another motherless child
The unseasonable warmth the December my mother died did nothing to shed light on the dark terrible smoldering tar pit I felt like I was boiling in watching my mother die. From the moment she started to decline I could feel she had already left the building, her body, her mind and our relationship. Holding on to what she had always said was the best thing she ever did, I am certain, was too painful to live through along with the pain of dying and severing of every damn thing you have no control over.
I don’t know what that is like and will have to wait until it is my turn but I can imagine that I too will not have enough tools in my mind’s box to go out gracefully, comforting others and singing myself home to wherever it is we belong when we are no longer breathing. I would like to believe that I would be strong, cheerfully resilient and accepting of my fate for the sake of the ones that love me but what I pray for to whomever might be listening is that it is quick and I won’t have to deal with anyone but whatever lies beyond my last breath.
I don’t want to think of my children lost in angry, bitter, sad, confused tears mourning their loss because that would be too much to bear. At that time mothering anymore might be out of the question completely and the journey to take will be singular at the parting of the ways.
The death road is a slow muddy march and no matter how the sun shines, the trees blossom, the wind sweeps, the stars reveal themselves, the moon shines down and the oceans roar the bitter loss is a vacuum impervious to anything good. The clocks stop, your breath comes up short, you feel silly picking out things to wear to the rituals of death, you worry about having enough tissues and your mascara, you hug people and resent the comfort you have to dole out with each embrace and you feel just alone.
The morbid plans you make to put your treasured loved one in the ground, select songs to sing them away, the clothes they will wear for eternity, the jewelery they always wore pried off their cold fingers by strangers who will care for your family with skill and professionalism, the large checks you write, the food you have to provide, the endless thank you’s and condolences is a never-ending fountain of human need that geysers up like blood out of your throat.
When you close your eyes you search for some kind of connection, the kind you took for granted before because the ping of reminders was always a phone call, a drive away. Now, when you wake up at 2am in the morning and think of things that make you feel small and young and incapable, the kind of feelings that mothers make better even when they can do nothing about it, you will feel all alone.
Eventually the shock of grief wears off and you get used to feeling sad and lonely and missing something that would have come to be but you don’t know what that something is because it ended before it finished. It’s like you were a lovely cake taken out of the oven a little too early and placed in the hot sun exposed on the porch and with a little time, your center will become less gooey and will be edible.
There is nothing like a mother.