A Eulogy of Sorts
Irony is twisting my brain as I wander in circles around my apartment. There is wine in my hand and pain in my heart.
I am packing for Albuquerque. Again. This time, a round trip flight to say goodbye to my Mom.
I don’t write much anymore but I am still, at heart, a writer. These are the times that call for me to write. Right?
The sadness I feel is indescribable, as it must be for anyone who must say goodbye to a loved one. I’ve considered myself blessed for a long time at not having to experience a major loss. And yet, here I am.
The good news is I made it back to Wisconsin, eventually, to spend a good amount of time with my Mom. She hasn’t really been the Mom I wanted to remember, but she is my Mom. I saw her laugh, but not often enough. We played cards and shared stories when she felt like talking. I wrote her sticker-embellished letters, but the most recent ones she either didn’t answer or didn’t remember receiving.
We went shopping a few times. She loved to buy me things. I occasionally pretended to share ailments with her, such as sore muscles or bad gas or exhaustion. Ridiculously, when I stopped smoking, we lost a time to share, a thing in common. We took a few trips down memory lane and I sometimes saw a light in her eyes. I hope she saw one in mine. I hope, at some level, she was proud of me and happy for me.
I think my Mom was sad for a long time, and I’ve been sad for a long time. We had that in common, among other things. Loneliness, even when surrounded by others. I rarely saw joy in her face, especially since Marshall died, and I very rarely feel joy in my own heart. Not now, not for a long time. Joy is not a requirement of life, but it sure adds to its quality.
Where do we find joy? In ourselves, I've been told. In others, in community. In activities, keeping busy. Sharing experiences and memories. My joyful memories are shrouded in gray, clouded by distance and eroded by time, caught in the shadow of twilight, some of them darkened in secrecy. Even the new ones seem to fade almost instantly into a why-does-it-matter place of ozone.
My Mom is dying. And I’m not ready.
I moved to Wisconsin to be near her. She went to Albuquerque on a vacation. If I had moved to Albuquerque, I’d be with her now. She is in New Mexico and I am in Wisconsin. And now I have to go and say good-bye.
I am not ready.