That’s how Mom’s death seems to me, and a few others within the family, as though she simply disappeared. I arrived to help care for her on the seventh of June, and two weeks later…. How the hell does that happen?
I’ve been facing plenty of existential queries, none of them immediately answerable. I’ve also enjoyed numerous hugs and snuggles. And there have been copious tears shed, not merely for the enormous hole left within so many hearts, but the upheaval stirred by such loss. And suddenly it’s July, as if June never occurred, except that it did, and the footprint left behind is massive and invisible all at once.
How can something so grievous feel so improbable?
Mom’s at home, right? She’s attending to various civic duties, or watering her roses, or assisting with a literacy program. She’s baking sweet potato pies or planning to help with Fourth of July activities. She’s watching baseball or feeding the cats. She’s….gone.
Since coming home, I’ve thrown myself into sewing projects, fashioning a baby blanket as well as cutting fabric. The baby comforter came together quickly, just the hand-quilting taking more time. I did the same after Dad died, my brain too weary to do more than operate my machine. Perhaps only three years have passed, but I’m feeling far more fragile this time around. I’m grateful to have finished The Hawk; I simply can’t fathom doing more the most basic tasks. My husband is home this week, and other than keeping an eye on Buttercup while her family leaves for vacation, there are few chores I need to accomplish. I’d had grand plans for this month, writing at the top of the list. But death has swooped in on a stealthy wind, uprooting my balance with colossal force. Plot twists are scattered beyond my capacity to retrieve them, hexies too, as though my life wasn’t more than a box of scraps, dumped out amid tornado-strength winds.
It is cathartic to write this out, as if by seeing these emotions in print I can somehow set this bizarre truth somewhere in my head where it makes the tiniest bit of sense. I’m not prone to visiting the cemetery where my family is buried, Dad next to my brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles and great-grandparents on the far side. However, once Mom’s name is etched on the marker she shares with my father, perhaps I’ll mosey out for a chat. I might sing a song; lately I’ve been listening to Kate and Anna McGarrigle. I don’t know if Mom and her sisters know their music, but I imagine a few tunes were enjoyed when they were younger. I leave you with one of my faves; Mom and her family used to camp at Patrick’s Point in Humboldt County. On our next trip up that way, I’ll certainly be thinking of her and my aunties.