Friday, April 16, 2010

nine months and one day (267 days)

I visited the cemetery this morning. It's not something I do often, in fact this was the first time I've gone since last fall. I don't feel a connection to that patch of ground with my Mother's name on a slab. But this morning I was driving past the grounds and at the last second I found myself heading past the gates and towards Mom.

I thought I would just stop for a moment, take a look and make sure everything was okay, maybe say an obligatory prayer over Her grave. Instead I suddenly found myself sitting on the ground beside Her and carrying on a conversation. I found myself telling my mother all the things I miss without Her in my life. I found myself completely overwhelmed.

When I talk to Her as I go about my day (and I do, all the time) I feel Her still as a force in my life. I feel Her having influence and strength. In the cemetery I felt only the loss of Her. I felt all the things that are missing and that I will never find again.

Maybe the point is only that I still feel her, no matter where I am. Or where she is?Maybe the catharsis of the cemetery is helpful. Maybe it will help me heal?

I don't know.

I still don't know much of anything nine months later.

These days I'm doing a lot of thinking. A lot more thinking, worrying, questioning about my mother, her life, her loss, her legacy than I am engaging in emotional outbursts or bouts of melancholy. 

To have lost such a strong influence in my life - the strongest influence in my life - has left me questioning everything about myself. I think about how much I want to be like my Mother, everyone's angel; committed to everyone's needs, the consummate parent, the kind soul, the teacher. And then I remind myself that in the end She may have given so much of Herself to everyone else that She had nothing left to sustain Herself and because of that we all lost Her far too early. I wonder if I can strike a balance. I question my choices. I worry over my weaknesses. 

I feel trapped by all the thinking.

And at the end of every day I know that if I just had my mother to talk to, she would guide me to find my own path, my own answers. 

I still don't know how to do this without her.

3 comments:

Heiko said...

Hang on in there, girl. You're doing ok from what I can tell from a distance. :)

Principal Brock said...

I know your mother is proud of you. Think of how you would want your "daughter" or child to react in your death....make your mother proud with your actions and words. She raised a great child-look at your accomplishments that just leap off your blog pages! Sheila

Ruby said...

Hi Jenn,

I've just been looking over your blog and stumbled onto the thread of posts about your mom. It may sounds perverse but I found myself smiling sadly as I read, recognizing myself in so many of the thoughts you express. My mom died when I was 22 (she was 47) and that was almost 18 years ago. I used to have dreams that she had survived the cancer and that her death was just a bad dream, only to wake up and realize it was my mind playing cruel tricks. I used to (and sometimes still do) have the impulse to send her an email, even though she and email never co-existed. But the toughest thing I ever had to do was take my children, who never knew her, to visit her grave. That day I let out a sound such as I have never made before - a primal cry of rage at the injustice - on her behalf at not getting to know her grandchildren, and on theirs at being denied the loving grandmother she would have been. I wish I could tell you it gets easier - I think it's like carrying a heavy suitcase. It doesn't get lighter but you get stronger and feel the burden less. But, to echo your last line, 18 years on and I too 'still don't know how to do this without her.' Thanks for having the courage to share your thoughts and please accept my, albeit belated, heartfelt condolences.

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