24 March 2012

Sit with me a minute. Pull up your chair, turn down your music. It's been so long since we've talked. I've needed these 2 months and 13 days of silence to live with the last 9 months and 6 days I have lived without my mother  and with the 32 years we lived together.

What I have done since we last spoke: I bought some dresses, I learned to do a crooked cat eye. I went to Tulum with my husband and I took hot showers outside. I unburdened myself of a secret. We opened Nana Hannah's credenza and divided what is inside. We have not donated your clothes to charity yet, Mom.

What I have learned since we last spoke: my mother will never be dead to me. I will spend the rest of my life waiting for her to come home. We will sell our home, we will move to other apartments, my mother will not know my address, but what is an address when she knows who she made.

In 10 days, we will mark our first wedding anniversary, in 16 days, on April 9, comes my mother's birthday. She would have been 58. 6 days later, I will turn 33. My brothers turned 27 and 30 without our mother. My boys, I didn't tell you (I never want to make you sad or lay my sadness over your metronome like a fine, worn cotton kerchief that can break its steady beat), but my heart broke for you on January 13 and March 23. This year, I will mark these days - last year we celebrated, and one day, we will celebrate again.

On May 6, we will lay the stone on my mother's grave. Blanche Batnick, April 9, 1954 - June 17, 2011. Beloved mother, wife, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend. Loved always. Let that Loved always echo beyond the confines of perpetual care, let that Loved always clap off the beat, like she did from here until there is no more.


On May 13, we will we spend our first Mother's Day without our mother and on June 17, 2012 we mark the first anniversary of her death. We circle in time, summer, fall, winter, spring - we pass the days of the last year we spent with her, the frightening ones, the day where she felt well enough to shop for shoes, we pass the days I squandered. Those days haunt me so that I must hide from them, and I can only find comfort in: what is an address when she knows who she made.

I love a man who lives to make his art. The only way he can live in this world is by writing songs I know like my eyelids on a summer's day, songs into which he pours all the beauty he can find. He is possessed by creation and newness. I am not like him. I am possessed by the world, by what is here, and what is gone.  I write these words to find the girl and her little brother with their mother's green eyes, and their little brother with their father's blue eyes. One day, I will not be vague, I will not hide from my sadness (I cannot control it, my 2nd greatest wish is to cry). I might even do what I told you I would do.


These words were not easy. On July 25, L. wrote to me: Although I know you do not feel connected to your sadness, rest assure, you are at a kind of magical stage of subconscious connection. She is speaking through your heart, mind and pen (or rather, your laptop). Sadness will roll in with the tides of mundane memories, with holidays, with realizations about the lack of phone calls. Unfortunately, it will eventually come. But for now, know that the unexpected thing about loss is a strange super-powered infusion of love that you gain from the person that you lost. It is almost like a shield that they give us for our hearts. And that shield is made up of the energy created by the POWER of your connection to them. Some may call it denial or shock, but really, I think it is the protection given from our beloved, the one who knows that our fragile hearts can only take so much at a time... Lest they break in two. And that is the last thing that they would ever want to happen. In the beginning, my grief was a conduit. I did not need to fight to speak to you, which was for the best - I am no fighter. I have lived with my grief through summer, fall, winter and an early, early spring (earlier still than last year:We are home from Paris, where June's sun visited in April forcing the sleepy cherry blossoms into wide-eyed morning, before, even their siblings have risen in Japan.) I know this feeling of grief like my eyelids on a summer's day, and yet I still feel so very unsure of what will be there when I open my eyes.


Having the blues is different from singing the blues. That's getting rid of the blues. These are blues I will never get rid of, but I will sing them the best way I know.


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