My mother’s been gone for seven weeks now. It feels longer. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing or just part of the continuing process of moving forward. I still know how much time has transpired since she died, so there’s that. It’s kind of like a break up, I guess. You know how it is with break ups: in the beginning, you’re still incredibly raw and you know the time, date, location where it happened….maybe even what you were wearing and the last thing you ate before getting your heart Sloppy Joe’d.
Sometime, in the future, I won’t be able to so readily recall the past, generally speaking. If the topic of parents comes up, someone might ask about my mother and I’ll know she’s dead (that, I’ll never forget) but it’ll take a second to recall specific facts.
I haven’t had any emotional breaks regarding my mother in about three weeks. I’ve accepted she’s gone, accepted all the nonsense in her will….or that which was left out of it. The family continues to deal with the cruel, nastiness that was brought to the forefront. And I’m okay. Mother’s Day will come and go and I’ll be fine.
I actually have one more thing to do before I can consider myself over the hump, that is mourning. It’ll be a tear tester, or so I’m told. First of all, my mother was the last of her siblings to die. They’re all gone now, an entire generation of a small town family that was big and brash and loved and resented. Someday, I’ll explain all that, but in mid June, back in the small South Texas town that raised me….and yes, sometimes towns do just that…. my 21 first cousins and I will be coming together to honor our eight mothers and fathers. Many of my uncles were veterans of WWII, so we’re honoring their service as well. Part one is at the family plot, which I’ve not been to in decades. It’s filled up quite a bit since I was last there. Anyway, mid-mornings in mid June in South Texas are a particular kind of hell Dante has yet to describe. They’re very hot and muggy, so I don’t expect it to be lengthy, but I’ll go to mother’s grave and place some flowers there and I’ll see her headstone for the first time. Then we’ll go to a cousins lunch, following that, we’ll all host an open house with video & photo displays for any residents who might remember the family. The youngest member died last spring. He was in his mid 80’s. Expecting guests might be iffy, but we’re doing it anyway. May “we need” to this as a collective.
I didn’t go to her burial. My two sisters did. I didn’t want to witness her ashes lowered into ground. Plus, I have MS and had been experiencing “flares” since the day she died. Stress can incite them, plus, it was the day after my birthday which was already effected by her death a month earlier. I woke up the morning we’d scheduled to bury her, with some pain and some mobility issues. Plus, my sisters felt feel as though they a needed a bigger role to play in her death. I’d handled everything up to that point. I was glad to hand it over to them, to be honest.
They said the hole had already been dug and the funeral home director (who’s our cousin on our father’s side) handled her ashes and tossed a couple of scoops of dirt on top of them . My sisters didn’t stick around. They told her goodbye, then next to the small hole, placed a bouquet flowers that someone sent me the day before for my birthday. And one sister drove home to her ranch two hours further south and my other sister drove back to my house where she spent the night before driving back to her ranch in North Texas.
Me? I have some ranch dressing in the fridge.
I’m curious how I’ll respond when I see her headstone. Some tell me the first time you see it can be emotional.
Maybe, but I feel kind of ScotchGuarded.
In the past seven weeks, I’ve had my first Easter without her…my first birthday since her death.. The first Mother’s Day will pass and what would be her 91st birthday coming up on June 30th. Then, before I know it, it’ll be Thanksgiving, then Christmas and then the first anniversary of her death.
I’m okay. Maybe even better than okay. I’m resolute. She took her last breath and the only thing that stopped, was her existence on the Earth. The world kept on spinning. People kept on living their lives. Her sphere of influence at 90 was small. Nothing changes until it has to change. And my loss is so common. Every every second of every day, a daughter loses a mother, a mother loses a child and a child is spending many waking hours hoping to learn everything he can about the father he’s never met. And will never meet and that’s probably a good thing. Everyday, kids runaway. A dad kicks his son out of the house. Alcohol corrupts romance. Drugs destroy everything in their path. Someone loses their mind, while someone else loses all hope. A parent leaves and a household goes under. A bank forecloses, a livelihood is terminated.
Life’s not always fun or fair, or exact in any way. It rarely offers reasons to celebrate. And when joy finally comes, it doesn’t last. Like endings, it comes too fast, then it passes too slowly. That’s a damn shame, but a truthful one.
Not following??? Just get a copy of Lion King, and play Simba’s birth backwards. That should do it.