Everything Is Temporary

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I remember last year reading about a billionaire. The interviewer asked him how much he really valued all his extremely expensive possessions. His answer struck me as being among the wisest things I’ve ever heard.’Well’,replied the billionaire,’I don’t value my things per se…I appreciate them,of course,but I don’t really value them.’ The interviewer was incredulous! ‘Why?’ she spat in shock. ‘…….because everything I have is temporary…I am only its keeper for a short while…..’

I believe that the true weight and wisdom of that comment can only be understood by those who have lost someone very,very close to them. Life is temporary,nothing lasts forever,everything passes….

Yesterday,I cleared out my wardrope/closet…I can’t believe all the stuff I had in there that I never even wore,that,in fact,I hated! What was that about?! I guess its about trying to hang on to that moment when we bought each jumper/jeans/tee-shirt,about those minutes filled with the hope of all the cool and glamour and sex-appeal we just knew our new wonderbuy would bring us. And maybe it did,or maybe it didn’t,but either way we need to move on,coz that train has now left the station! All that nastiness clogging up our closets only prevents us from bringing in fresh,new garment lovliness to our lives…and when we do,a fresh,spacey closet helps us appreciate our new hopes to their full potential. And at least I can now say in full and utter justification,’I have nothing to wear’!

Of course,I did hang onto some memories….and I have yet to trawl through my dress collection…I believe I will absolutely need several more cups of tea and several more hours of contemplation before I can even begin to start on that particular clearout!

 

 

 

 

On Hallowed Ground

Yesterday,I took the kids over to my Mom’s house. I wanted them to see where she died,I thought it was important to do that. They’d never been in Mom’s house before,so they were fascinated to know what it looked like. We explored the sitting room and bedrooms first,before opening the kitchen door downstairs. The kitchen is where Mom died,where she drew her last breath.We shuffled in the door,as the room is quite cramped with furniture and boxes and stuff. I drew my hand across and over the floor space where her body had lain for weeks. The stains on the floor still remain,as well as the blood pool where her legs were. I explained that her head,when we found her,had been over a bucket, ”this bucket.” They wanted to see more,go closer. There had been a white plastic bag spread over the rim of this bucket,so we think Mom had been about to clean the ashes out of the fire. Then she must have felt sick,and ….well,we don’t know,we just don’t know.

We said a few prayers…at which point,I had to stop and take a few moments. The kids continued praying. When our prayers were finished I told them how sad it was that when Nana entered her kitchen that day,that she would never leave alive. She was about to take her very last breath very,very shortly. If she had known,how sad and terrified she would have been. I wonder…did she know? Maybe,but not until the final seconds,perhaps,for I know she would have sought help if she had believed the situation was that serious….or if she had time.

I wonder what her last thoughts were…even her last words. Her final thoughts may have been about how sick and odd she felt,and then…was there pain? And I wasn’t there for her. A few weeks ago I found one of Mom’s random notes written on a piece of cardboard. She wrote of one of her pet cats,about how she held him on her lap and rubbed his head as he slowly and gently passed away…how awful I felt that there was no one there to do that for her,my Mom,my wonderful,crazy,amazing,gentle,one-of-a-kind beautiful Mother…the most significant person to have been in my life thus far…How very,very tragic. And it is my tragedy as well as Mom’s,and it is my childrens-her grandchildrens-tragedy,too. Perhaps it is also humanitys tragedy…I believe it is.

I presented the facts of their Nana’s death to the kids as just that-facts,facts which I presented matter-of-factly. There was no other way to do it. I told them what happened and they accepted it. The thing is,I’m not sure if I ever will.

The Letter.

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I found a letter Mom had written to me in the late 90’s when I had been living in Italy for eight weeks or so. It was a letter expressing her devastation at my leaving,and it devastated me as I read it….as I read it and reread it and reread it again and again and again.I can barely hold it in my hands without great pools of tears forming in my eyes. And just like the image of Mom lying face down in her kitchen that moment I found her,that letter will not leave me now,even for a short while. Like a hurtful comment once said then enters the brain and will never,ever leave,so that letter has now entered my psyche and continues to form itself into my being.

For so long,all of my life and probably what she believed to be the most significant part of hers,there was just me and her. Mom and me against the world! Well,we were each others worlds. My father lived about a mile or so away from our cottage deep in the heart of the Irish countryside. I met him once when I was a child….just once. In the letter,she expresses how happy she is that I ‘finallly’ made contact with my Dad. When I was in Italy I rang him from a phonebox outside the apartment where I was staying.He lives in his pub in London-still. There was something about being away from home and Mom and everything I was familiar with…it made me want to seek out what I always thought of as ‘my other half.’ He was one half of my identity,half of the person I was,half my family,half my looks…but half of nothing is still nothing,at the end of the day. I didn’t know that then.

On the phone,he was hesitant. I said helloh,told him who I was. It was an extraordinary experience for me. I’d been 5 or 6 when I’d met him years before. I was an adult now. I think his voice sounded more or less the same. I had’nt forgotten…I could not forget the most significant meeting of my life up to that point…maybe still. He sounded happy…or did he? I’m not really sure…I think he did.Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe shock is closer to the mark…nervous shock. I didn’t hear from him again.

It was something that played on Mom’s mind,I believe,the possibility that I may have suffered emotionally as a result of my not knowing my Dad. In the letter she tries to explain to me that after she told him about me when I was 5,he never asked her about me again. She said whenever they bumped into each other after she told him,she was always waiting for him to ask about me…but he never did. She didn’t know why. I didn’t know why either,I still don’t. She wondered if it was just because he was a man,’and men are like that.’ I could feel her hurt burning through the paper on which her words were written,burning through her heart through her pen through the paper on which her words fell and through my hand the hand I held her words in and up through my arm and into my heart,searing into my heart,burning one pain into another,the searing pain of losing who I am-Mom-hissing into the pain of never having half of who I thought I was…

The hurt of wondering ‘why?’ never leaves. Why? Why did he never care? Why did he never want to know me,me,his little girl,his very own flesh and blood-his daughter? Did he ever wonder how I was,if I was happy or sad or…ok or whatever?  In all the life I’ve lived and all the things which I’ve lived through I still cannot understand the mentality of a parent who displays no love for their children. It isn’t natural,it isn’t normal,it cannot be normal or natural to feel no love for your child…And sometimes I wonder how I could have been borne of such a mentality,me who is normal and me who would slit my own throat if I had to,to save my child. Perhaps in a way he has slit his own throat in his life,by choosing to walk the path I wasn’t walking along. Warm blood does not flow through his veins,it cannot….there is cold as cold as ice instead…cold as cold as him,and it does not flow,it cannot…instead it is stagnant and stale…

But such is human life…..A dream–a shadow–a ripple on the water–a thing for invisible gods to sport with for a season and then toss idly by–idly by.

Feeling very raw today…right now.I miss my Mom so,so,so much…I’ll never be able to express how much in mere words.Loss,like love,is really a thing felt rather than expressed,isn’t it? Like,if you really love somebody,you love them no matter what,don’t you? Even if they do nasty things and behave horribly towards you,if you really love them,you love them;it’s something that is not penetrable.

A mothers love is unconditional…I guess that even if they are unable at times to show how much they truly do love  their kids…its only because at that point,they’re hurting too much…maybe because their child appears not to need them anymore,and for a Mom,that thought is unbearable. Of course,no matter how old we get,kids always need their Mom’s. Even if sometimes we,too,cannot express just how much. Mom’s and daughter’s/sons are really just the same-we both fear that revealing our true emotions and fears will only expose the ever  present wound to more pain.

Last night as I passed my Mom’s photo on the sideboard I felt myself getting annoyed with the fact that her expression doesn’t change…it’s static.It was like I’d just realised that…my new awful reality is that what I have now of Mom…what remains…is…unchanging.It is now,as it is. A photograph is a moment in time,a letter is a moment in time…a receipt,a note,a shopping list…these are all moment in time,the moments in time that make up Mom’s life,a life without which my life would not exist. It’s…it’s almost as if,though,that I was angry that the photgraph on the sideboard…was just a photo…it wasn’t-isn’t-her as she would be if she were standing or sitting beside me,as she did so many,many times…as she always was-beside me.But now…no more.

Sometimes I find myself wondering how long it will be before I will lay near her once again.I think about the day when our coffins-hers and mine-will be disintegrated to dust and how our bones will then mingle together.That gives me comfort,oddly I guess. I know now too,of course,where my own final resting place will be…with her,where she lay now. Mom did not know,she never wanted to talk about it really.If it were not for me remembering-unusually as I have the worst possible memory ever-Mom mentioning that she didn’t like one possible graveyard I was going to rest her,I don’t know what I would have done.In the end,she went home to where she and I and our family for a few generations back,are from. The place,the ‘homeplace,’ she always regretted leaving. I think she may have once made a throwaway remark that she would ‘go’ there,’I suppose.’ No one wants to die,no one wants to think about their death or life going on without them,but what choice do we have? To live,to have the priviledge and honour of life,means also that we will all also suffer the tragedy of that life being taken from us one day. This is why life is so beautiful…because it is so,so tragic,too. These two are intertwined eternally. This is life.

I know now that there is a BEFORE and an AFTER in this life. The BEFORE is before we have suffered the hearthaunting loss of a loved one,the AFTER is …after.Only those who have endured this awful pain will know what it means. Before is innocent,unaware bliss. After is reality,after is the waking from the dream of uneventful, routine peaceful normality into a nightmare land of longing for how it once was…and will never be again. And once awoken into this bleak lonely landscape of emptiness,it is very,very difficult-sometimes impossible-to find a way out…..not a way back,for there is no way back….just a way out. That journey may last a long,long,long time….maybe years…maybe forever,until one day there is…..oblivion.

Aside

”People are …

”People are afraid of themselves,of their own reality;their feelings most of all.People talk about how great love is,but that’s bullshit.Love hurts.Feelings are disturbing.People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous.How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up.People try to hide their pain.But they’re wrong.Pain is something to carry,like a radio.You feel your strength in the experience of pain.It’s all in how you carry it.That’s what matters. Pain is an feeling.Your feelings are a part of you.Your own reality.If you feel ashamed of them,and hide them,you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”

-Jim Morrison.

 

 

And it seems like the world just keeps on going,regardless. I want to climb up on the rooftops of the universe and shout and scream into eternity ”MY MOM IS DEAD,MY MOM IS DEAD,MY MOM IS DEAD….” I want the world to know.I want the world to understand. I want people to look at me differently,I want people to talk to me differently,I want the girl at the checkout in the supermarket who I’ve never met before and may never meet again, to ask me how I am. I want to tell every single person I come in however brief contact with every single day, I want to tell them the awful,horrible,tragic thing thats happened to me. And I don’t just want to tell them how I’m feeling,I also want them to actually care. But they don’t care,really. Because thats life and thats the world…it just keeps on rolling,no matter what, it doesnt stop for anyone or anything. I loved…Iove…my  Mom so,so,so much…

 I want people to know something else,too,I want them to know that Mom’s life was about more than depression,that awful,horrible malady that gnawed at her life until there was nothing more left to gnaw.

World,I love her. And I wonder now did she know how much,because I didn’t get a chance to tell her just how very much I loved her and just how very much I valued her.I didnt get that chance.But to all the people out there who are lucky enough to still have their Mum’s and their Dad’s,too…you have that chance.Take it. You may not get another.