A childhood friend let me know, early this week, that her father had just died. It wasn’t unexpected and yet, for her, the surge of accompanying grief was.
She’s 58. I remember when my darling daddy left this earth a neighbour attempting to comfort me with ‘there is no good age to lose a parent’. I was 22. True that wasn’t a good age, but I feel sure 58 isn’t either.
My friend planned a couple of quiet days to herself before tackling the long drive home at the end of the week. It’s at least 7 hours. I could imagine myself taking off as soon as I heard the news. I always try to outrun anxiety.
Driving in panic, heartbeat as fast as the car can go. Not helping anyone.
You know the fight or flight when you basically run round in circles doing the headless chook?
Stop. breathe. respond don’t react.
I can’t even say that, when the matriach died, the family ripped apart at the seams. It was more like a disintegration. Like a pie thrown against a wall sliding down slowly. Big fat mess that no one took responsibility for cleaning up. Just left the room and kept walking.
The siblings are just so different – conversations might as well be in four languages.
Soon after my mother died, a friend of my sister’s came to visit me. She was worried that we wouldn’t have a focus. ‘You need a hub’ – I believe she was projecting as she tangent-ed off to talk about her own siblings, their mother still alive but leaving this mortal coil as fast as she could. By the time W left she was smiling and seemed totally at ease. ‘You’re the new hub’. We clearly don’t know each other well, it was a duty visit, and so she had no idea during her middle of the night worries about this family, not her own, that I could possibly have the capacity to hub it. She left relieved.
Thanks W but I ain’t no hub, no intention of glueing that lot together.
I wish I could write you an accent. Wait, let me try…
I could see her coming, out her door, as I was parking. She was doing that afternoon thing of farewelling her son.
‘Annnnie’ she swooped and folded me in. ‘WHAT could you doooo? What could you DOOOO?’ Tears I must have been saving for days… ‘She’s in hevun now, she’s in hevun’.
She limped her arthritic joints back into her house. My afternoon took a decidedly darker turn – grief rears its’ ugly head in unexpected moments, doesn’t it.
The smell of her perfume? makeup? soap or face cream? or just her Malteseness, stayed with me for hours, her crush replayed with each waft, and accompanied by fresh tears.
First sighting of the neighbours post bereavement – check. It should get easier…
voice silenced by stress
mind full Ireland USA
mother lies dying
keeping jet lag hours
no cries in the night
one night of quiet
and yet the nurse walks the hall
coma come to call?
my aching leg well travelled
comfort of couch, cats
I’ll talk to you soon