Nov 25, 2012

in which we talk about the thing I do not talk about


It will be two years in two weeks or so, give or take.   It feels like it was yesterday and it feels like it was a decade ago at the same time.

If you are one of the few to actually know me outside this blog, outside this nom de plume, you know that my mother and I have//had a relationship that is best described as "it's complicated" from the Facebook pull-down menu.  If you are among those few to know me well, you know she's gone.

I'd like to pretend I'm doing fine.  I'd like to pretend it didn't happen.  I'd like to pretend the world spins forward, just as it had before.

But that's impossible.  It is the thing that can not be undone.  The irrevocable.  The demarcation between 'before her' and 'after.'  The Rubicon, the Styx, the Hellmouth.

I can apply Wite-Out to as much of her memory as possible.   Redact.  Leave my life looking like the Watergate transcripts.

(Longtime readers may notice that I completely deleted the post in which I called her a big fat bitch, kinda, for her Christmas Card that should be the stuff of LEGENDARY EPICS, in terms of passive-aggressiveness.  But she WAS being a big fat bitch.  But now she's dead.  So I feel guilty calling her that.  Then I feel guilty about whitewashing the past, as though rewriting our history does her a disservice.)

But that doesn't bring her back.  Doesn't make it any less real.  Any less hard.  Any less now and possibly forever.

It's hard not to feel alone.  Feel bereft.  Feel abandoned.

One of those hazy childhood incidents that became a source of ongoing jokes between us was when I somehow lost myself in a toy story and stood there muttering to a cashier that 'mommy come back, mommy always come back' until she did.  Then one day she doesn't.

The absolutely, hilariously, poignantly tragic thing?  It was stairs.  This woman survived being born with a hole in her heart (literal, not just metaphorical), survived breast cancer and radiation and a double mastectomy, survived nearly 60 odd years of the trials and tribulations that we call life.  And it was a missed step in our back staircase that took her down.  Broke her spine.  Would leave her a quadriplegic.

And if you know my mother, you know that a life in which she could not dance would be no life worth living.  So she chose not to.  We chose not to.  We had to find documents and wills and powers of attorneys.  We had to plead her case before a tribunal of medical experts and hospital staff to assure them that we would not sue them for complying with the wishes she had made clear to us for decades.  She had to desperately plea her case - after a surgery left her vocal cords useless but her mouth able to mouth words  - had to plea her case to a shrink, to a nurse, to God.  To die.  To stop.  To end.

The hardest thing is trying to believe it wasn't an ending.  To our story.  To her.

I'm not what you call a religious man because my family did religion like they did everything else - weirdly, uniquely and like no other family I know.  At best, I could be described as a sampler of spirituality without settling down to strict adherence to any one religion.  Which is kinda how she did things.  I always gave her some snark for being so new-age-y but what do you expect of one who came of age in the Age of Aquarius?   And while she turned much more to Catholicism in the wake of her father's death, I do not have such cold comfort.  Such explanations.  Such reasons.

The biggest bullshit aphorism ever perpetuated is that 'everything happens for a reason.'

The world is not reasonable.  The twists of fate are not reasonable.  Mankind is not reasonable.

No reason or afterlife or narrative arc you could come up with will justify a world without her in it.

I can only try to write that narrative from now on.  The after.  It's how I can honor her.  Remember her. Keep her here, keep her now, keep her alive.

She used to always ask me why I didn't write about her.  Why, if I wanted to be a writer. Why, if I wanted to make it.  Why, if one should write what one knows.  I told her that no one would believe it was drawn from life.  That no one would believe she was real.  She was much too much for life, much less art imitating such.

But here we are, two years later.  And all I know is that she is - was - the realest woman I've ever known.  And loved.  And lost.

2 comments:

ab said...

Doll, this is one of my most favorite things that you've written.

Seyashima Masahiro said...

You know, you know you didn't mean and so does she. Don't feel guilty for something that doesn't matter anymore. Cherish her teachings and love her memory. Once you do that, you are free to move on.