24 July 2011

Finest thing.

Our mother taught us the hard lessons of life. When it would have been easier to say yes then to press on through her child's tears, she choose the path thicketed and thorned, for it would lead to a beautiful island where her children could light a fire and make their way in the world, through plenty and drought.

The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer's ending, a sad, monotonous song. "Summer is over and gone," they sang. "Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, summer is dying."

The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days of the whole year-the days when summer is changing into fall-the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.
-Charlotte's Web

The crickets sang of no rumors. Like my mother, the crickets sang of truth. There is a glass wall, thick, clear, soundproof, between myself and my sadness. The bed my mother bought me has been taken away, I lie here in the heat in the bed I bought with my husband. Where does my sadness lie? When the yellow light comes through the trees, will it be waiting for me? I read that the deeper their love for the departed, the harder it is for mourners to leave the cave of denial, and I felt not so terribly wrong for eating, for sleeping, for picking which black dress to wear. Summer will go, it will leave us (I cannot say die, batteries do not die, only people, and for me, only one person) yet it will, once again, return. Beyond the glass wall, I know, unlike summer, my mother will never rise again but here, in the stillness of July, 37 days later, 899 hours later the daughter that I am now, the daughter of a dead mother, waits for her great love, her first love to rise again.

11 July 2011

The unexpected.

It is almost the full moon. The hospice lady told me that my mother might die on the full moon, that people usually do, and I believed it, but my mother, not usual, did not. On Friday morning, June 17th, my uncle, the third of three brothers, six years older than my mother, who loved her with a love often reserved for one's child (he did promise their mother, on her deathbed, that he would care for my mother, and he did, Uncle B, you did) kissed her head, and told her that he would see her later. I pulled him aside, and whispered, if he could, please tell her that it was okay if she did not see him later. He did, as he cried, and she didn't wait, but she would have, had he not asked, and he was brave for saying what he did not mean.

I cried on Saturday night, in a church, as I listened to my husband play. It was the first time, almost, that I had cried since her funeral. I always thought that when she died I would instantly get sick. Nothing that I thought would happen has happened. I am rigid, I wait, still. Turns out, almost a month is not enough.

And if you wonder if you ought to, if it is right, say something. The bereaved (provenance: bereafian "to deprive of, take away, seize, rob") are more frightened than you. There is fear in mourning, there is anxiety. Moments when you forget that you are a mourner, are terrible for the remembering. If I could wear it on my sleeve that I am different, no longer the same, I would. Part of me lies with her. It is all I care about, my mother, and it is all I want to talk about. I want to tell you about her, and I will.

05 July 2011

Your mailbox is full.

I wore the white dress today that I wore the night before I was a bride, on a night while my mother was still alive. Today, the dress was dusted with the pollen from white lilies, a mark, I'm told, that is hard to remove. I can smell the sharp sting of the tiger lilies my mother's Tante Muriel Iris brought to the house when I was small. I can smell the perfume I sprayed on my mother's pillow as she lay dying (Near, it is called). As we are made, we are marked. The kriah ribbon lies in a silver shell next to my bed. It is torn, I am torn, and I wept to remove it on the last day of shiva. I do not yet miss what I will not have. I miss what I had two weeks ago. I miss caring for her, I miss the bittersweet house full of love and sadness, I miss her brothers, I miss my brothers. I miss the moment I heard her take her last breath, for though she was leaving, and left she has, it was her breath.

I basked in you;
I love you, helplessly, with a boundless, tongue-tied
And death doesn't prevent me from loving you.
in my opinion you aren't dead.
(I know dead people, and you are not dead.)
-Franz Wright via The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke