31 May 2012

Love is infinitely more durable than hate.

My mother died 346 days ago. What has loss done to you, what do you see when you fall asleep at night? What does the world look like from behind your eyelids?

We laughed at my wedding, we smiled, we loved. This photo was taken at the moment, the only moment, we cried. I held her diminishing body, that had tricked most (not me) with its beauty that day, in my arms, and I knew she would die soon. And so she did, 74 days later.

These days have been hot, the weather grows closer to what it was when she lay dying in our house, one year ago. The earth was warm, bees were fat. A butterfly hovered at her grave, and I am told it was there again at the unveiling, and that the clouds parted and the sun shone strong when I spoke to her, staring at the foot stone for the first time. I wrote a letter to my mother to read at the unveiling - I didn't account for what it would feel like to speak to her out loud, for the first time in 323 days: Dear Mom...you are our super moon, the most dazzling moon that ever was. You hold us in your incandescent orbit, always. We love you. I love you. I choked on my words, I cried, I did not speak loudly, but I knew as I was speaking that being able to talk to my mother in front of those who loved her most was a gift, and though I did not see the butterfly or the clouds parting, I knew she was with me, listening to every word I wish I had said while she was alive, and even more so, when she was well.

A few months ago, L. gave me The Courage to Grieve. I tucked it in the basket next to my bed, and I thought, "This is not for me. I have courage. I am grieving." I found the book this weekend and I knew I was wrong, or I was right then, but make not this mistake: grieving is not linear. It leads you by the hand down an unknown path, a path that lies alongside the life you've always known. The world does not look the same from behind my eyelids.

My brother Michael went to an introductory course in Transcendental Meditation tonight. He receives his mantra on Saturday, and by Tuesday he will be a practitioner. I am so proud and inspired by Michael's desire to be able to sit quietly with himself. Adam was the forerunner in our family; he took up meditation years ago. The bottle was uncorked on Sunday - out of love for me and my brothers and a fierce, uncompromising devotion to honesty, things were said that we do not say. And so, I sit here quietly with myself, dodging bullets of pain, plagued by silence, at times preserving it with the devotion of an acolyte. Without my mother, I do not know where to turn.

To mourn is to suffer the abject loneliness of those whose voice you will never hear again. There are moments that are frantic - searches through emails, closets, photos, anywhere that will yield something new in a silence that is so profound. Please know, I need not find fancy words, when words we know serve so well: proud, inspired, silence, profound. Words and cliches mean something different now, they buzz, alive with electricity, and in their animated state, I realize that life is the secret underbelly, a rebirth, a truthful welcome into the world served on a silver platter of terrible, terrible pain. My task is to seek out courage, my courage, the way into myself and all that I fear. My task is to pull the words harder, tug on the silken strings more firmly. My task is to allow love and beauty to sit alongside pain and silence and loneliness, to let the path that I knew for 32 years, and the path that I have known for nearly one year, become one path, lit by the moonlight of loss, for loss could not hurt so very terribly if the love one has lost was not the greatest you could dream yourself to sleep on.

Love is infinitely more durable than hate.


Rony @ catbird said...

heart-wrenchingly beautiful

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Beauty! you are the best

Ilie said...

This is so brave and wise it stopped me in my tracks. You've rendered this so beautifully. "To let the path I knew..." Stunning.

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