Sunday, April 17, 2005

Things Worse Than Death

Today is my mother's 75th birthday. She is at a place, with people really, that I cannot for the life of me find the strength in myself to walk in to. And she's only there under layers of dementia and drugs, unlikely to know me although I would hold her hand anyway.

I held my daddy's hand when they disconnected the respirator. That was three weeks after the last time I saw him really alive which was five years ago this month. That day he was so happy he was cured of cancer! Nevermind he was struggling to breathe because the radiation had fried his lungs and that in two days they would no longer be able to exchange oxygen well enough to sustain his life.

I have found the strength to do so many things in my life, things I wouldn't have thought I had the strength for. Why can't I find it to go see Mother? I wish a brother would come and go with me, just so I don't have to go alone. But I've never needed them before, no, I've been the one to negotiate all the rifts, to hold all the lines of communication open. And I just don't have it anymore. And for my mother! It breaks my heart.

I wash dishes and think about it being her birthday and cry, sob, and still I can't find the strength for it, to walk into that pit of vipers that she chose over me, her family. And maybe that's it, that she chose it, that she had so little faith and confidence in me about this.

I have forged my life in a different realm and here I am strong and I am ME. The people she loved more than me are kryptonite to me and I do not have the strength.

But I secretly hope that she can feel me on her birthday, like I could once feel the bunch of Sisters of Mercy who stormed the gates of heaven for me.

I love you Mother. I know love is what you do not what you feel and that right now I can't do it but I still love you. And just like Daddy used to say, you'll never die as long as your daughter is alive, and now I've got another generation coming on just like us. And that's the generation I have to take care of and I can't be crazy negotiating pits of vipers like some Indiana Jones character. And I love you. And I always will. And I'll tell the stories. And we'll make some new ones.


Joe Tornatore said...

heartfelt. felt it all the way in jersey.

justrose said...

storming the gates of heaven is a powerful thing.

yesterday would've been my late grandmother's 85th birthday, and she was like a mom to me.

Jim said...

My stepfather has Alzheimer's and has been in a home for almost 5 years.
He was considered a genius in his time, did trigonometry in his head, and built beautiful Indy race cars from the ground up.
In 3 years he changed from an incredibly creative man to a bumbling incompetent who doesn't recognize his own wife & children.
I knew and respected him for what he was, and I haven't been to see him in the home.
What is the point in depressing oneself in visiting someone who doesn't have a clue as to why you even came?
I would need to rent a car and further pollute the environment which poisoned this wonderful man with the many toxins that were prevalent in his workplaces.
Still I feeel guilty!