It’s been so long it’s like it didn’t exist. I have been motherless for 19 years this December. I am no one’s little girl. I have no one harshly judging me and pushing all the buttons they installed. No one recalls embarrassing things at family gatherings. I miss knowing someone has the secret knowledge of my potty training, first words, school concerts, my failures and accomplishments. I wonder without any hint at what she might say now. Nice people say she would think nice things. I think she would say nice things about me to others but save the judgy harsh bits for weekend phone conversations. Without any parents am I free to be what I want and evolve organically of my own determination liberated from the innate need to please and be pleasing or am I fooling myself that their absence changes anything? Parenthood is powerful and as my teenagers grow I am more concerned I wield my power carelessly finally realizing I will never be an expert . Parenting is a profession of amateurs.
Uranium has a half-life of 30 years, “Not only does it decay by giving off energy and matter, but it also decays at a rate that is characteristic to itself. The rate at which a radioactive isotope decays is measured in half–life. The term half–life is defined as the time it takes for one-half of the atoms of a radioactive material to disintegrate. ” . The radioactive isotope is invisible after its initial burst and most often initial event is seen as a huge fireball whose cloud disperses its insidious poison deliberately as only it can as that is its nature. Contained uranium can be manipulated to produce energy that gives us light and warmth but if not handled properly minding its temperature and dissemination the energy can no longer be contained.
Radiation permeates all things stemming out from its ground zero for hundreds of miles. Winds swirling around our planet pick up these powerful invisible molecules and carry them until they lift off into our outer atmosphere leaving the dirt, buildings, trees, people, animals, insects, rocks, books, glass, food, plastic, cars, lawnmowers, spoons, forks, skirts, shirts, shoes, toys, bikes, birth certificates, paintings, water hoses, railings, rugs, cups, plates and every single existing THING saturated with deadly invisible poison. This poison causes illness that manifest immediately and some that fester within our DNA waiting to fell you with exotic and common fates that kill you quickly and slowly.
Everything changes instantly while the life you had must be abandoned, realistically before you really needed to in order to avoid the blackest of destinies after uranium lets itself loose. Everything you felt comfort in is now poisoned. The walls around you that kept you safe are now an empty echoing empty well where you would slowly starve to death in agony and pain.
28 years after my mother’s death my body has continued to grow, my family expanded and my inner world richer. Is it because of your absence or because of it? When the bar you have set when you are given birth to dies before you have really done much of anything with your life except to continue to be alive does it eliminate the finish line?
Maybe I just need to wait 2 more years for the half-life of her death to reveal itself. Her memory becomes less poisonous and dangerous as it becomes fainter and her love becomes more bittersweet in its fading. My mother was my personal uranium fueled power plant and with the melting implosion her death left in its wake I am bobbing up down in this river, scared, lonely, confused but marveling at the lush life that has sprung up despite my past destruction.
Its been so long blahblahblah since I have faithfully written in you. Its not like I have forgotten you or been too busy or don’t care.
Its not even like I am out of words to say. When you haven’t written in so long sometimes its hard to get back because the pressure to be witty, clever and relevant is oppressive.
Because, really folks, its just the internet, right?
Every time I feel like putting my hands on my hips and shouting for your kids to get off my lawn, shut down my FB account, stop looking all together something crazy happens. Sometimes its just a cat that looks like a minotaur cat/dead plucked chicken
But then sometimes its the story that my husband has been a part of for 25 years #donreadme
A couple of days ago a nice girl named Madaline Zedblick put out into the interwebs that she was passed a journal made by my husband Donald Edwards inn 1990. Donald put blank journals in airports with his name and address on the back cover with the command README written on the front.
Madaline was on a bus in India and a girl who spoke some english passed the journal to her and she has been on a quest to find Donald. From his former address in Allston MA she tracked down my father in law, also Donald Edwards and sent him an email. Luckily for us his Dad passed it on to Donald and contact was made.
It is amazing to me that a journal, found in an airport in Massachusetts could find its way all the way to India 25 years later, remain in one piece and passed to someone who found it to be a treasure worth sharing.
People are amazing and I can’t wait to read it. Thank you to everyone who shared #donreadme.
The universe and everyone in it is amazing.
Not everyone has the opportunity to work where your mother died and be at work on the anniversary of that day. It wasn’t as weird as I thought it would be. In fact, it was pretty ordinary.
But isn’t that just like death, to be ordinary? Loss, is so common. It happens every minute on this rock hurtling through space circulating around a ball of fire. Keeping that in mind, you would think it would be dramatic, right?
The living keep on living, held down by gravity driving to work, pooping, arguing, buying dinner, kissing children, laughing, crying blahblahblah. The dead, well, we don’t know where they are or even if they are.
Pieces of people get inside you and stay forever. Your parents especially are actually parts of you. You inherit all your mitochondria from your mother so you are always more your Ma then your Pa. Those pieces that remain feel like they are still there.
People seek confirmation of the presence of those they have loved and lost in mediums, meditation and prayer. Pawing over objects that hold their scent, looking at pictures as proof of their existence.
I think we are just reassuring ourselves that we knew them. Confirming they were real to begin with to validate our longing and grief.
Whatever is meaningful to us, those that remain on this rock certainly can’t mean anything to someone who is dead. I am sure they have better things to do.
As do we, so, so long , SO LONG. Its nice to still know you.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief just works itself out, points its toes, fills up all the spaces and sets up camp. Grief moves on when its good and fucking ready and leaves you like the tide going to its lowest ebb of the day.
There weren’t many things I thought about when I was in my early teens except what sounded good, can I do it, do I have enough money to do it and then when my steady boyfriend arrived in my life concurrent thoughts of his well being were included in those questions in regards to my next pursuit. I worked to live and planned travel from the Boston Globe travel section, making notes and making expensive long distance phone calls because the internet had yet to be invented for mere mortals.
I talked to my Mother all the time. I called her constantly. She rarely called me. Well, at least that’s the way I think of it now and since she is dead and can’t correct me I declare that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. A year before my mother’s death Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in France. I was so struck by her death, the unmeasurable loss her two sons will endure without their protector and facilitator in all things now that she was gone and what a loss it was for mankind as she was an example of someone famous who didn’t really want it but tried very hard to only do good things with it. I remember talking to my mother about it and she was totally unimpressed with my distress. I attempted to convince her how sad it was but she just didn’t get it. I told her that if she died I didn’t know what I would do. Mothers, they are important.
I don’t believe she was impressed by that either.
Who are mothers if not people we are constantly standing on our heads, juggling fire while speaking Mandarin? They are our audience subjected to the constant “MOM WATCH THIS”. Watch me as I wear lipstick for the first time. Watch me as someone breaks my heart. Watch me have a hangover. Watch me fail math. Watch me graduate from school. Watch me make my own money. Watch me buy my own christmas tree. Watch me putter around my house. Watch me get married. Watch me travel. Watch me change my hair color. Watch me change my job. And love me, no matter what.
A year after Princess DIana died, Jeanne absconded with my childhood and it was burned up with her body and mind and buried in the ground.
The phone ringing in the kitchen is muffled with all the covers over my head. Molly is up and will get it. I can lay here a bit longer. In the half sleep half wake I am feeling pretty neutral and then I remember and like when a wave catches you off guard at the beach and pounds you instantly into the sand beneath it I huff out in a whisper, “Fucker.” I toss the covers off and get up and I don’t look in the mirror. The phone stopped ringing but then starts again.
It’s my mother. I know it. I don’t know how she knows but she must. Maybe the fucker called her as one more giant thing to shit all over in the guise of worry for Molly. I clench my fists without realizing it. Fucker. Unclench them and pull on some pants and a shirt. The phone keeps ringing. Shit. Where is Molly?
Opening the door and listening in the hallway to the phone, the stupid dog outside barking I can’t hear Molly anywhere. I open her bedroom door and she is lumpy under her covers probably ignoring the phone, me and everything.
“Mol. Mol-dolly. Get up, okay?” I say and close her door, walk down the stairs hand trailing along the bannister to steady myself, reach the bottom step into the kitchen and put my hand on the phone. Its vibrating. Taking a deep breath, I pick it up, “Hello.”
“Will you accept a collect call from..” and I hang up. Fucker. I take the phone off the hook.