December 24 – My mother died twelve years ago today. I never really grieved. My life is upside down – I never grieved.
I look back over the last years and see – loneliness – separation – stupidity – angst, but not grief. Since that mourning I’ve turned my life into a low volume scream. I ran away from my family for security – to only find that I had lost all the security to a dream. I knew the first night after leaving that I had lost my grounding. It does not take long to know what you miss as you float out beyond your life’s rock. My mother was that rock. It was the bright shinny life that Susan offered that confused me – it was never real – depending on intellect not heart tends to confuse or so I suspect.
As I look back, it is easy to self select the moments that make the premises you’ve used reasonable – tactics without grounding
- Blackness demands understatement
- Responsibility ends at some point
- Loving is unworthy yet being responsible
- Controlling the conversation is only another way to stop the conversation
- To is less important than For
- Anger last
- Complexity covers sadness
I recount these moments now because of fear. I’ve scaled down my life into a corner so small that it can barely be seen. My children – no longer see that I miss them, maybe even care. I use to know people – could be counted on as a friend, no more – even my body no longer feels real – bloated, stiff, breaking down. The only connection left is my intellect – it sustains the hope I have for reclamation. The only reason I write is to honor this last hope.
One of the long thought themes for authors was that by writing it would open up the possibility of immortality. A lasting memory that was invoked into the ether and by this single act a life would be lived again. Ah, if that where true, I would never stop telling of all that I had broken, flipped-off, lost, overestimated or simply shown little respect to. Grounding – Grounding – Grounding!
It was those early morning conversations with my mother that grounded me into the day. This has never been so clear as on this day – fourteen years later. I’ve told myself it was all those years where my mother made a routine of discussing what should happen after her death – where the files where for this and that – the clothes she wanted to wear – the hymn the choir should sing – which dish set should be given to which granddaughter …. on and on. The detail project management of the event was rehearsed over and over a thousand times. What she never told me was what I should do with Xmas.
I only remember traveling back to Detroit to spend those days with her – Xmas. She was and is Xmas. It was not that she was very hooked into all the trimmings – she did demand that we travel to Eastern Market to buy a fresh tree. Yes, she had already made arrangements for the kids and later Joyce to engage in activities that would entertain them – basketball – swimming – and a combined family gathering with other members of the local cache of relatives. It was automatic – she was the center of Xmas.
Christmas ended twelve years ago – Its deconstruction began – year over year – it has decayed. Death – separation – disillusionment – each year that has followed her death another piece crumbles. It takes on new depths each year. I’ve heard – even read the psychological information about it, but feeling it is much different than thinking about it. The tightness across my stomach – the stiffness in my neck – the numbness of my left foot, all contribute joyless wonder to this “white Christmas”. My life feels like the grey mess mashed up against the curbs – not snow – not sleet – salted and fading.