Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bumma's Bounty: Dancing with the Stars (Originally posted June 30, 2011)

All month, I've been experiencing the generosity of my mother's spirit by sharing memories of her and some of her bits and bobs she left behind with others.  I've made donations in her memory to some of the causes she loved, and to some that remind me of her, that she didn't know about in her lifetime.  I've shared her story with a number of new friends, including someone beginning the final journey with her own mother.  Hearing of how bumma's friends and family showered her with love in her final day, (what I've labeled in in my mind as <a href="http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/jun/19/memories_life_still_lived86418/"> "The bumma Love project"</a>), she's decided to try a version for her mother, and for herself, to help ease the sadness she is experiencing. This has given me happiness, as have the thank-you's that have come in from people Bumma's Bounty 2011 has touched.


Today, the last parcel I'm sending out of bumma's, for this year, was mailed.  It would have gone out sooner, but one thing I was looking for went missing.  I searched all over for it, but the gremlins seem to have stored it away for now.  Perhaps the recipient, as perfect as I thought, was not the real intended.  Perhaps it was for another reason -- that bumma wanted me to find something else instead. As I searched for this item, I found a necklace that Erico and Heather gave bumma for, I think, her 75th birthday.  It is a piece of pale turquoise, cradled in gold.  I'd forgotten all about it, and was blown away by the memories it evoked, seeing my mother wear it.  I slipped the chain over my head, and it nestled against my heart as I continued my search (unsuccessfully, I might add.)

Soon, it was time for me to head to my dance class.  I have to say that I've never considered myself a dancer.  I took some sort of dance with a formidable woman named Batya Heller  when I was 4 and 5.  She scared the living daylights out of me, and carried a stick she thumped on the floor to count out rhythms.  My main memory of her is that she proudly told us she even slept with her toes pointed.  I dreamed of pink tutus and toe shoes, and secretly covered the classy carrying case one of my classmates had for her ballet slippers.  What I got was Batya Heller and her stick.  As a little girl, I remember watching my mother practice hula in her room.  She swayed gracefully to the music, her hips and hands telling stories.  (I've written about that <a href="http://bookczuk.blogspot.com/2013/04/aloha-oe-originally-posted-july-04-2005.html">here</a>, previously.)  One of bumma's last requests to me was that I try something new, and be good to myself.  Last year, I decided that I would honor that promise by starting yoga, which bumma loved.  At the studio, I was introduced to <a href="http://nianow.com/">Nia</a>, which was a type of dance that I could gallump through and feel good.  Over the past year, I've seen how my body has responded to the freedom of movement it experienced through dance, so much so, that I find myself heading off to the studio 3 or 4 days a week to dance, and have even added belly dancing into the yoga/nia mix (wouldn't Bumma have <i>loved</i> that?!)

As the music started, today's dance began with some gentle arm movements and hip-swaying, reminiscent of hula.  Suddenly, the air around me was filled with my mother's scent.  It startled me so, that I almost began to weep.  I looked around, expecting to see her face.  But then I realized that the gold chain and pendant I wore must have carried a little remnant of her perfume.  As I danced, and my body heated up and moved, it was released.  I danced in the arms of my mother.  Bumma found a way, two years later, to send out her essence and embrace me. I danced with a star.

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