It was sunny and beautiful in the valley on mom’s last day. The temperatures were short sleeve, late spring-like. Then it rained the day she died. Apropos. I hope nobody thought it was because they washed their car. It was the world crying for her loss. Mom was a beautiful consciousness, whose love for people, sense of humor, and humility made her a joy to everyone around her. From my perspective, the world was the worse for her leaving it, and it knew it.
The hardest days were those where she lay waiting to die. The hemorrhage on her brain had done irreversible damage, and rendered her comatose, leaving death the only natural result of an event that took us all by surprise. Waiting, wondering if in some last moment effort she might wake up and ask what the hell is going on, or if somehow she might be thinking, hearing, dreaming, and ultimately suffering in there, those are the bits that were brutal. I gasped for every last breath in a world with her in it. I cried every last tear in an ocean of love, respect, admiration for the woman who had raised me a man, and had given me everything good in her. I daydreamed that somehow she could hear me from so far away, telling her that it was okay to let go, to suffer no more, to be at peace. Alas, I know that those thoughts in my head, those words screamed at the steering wheel of my truck as I drove alone, those sights and sounds, were only for me, and only brought me peace of mind in letting her go. She lay, unresponsive, so far away. All I could do was commune with nature, and find peace within myself.
After I carried her to her grave with my brothers and hers, and my sister, the next challenge was to find a day where I was strong enough not to wake up on a damp pillow, and to go the whole day without crying. I finally made two in a row, a record dampened as I write this. This could have been the third. Still, I don’t regret the tears. They are a natural part of the healing process. How much worse would it be if there were none? How awful would it be if there were no reason to cry? But mom had lived 63 beautiful years, too few years for love, too many for the tragedy she lived. While she faced the prospect of cancer in the end, the physical suffering that goes along with fighting it, and the pain treatment, it is the torments of her mind that also come to needed rest. Living is always the best option, but the heart finds peace in the release of life when living well is no longer possible. Mom’s days of wellness were gone. My heart was shattered for that.
As the hours turn to days, and those days are beginning to turn to weeks, I feel as cold as the grave myself. But one day on my timeline the weeks of my life will turn to days, then hours, and the coldness of the grave will find me, again, this time as participant. Mom would have me spend no more moments mourning her. She’d stand before me and say, “You look after my grand babies for me, and tell them I love them, every single day.” That’s where she would be selfish, and demand a daily tribute. I am sure she would insist these grand babies are the greatest legacy of her life. I would disagree. Her greatest legacy comes from the daily lessons she gave me in goodness, and how to raise these grand babies well. Next comes the glorious memories of my youth, spent in the sacred days we shared. I began my youth before she ended hers. And now she has ended her old age before I began mine, if 63 could even be called old?
As I carry on, suddenly without her, I feel like a cloud drifting overhead. Sometimes I may rain, sometimes I may let the sun in. In a moment I may drift away, or my vapor may dissipate. Only a few will notice me. At times there is thunder and fire inside. But mostly, I feel like mist, almost transparent, unable to be touched.
I miss you mom. I love you.