24 June 2011

The phenomenal return home.

My mother died 7 days ago. It has been one week since I kissed the hollow in the nape of her neck, since I ran my lips against the downy hair on the back of her head. I have lived 165 hours without my mother, and I have not, for one minute, understood that she will not appear in our driveway in her big white car, that I will never again hear her voice talking on the phone in the laundry room.

The day after she died, my brother and I stood on the back of our family boat, as it rolled past green backyards with sprinklers and swimming pools. We passed swans along the way, and families of ducks. Herons stood on the wet, grassy patches that sprout from the bay. I saw my mother, sitting in her chair, laughing with glee as the salt water sprayed our faces. I saw my mother standing in the marshes, on the lawns, at the edge of the park she took us to as children, smiling, squinting and shading her eyes with one hand, waving at us with the other, happy that we were together.

I am going back there tonight. I will be with my brothers, I will drive her big white car and I will have lunch at our favorite place. My stepfather will hug me. I will fold her clothing, and wear her pajamas. I will look at the ants tumbling through the mountains of grass and not understand how they are allowed to be here, but she is not.

My mother and I shared 280,320 hours of life. It will take more than 165 hours to understand that she is gone, forever. She lived from April 9, 1954 until June 17, 2011 - 57 years, 2 months, 1 week, and 1 day and not a minute longer - but I am still waiting for her to come home. I will rub my eyes and hug her, she will tell me that she loves me and she is proud of me, and we will hold hands and know, together, that these 165 hours were all a bad dream.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have the chills.....

s said...

i want to send you and your brothers a jar of homemade pasta sauce.

hold on to strength.

Kelly said...

It has been 4 years since I lost my father, and the brutal fact that he is utterly gone shocks me still. In fact, I sometimes feel that only recently has it really sunk in.

I wish I could say something else, something wiser and more helpful. I'm still fumbling through it all, myself.

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Leigh, right now it seems hard, to say it will ease is a lie and you will have to dig deep to sustain yourself. I will tell you- though in terms of the loss-time will not distance you from the last moments or joy and all the joys you shared-that is the part of a death that gives us the continued presence of our mother-or for me my father. He is gone-but he is here- a word, a comment, a food, a story, a picture- anything that comes to you from this point on will be colored with your mother's presence.For me it is the smell of new mown grass or digging in the dirt to plant something.It is true- and it will come to you- do not despair-She is with you, because it is obvious She made You the woman you are.Gaye

Ashley said...

I read all you have written and it has touched me dearly, I may not know and understand your pain but my heart does go out to you. You are an amazing person with a beautiful heart, you bring tears to my eyes with your sadness... Nola sends slobbery kisses to her Aunt Leigh! Xo

Sarah said...

Leigh, i'm thinking about you.

jan said...

I stumbled on your blog via An Apple A Day.

I'm so very sorry that you've lost your mother. It's heartbreaking and tragic. I lost my daddy six months ago. You are not alone.

-janet

Jennifer Layne Park said...

You are such a good writer. I have tears in my eyes right now. I'm so sorry for your loss.