Who was the person you used to be? You might start today’s writing with “I don’t have a name. I don’t know what to do. I am not the person I used to be…”
This prompt brings me to utter tears and I do not know if this course will work for me. I am in pain constantly and this prompt brings more pain, pushes me back inside what I know and live with daily, already. Every morning I wake is a nightmare. I do not know what to do with the day. Plus, I hesitated in signing up for it because I was creating a course on writing and grief last year. I have facilitated and taught writing groups and meditation/enhancing creativity/ceremony, etc., for decades. I was creating a course specifically about writing grief … before my mom got sick.
All things stopped and ended when she got sick. Not sure I will continue with that in the form I thought of then. Suffice to say, I didn’t want to be influenced by this course and knew things would cross with what I’ve created. But then I don’ t normally use prompts, and thought I could use the community. My tribe is now those who’ve had devastating loss. My mom died six months ago. Most don’t think of a parent as a devastating loss. “The (fucking) natural order of things,” I’ve heard. One psychologist family friend said that because of my mom’s and my very close relationship, this was more like losing a child. Or a life partner, a few astute have said. Losses cannot ever be compared, so individual we are. But this was no ordinary mother-daughter relationship. But then what mother-daughter relationship is?! It is something beyond this world. And it just hurts. It hurts like hell that she isn’t here in the physical with me now. She was my absolute world. And so, here I am. Here I am.
I am in tears because I will never be who I was again and I don’t know who I am anymore and I don’t even want to be here. My mom was my EVERYTHING!!! Tears stream cheeks now. Sobs heave chest.
She is and was the love of my life: Mom-daughter-sister-twin-shadow, constant companion, my Spiritual partner, supporter, cheerleader, comforter and solace, my rock, foundation and fountain, favorite playmate in the sandbox and very best friend, clothing consultant and shopper, co-pilot, life partner. The person I loved more than anyone on Earth, who loved me and watched over me. I poured my love into her and she poured her love to me. She was the last and sole person on Earth who could witness me in my most horrid and raw of states and stand still in my storm lovingly, absolutely unconditionally lovingly with arms open wide. The woman who would see beauty in what no one else could see. We lived together these last nine years and I took care of her. We were each other’s joy. And before that, we’d talk an hour a day on the phone for years, sharing our stories and life.
I miss her and I miss who we were together in this physical world. How we perceived the world together, our laughter, her funny looks, the singing and dancing we’d do, her voice, our secret made-up languages and funny conversations. Lying down next to her on her bed, looking out the big window up to the lemon tree and its branches in the sky, watching the birds and animal life run by, talking about the lights at night or of the planes that would fly. My cells are on fire with physical withdrawal. Kissing and hugging her, and hanging with her every single day, her smile that lit up the world, her twinkling eyes that even strangers said shined. I know she is in the highest peace, absolute bliss and complete liberation. I am happy for her. But her last days and her last day and the previous two years play out before me in a continual reel, the record stuck in a groove by the needle of things that occurred. Things that occurred in those sudden last 23 days I cannot reconcile. Memory is not always our friend.
I miss talking about her to people. It wasn’t an “I” it was a “We.” I use to resent when my mom used “we” referring to us when I was growing up. “We have to get new sneakers,” she’d say. I’d protest “I have to get new sneakers!” But I came to love the ‘we’ later in life. We will always be a we. I have to hide who I am now. I cannot be who I was with my mother in this world. She accepted the all of me and no one other person in this world can do that now. So I am not who I was, can never be who I was again. I sit alone and in silence much of the time. I make attempts to get out there. I have been offered new things. I weakly grab to the branches but know they will break, too, and not hold.
I was my mom’s protector and she was mine. I was fiercely protective of her but I could not protect her those last days and years. I did not see. The fucking hospital and fucking hospice… cannot go there now. I am my mother’s daughter. I am she and she is me. One heart, two bodies, I’d say. Now my heart is gone. Belly-heart and throat eviscerated by loss. We were each other’s Universe and I suppose in some sense, still are, will always be, but different now. So different.
I worried about myself even before she got ill and left. I knew back then that there was nothing to swing me to new territory. Like a cat circling in the house loudly meowing, I told her I’d be. Or now a lost monkey in the trees, there is no branch to swing me tree to tree, no branch to swing me anywhere at all. Stuck in mid-air, and constantly falling into a hell I did not ask for. One hand on the branch stuck between trees and falling, falling, falling. I am fucking sick of people’s platitudes. They are everywhere and it makes the descent even more hellish because no one knows. No one knows how alone I am, not only figuratively but literally. Ah HO! Because that’s the truth and when I write truth, it reveals and heals.
I am not who I was, “I live and watch over my mom.” I am not that anymore. And I don’t know how to watch over me. I guess I don’t really care to watch over me. I always thought I’d eat better when she was no longer here in the body. I now know I ate well because I fed us together. I lived because she lived. And now I don’t want to live. Not suicidal, not a suicidal bone in this body, but a fact, I’d rather not be here. I have lost much weight. Don’t worry, those who read this. Not overweight, not underweight, just skinny again.
I want to lie on the couch. Just want to rest and do nothing. But many a days I force myself to do things. I put on a plastic smiley face for the world, for a brother whose anxiety and worry for me is killing me. Who says four months in, “Mom and dad wouldn’t want you grieving too much.” How I have to cope and get out there. Is he fucking kidding me? Our emails descended into hell. I felt literally dizzy by the end of that night, some two months ago. Six months now and, no, I am not better and I don’t know who I am anymore. Because anyone I was before is no longer here.
All I want to do is to connect with you, mom, you are still and forever my Universe and world. Ah HO!
I wrote this yesterday. It’s a hard writing. Sometimes there are soft writings, when my mom writes to me. They are beautiful and loving. But this is not:
Mornings are terrible for me. I’m afraid my heart is dying. I do not want to EVER be in a hospital or have a pacemaker or … my heart literally hurts. No one is here. Nothing here. I have some beautiful words from my mom, too, but that is not what this morning brought. I eat chips and chocolate for dinner now. Thought I’d take better care of me when my mom was no longer here but it is the opposite I now realize. I took care of me because I took care of her. Now there are no reasons to be.
Stories Seasons Safety…
Because all your hopes die
There is no one to dream along with you
No one to sing with you any longer
No one to get up in the morning for
And it is great
And it is a cutting
Of the heart
And your future dies
It will be different forever
You turn inward
Shrieking and shrinking like curled browned leaves
Dying on a Norfolk Pine
Spring does not come
Stories die before the vine
Skin is turned inside out
Nerve endings exposed
And maybe you had a chance to say goodbye
And maybe you didn’t
Cutting the heart even further
And it is a revolution
Of the bones
Of the steel
Of your core
Of your heart
Of your life
Addendum: In rereading this above, I am reclaiming the “WE” and that makes me smile. I am taking back the full we-ness of who we were and are! When I accidentally used the ‘we’ pronoun shortly after my mom slid out of her body, my neighbor aptly said, “Elizabeth, you’ll always be a we with your mom.”
She is right and that is good. And that brings me a sigh of relief.