|My parents in 2009, just before the big slide|
I do not have to call my mother to know how sad she is today. I will visit her, take her out, provide distraction, a shoulder to cry on.
I am sure I will have to rouse her when I arrive, in spite of my having called her yesterday, last night, again this morning to confirm that I am coming by. Sleep is the great drug, and my mother will have drunk its draught in full.
My mother tells me she wakes up some mornings forgetting, reaches out a hand towards the other side of the bed, feeling for my father, her husband, partner, lover, best friend of fifty one years. She finds instead Willie, the cat; a piss poor substitute, but he will have to do.
When I come upon her in bed, my mother will wave me away, ask me to leave her alone, to sleep and wallow. But I will not. I will coax and cajole her, my third child to rouse this morning.
I am not trying to jolly her up, am not asking her to forget what day this is, but rather to let me join her in her sadness, in remembering him and their love.
I will bring with me the book of photos I made, staying up all night the night before his memorial service, pulling all the pictures I could find out of their frames, stripping other albums, pawing through boxes upon boxes of photos; trying to sum up, contain his life in one album.
We will leaf through photo after photo of Dad from mewling babe to smart boy in short pants to handsome young man (all fathers I never knew) and then onto his first marriage, son and daughter. And after that comes my mom, then me and our many wonderful years together, flattened out, frozen in time.
Last March my father miraculously held out past their anniversary, although it was not a happy one. I wrote a post that day, Nearly Finished Business, fueled by love and sadness, looking towards the short horizon I clearly saw.
He made it thirteen more days, halfway to the 25th, his 93rd birthday that I sensed he was aiming for. But, skeletal as a living corpse, strength that had held on past all reason for three long months finally gave out.
I think one of the reasons that zombies hold zero appeal for me, in spite of their recent, inexplicable popularity, is that I witnessed my father become one. By the end he was a barely animated thing, his body a husk, his mind long freed.
Anyone who has gone through this process with a loved one? I am sure, likewise, finds nothing amusing about the fictional walking dead. We have lived with and cared for an actual one.
They are not scary-cute. They are sadness beyond knowing.
I have been dreading the coming of this. This month. This March. This explosive ending of our year of empty firsts, of sad anniversaries.
March is bracketed by my parents wedding anniversary and my father's birthday, and contains within it the date of his last drawn breath.
A month from now, April 1st will breeze in on spring's wet wings and I will run to embrace it. It is also Autism Awareness Day, and that, too, shall be embraced with enthusiasm.
I apologize in advance for any dearth of cheer and mirth you may find in this coming month on my blog.
One year ago, today, I was engulfed in my father's long, protracted dying.
Today, this year, I will hug and tickle my children awake; kiss my husband a morning hello and goodbye; enfold my mother in love as we remember my father, her husband, together; embrace life.
But when I read those prompts and got to number 3: "What were you blogging about last year at this time? What has changed?" I thought "Has Mama Kat been reading my mind?" Because that is EXACTLY what I have been kind of obsessed with for a while. This prompt seemed spookily tailor made to fit in with what's on my mind this week.
So even though it feels a tiny bit like cheating, I am linking up this post to Mama Kat's writers workshop. Because it *is* OK for the universe to occasionally throw me a bone, right?
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