Today would have been my Mom’s 76th birthday. She died in 2011 after a long hard fight against cancer. I celebrated her birthday by doing something I’ve never done (right, that’s what this list is all about!), I went to a little driving range and hit golf balls with her Big Bertha golf club. I took 7 of her bright golf balls along with me. My friend Carol (my Mom’s friend too) decided to share this experience with me. Carol used to golf, she hasn’t golfed since my Mom died. Carol took this cancer journey with my Mom and I when her daughter Sheryl was diagnosed with cancer just a short while after my Mom and I were diagnosed. Carol is a good friend that understands the journey. Her daughter Sheryl is a survivor. But Carol knows the heartache of loss. Her wonderful husband Bob died on May 1st last year. I tell you all of this because it is part of our story.
Hitting golf balls on my Mom’s birthday was one of the first things I put on my list of new things to do for this year. I’ve never been very good at sports. My Mom took up golf probably, maybe around the age that I am now. She loved it! It was by far her favorite past time. She belonged to a league that called themselves “Ladies of the Evening”. Talking or thinking about golf always brought a smile to her face. I remember sometimes watching her fret over how she would get her membership fee together for the year. She always managed to do it somehow. A week before she died, while she was too weak to golf, someone drove her in a golf cart around the golf course cheering her friends along. That’s how much she loved golf.
I posted on Facebook my plan and my friend Carol wanted to know when and where! By the time the 13 year old and I arrived Carol was already there and left instructions with the clerk to tell us to come on out, she bought the bucket of balls for us to hit. Carol gave me one of her husband Bob’s golf gloves to wear and I gave Carol three of my Mom’s golf balls to hit. My intention all along had been to take her golf balls out there, smack the hell out of them and leave them there, sort like spreading her ashes only it was her golf balls. I know she would have liked that. As I’m sure Bob would have liked me wearing his glove.
We hit the balls from the bucket first. I hadn’t realized Carol hadn’t golfed all these years. We chatted only a little, I know for me the tears were just under the surface. The 13 year old surprised us both at how far he sent his golf balls sailing, it was his first time too. Once I felt I could get the ball hit farther than 2 feet in front of me I took out the first of my Mom’s and sent it rolling. It didn’t go far, but it went far enough. I watched it and knew my Mom could have done better and if by chance she was watching over me, well, she was I know, cheering me on, telling me what to do better. Carol hit two of the ones I gave her and gave me the last one back and I sent that pretty pink ball sailing. The 13 year old hit the one I gave him and with that, all 7 of Mom’s golf balls lay somewhere out on that field. It felt good to leave them there. I could see some of them sort of peeking back at us and I smiled. It only took us about a half hour to empty the bucket. I took off Bob’s glove and said out loud, “thanks Bob!” for the use of his glove and gave it back to Carol. I’m pretty sure if Bob and my Mom had the chance to look down on the three of us, me, Carol and the 13 year old, they were both smiling and knowing how close we keep them in our hearts, as we try to put one foot in front of the other and go on. I miss you Mom and Bob. Carol, you are a dear friend, whom I cherish dearly for being a part of my life. Thank you for loving me, I know it probably isn’t always easy. Thanks being there today, being there for me, being there for you, being there for all of us, I know that wasn’t easy for any of us. Go do something new!