, thank you, Lord, for my family and thank you, Lord, for another day on this earth.”

Now, it is my turn to say it, and for it to mean. “Thank you, Lord, for my life. Thank you, Lord, for my family. Thank you, Lord, for a mother such as her.”

Words are my stock and trade and there’s a song that I think encompasses my feelings for her.

If I had words to make a day for you, I’d sing you a morning golden and new. I would make this day last for all time and give you a night deep in moonshine.

Yes, had I the power, I would create a perfect day for us to share for eternity. A typical summer’s day on Martha’s Vineyard; warm enough to go to the beach, but not so hot to be icky. We’d go to State Beach so I could jump off Second Bridge, visit Dairy Queen for a hot fudge sundae and then share a pizza at Giordano’s before attending a Wednesday’s Night sing at the Tabernacle.

That is not an ability I possess. So, until we are reunited, mommy, know that I love you with all my heart and soul. Say hi to dad, Steve and Greg for me. I promise to wash my feet before bed tonight.

Those of you who are long time readers of my stories will understand that final reference. It is a long overdue promise given by a little boy to his loving mother, and it is one I intend to keep from now on.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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