This entry is why I haven't been blogging much lately. I know that I have to do this, but I've been dreading it. Don't ask me why it is an imperative, and it will come from a dark place, so if you are filled with the Christmas spirit, and don't want to read a downer post, I won't be offended if you move along.
Since my mother died I've been on an emotional roller coaster that has me not knowing from one minute to the next how I'm going to feel. I suppose that is to be expected, but it seems to be totally disconnected from any sort of mental stimulus. It's not like I see something that reminds me of her and I get depressed. I just get waves of grief, or ennui, or apathy, or anger, or worst of all an overbearing feeling of futility, and nothing seems to cause the changes. It's a very good thing that my daughter is away at her dad's right now, because my fuse is very, very short. I don't understand this. I usually can at least tell the cause of my emotions. I have been hitting the Xanax pretty hard lately, and I'm feeling the effect. I drift easily, and I keep losing words. I'm going to try to stay away from it for a while.
Flashback to last Tuesday. Jesus Christ! It's only been a week! Ok, so my mom went into the hospital the Monday after Thanksgiving. By the end of that week she was in a Hospice room. (my fingers are trying to refuse to write this) I had to go into work last Monday to get final grades posted and some loose ends tied up. Our vacation didn't start til that Thursday, but my boss didn't object to my leaving early. Tuesday morning at 7:30, as soon as my daughter was on the school bus, I left for West Palm Beach. Never has 70mph seemed too fast, or red lights too short, as I hurtled toward a destination I desperately didn't want to reach, yet was terrified I wouldn't get to in time. My brother called me a few times during the drive to relay the warnings from the Hospice nurses that time was short. I got there a little after noon. My brother and dad were there in the room. She was unconscious, and every breath was an obvious effort for her. I spoke to her, said what I had to say, and I have no idea if she heard. Then we waited, but it didn't take long. By 12:50 her labors ended. The nurse simply said, "She has passed." Unexpectedly, and without warning the tears tore out of me, and I hid behind the curtains. I can't be all Zen and say that it was beautiful. It wasn't. It was horrific, and those last minutes of her life haunt me in the night. But the fucked up part of it is I'm glad I was there for it. Even if she didn't know I was there, my dad did, and he needed that. It's hard to say what my bother was feeling as we both tend to play our emotional cards close to the vest, but we both dove into the details of preparing the service. He took care of the nuts and bolts, and money part, and I focused on the memorial. There was friction at a few points, mostly due to miscommunication, but nothing lasting or worth chronicling. That week was excruciating. But eventually Monday night came.
My dad was worried that no one would be there, and that the place would be devoid of flowers, but the house was full, and thanks to some very generous folks, some of whom frequent this tiny corner, it was beautifully flowered. At one point I broke down, again completely out of the blue. Then, suddenly, it was over. Folks left, the hall was cleared, and the next day the family and I came home.
Closure is a word I had always taken as an annoying psycho-babble buzz word, but something changed inside once the chapel was dark and empty. I can't describe it, but it was noticeable. Yet now I'm roller coaster man. My wife jokingly said now I know what women go through once a month, and if so you have my sympathies. I would never have described my relationship with my mother as particularly close, but she was always there for me, despite a lot of really messed up shit I put her through over the years. I truly loved her, and even liked her, which I have found is a rare and wonderful thing. She was a SCRABBLE whiz, and I will never forget how she taught me the word 'quixotic'.(if you know your SCRABBLE, imagine that spanning a triple word score.) We were political opposites, and there were certain subjects we simply didn't discuss, and she was a consummate button pusher. No one could piss me off quicker than she could, but it also passed as quickly. I could complain that she smoked herself into an early grave, she was only 64, but she was one of those people who are so addicted that it is literally impossible for them to quit. She tried several times; each time using the latest medical aids, all for naught. The last time she tried was just a few months ago.
Anyway, it's over. I'm mostly ok, but at night, when it's too quiet, and I'm not sleeping, the horror and futility wash over me. Only then does it become real. And reality is a cold, lonely place.
Good by, mom. I love you, and I miss you.