Before my mother passed away she told my dad there was a certain bottle of wine in the cellar, she had bought it a long time ago and was aging for a special moment, and she wanted him to give it to me after she was gone. Her instructions were, I was to drink it when I was really happy about something.
My mother has been gone for almost 2 years and that bottle remains untouched.
Now this isn’t to say I haven’t been happy in the last 2 years. Sure, I’ve been happy, maybe even really happy. But to drink that bottle, in my mind, meant I was saying, “ok mom, I’m good, I’ve gotten through the ache of missing you, and I can drink this with absolutely no sadness in my heart”.
So it stayed in my wine storage, through 2 moves, some really great girl trips, a job raise, and several anniversaries and holidays, untouched… until.
I received a group text from my cousin Jen, her father was my mom’s brother. Uncle Joe and my mom were tight, best buds, confidantes. And because sometimes the world just sucks, he died 3 years before my mom, cancer.
Jen: I’m doing a genetic cancer test and I need help verifying all the cancers we’ve had in our family
Me: All of them, we’ve had all of them
Rose: Sadly this seems accurate
Helen: Jen good for you, what brought this on??
Jen: I’m turning 50 in November and I need to know if I’m going to make 60
Me: WTF 50!?!?
Rose: What are you doing for it?!?
Jen: Nothing really, this test?
Helen: ooohh hell no, ladies I’m thinking cousins weekend!
So as is the way, a genetic cancer test group text became a cousins weekend celebration. Everyone flew into Seattle, we ferried out to a cottage on an island, and ate, told stories, remembered, cried, laughed, danced, and… drank.
I had brought the bottle, thinking if there was ever a moment, this would have to be it, right?
I sat in the kitchen with the bottle on the counter, and the opener in my hand, and just waited.
Jen: you going to open that
Me: I want to…
Jen: you know what today is
Me: your birthday
Jen: yep, and it’s the 5 year anniversary of my dad’s death
Me: oh god Jen, on your birthday
Jen: I know, I wasn’t there, but you know who was… your mom, she was there for him, and me afterwards, so I’m here for you
Me: I think she’d like us to drink to that
Jen: I think she would
…sometimes the moment finds you…