I never knew how much it hurts when your mother dies. The nurse in me had always accepted that death is inevitable. No one lives forever. Everyone loses their parents eventually. It’s the natural order of things. Except when it is your mother and then the abstract becomes excruciatingly personal.
Confusion is one stage of grief I did not expect. I expected denial. But I’m not in denial. I know my mother died. I watched her take her last breath. No, what I feel is confusion. How can this be? My life has regained some semblance of normalcy. Work keeps me busy. I have moved past gut wrenching inertia and regained some of the energy I need to do the things I always loved. Snowshoeing in the mountains. Spending time with friends. But then I walk through a department store and see a jacket my mother would have loved for her birthday. And there is no one to buy it for. And I’m confused.
How can this be? It just doesn’t make sense. A world without my mother? Her heartbeat was the first sound I ever heard. While safe in her womb, her heartbeat was my first awareness of the world. And when it stopped, the world tipped, throwing me off balance and bringing me to my knees.
Since before I drew I my first breath, my mother was there. For my entire existence, she was there. She’s always been there. And now she is not. And how can that be? Okay, I know she died. I accept that. But why does it have to be forever? Why can’t she come back? Once in a while? Just for a chat? And a hug? I know she can’t stay. But maybe a visit now and then? Catch up on what my kids are doing. Chat about books and movies and how things used to be when we were all young and happy on the shores of Long Island Sound. How can it be this permanent? I can’t handle the permanence. It’s the permanence that makes no damn sense.