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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Still Wishing To Say Things

My mom died last year just before Easter.  Now, Easter being a traveling holiday, falls on different dates (even different months!) each year, but that doesn’t change the fact that “Easter” is as much the anniversary for my mom’s death as “April” is, regardless of the fact that Easter came in March this year.

I pulled through okay.  I thought of my mom, but really it wasn’t traumatic.

However, I can’t help but pick at scabs.  So much changes in a year.  And so much stays the same. 

Last year at about this time, I was struggling with a letter I had sent to my bio-dad.  I never received any worthwhile response from him.  He basically wrote a one liner saying, “You seem angry so I’ll leave you alone.”  I should have followed Talisman’s advice and stuck with, “mkthxbye”.  I was also frantically trying to get ready for the Blue & Gold Banquet, which, guess what, I’m doing again this year.  This year, at least, I feel like I have it together a bit more.  Don’t believe me?  Check the pics of the table decorations.  But what brings me to tonight’s early morning post (does that phrase even make sense?) was, of course, the frantic post about my mom being put on a ventilator.  We all knew she was dying.  I knew when I got the 6AM call saying she was being hospitalized that she’d never check out.  But that not only sealed the deal but stripped my mom of any dignity her death may have had.

You see, when she calmed down and asked to sleep, it was because she wanted to go to sleep forever.  She had found acceptance.  She had released the innate drive and spark to fight death.  She had found, as some would say, peace.  To put her on the ventilator and extend her life was such a horrific crime that I can never, ever forgive.  I’m still to this day angry and frustrated that my mother never put on paper (even KNOWING her health was on a constant downward slide!) that she didn’t want artificial life support.  I’m furious that my dad never put anything on paper.  I’m so mad that they didn’t just let her go quietly in the night.  She would have wanted that. 

Mostly, though, I’m still sad and hurting that I didn’t get there in time to say goodbye.  I didn’t get there in time to say all the things I wished I could say.  In fact, she was dead before I ever packed a bag to leave.  I didn’t get a say.  My step-brother, not even my mom’s flesh and blood, had more say in the matter than I.  It’s crushing.

We never had services.  There was never a funeral.  Never a memorial.  Never a wake.  Never a moment when we all got together and celebrated my mom’s life.  Most of us, I think, would have a hard time finding moments to celebrate.  That, I think, makes me saddest of all this.  When my grandmother passed, we clung to each other as the sun went down around us, but we shared memories of her bright and warm days just as she’d have wanted.  When my grandfather passed, we laughed and laughed at memories of his pranks on us and ours on him and we cried at the loss not only to us but to the world as a whole, but then stiffened our upper lips - just as he’d have wanted. 

When my mom died…  we.  Stood.  Dazed.  And we stared at each other in disbelief.  She was 54.  She was so young.  We were so young.  Who would teach us to be grandparents?  She’d never even really learned or tried her hand at it, in spite of having 5 grandkids by then.  God.  Five.  I wonder if she ever even told people she had five grandkids.  I wonder if she’d ever counted them before.  I hadn’t until just now.  When my mom died, we shook our heads and we stood awkwardly in each other’s company wondering whether we could all get away with going and being somewhere else.  We tried to love each other and support each other, but mostly we were too scared or confused to reach out, too shy and too unknown to each other to be of any use.  My sister opened her home, but I was a guest in a guest room that wasn’t really meant to see use.  The only place where I found any solace was at my uncle’s, where I could cling to the “used to bes” of family dinners, hot tub parties, endless games of Pictionary, and I could very, very vaguely touch my grandfather’s presence and remember what it was like, what it was all like… before.

Even when I visited my dad at my childhood home, I could not see nor touch my mother’s spirit.  IT was as if I were the ghost, not she.  My dad barely acknowledged me being there.  He seemed eager to be rid of me so he could be alone with his real friend - the TV.  I was… lost.  Sebastian was my shadow, he himself reaching out to me awkwardly and uncomfortably.  We were two strangers knowing we should somehow be connected but unable to meet each other’s eyes, much less touch souls.  I showed him the house.  My room.  I stole a few random leftover treasures that had been stashed in my old room.  My old room had more or less been turned into a decimated closet and most of my treasures of the past picked through already, but I found a few gems to cling to and take with me.  It wasn’t until Sebastian and I sat outside on the cold rocky hillside and looked down into the valley I had spent many a year memorizing from my bedroom window that I finally found peace.

“Why are we here?” Sebastian asked uncomfortably as we sat there.  I think he meant there on the uncomfortably cold and rocky hillside, but I took the question more generally on purpose, because, well, I was wondering what the hell I was doing there… in Colorado, at my childhood home.  I wanted to be home - my home where my things and my family and my memories and my happiness all lived.  So why was I there? 

“We’re here to say goodbye to Grandma,” I said flatly.

“But she’s dead.  We didn’t get to see her,” he said in his usual brusque way.

I thought about it a minute and sighed, breathing in the chilly Colorado air as the sun lit up the valley below.  “We didn’t come to say goodbye to her body.  We came to say goodbye to her spirit.  And it’s here.”  I waved my hand around us and we sat in quiet for a little longer.

“I think I came to say goodbye to more than that,” I finally said.  I nodded toward the dilapidated house my father and mother had been living in, sad to see it in such a state of ruin, then looked down at the valley which had changed so much since I had last seen it, and even more since I had last lived here.  “I guess I came to say goodbye to my childhood and who I used to be.” 

Sebastian merely nodded and took my hand.  It was the something I hadn’t been able to say that I finally could say.  And saying it was all it took to say goodbye.  It was a lot easier saying goodbye to then with now holding my hand.

We sat a few more moments then we both agreed our butts were cold and we decided we were done.  So we left after a few last brief words with my dad.

So here, for my purging, are more “things I wish I could say” in no order and to no particular person - or maybe so but I’ll not name who.

“I miss you. A lot.”

“You were right.”

“Please don’t let go.  Not now - not ever.”

“I still believe.”

“You’re still a stupid cunt, now aren’t you?  Well, that’s good, because I have seen your future and I know karma will bite your ass someday.”

“I don’t hate you anymore.  I mostly feel sorry for you.”

“Why didn’t you write back?  Don’t you know you only confirmed my worst, my deepest, my darkest, my most worried and life-deep fears by not writing back, by once again not fighting for me?”

“I’m sad that you don’t confide in me, but I understand why.  I’m still thankful for the friendship we do have.”

“Why doesn’t your son’s dad ever come to CS meetings?”

“Please don’t hate me.”

“Did I do okay? Was it alright?  Was it better than before?  Have I fulfilled my duty?  Would you rather I not have been the one?”

“I know you’re out there trying to watch, trying to see what’s going on.  I don’t care.  You’re not part of our lives anymore and it’s not by my choice - it’s by yours.  I told you I couldn’t handle your inconsistent “here today gone tomorrow ways. Maybe your two husbands are okay with how you are, but I’m not.”

“Will you be my friend?”

“I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but can you back up just a little?  You’re scaring me.”

“Let’s run away together for the weekend.  Or forever.  Your pick.”

“Thank you.”

“I was thinking of you today…”

“I love you.”

And that’s a good note to end on.

Posted by Liberty on 03/25 at 01:44 AM
Posted under: See-Through

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Pooka Pooka  at  03/25/08 08:27 AM

Thanks.  I think it was a good ending to a story.  I never said goodbye.  But I don’t think I belonged anywhere that could rate a farewell.

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