I’m getting sick. It’s an old response to difficult tasks. Emotional upheaval.
I’m on my way to my mother’s house this weekend to go through her things- things I was never to touch- pack and bring them to my home.
My sister is coming, then she’s not, then she is…
My chest is starting to tighten with a cough. My throat is sore.
Allergies, I try to tell myself.
If I could close my eyes and make a wish it would be to be able to go by myself and do this. In my own time. No one near me. Sleep in her house. Be left alone. I don’t want to take care of anyone else’s feelings.
Well, except for Allan. He is coming with me. I need help packing. I’m not much of a packer. It’s not his mother, though. He supports me and gives me room when and where I need it.
[removed upon request] It brings up a black cloud that is not about my mother.
My mother and I have enough black clouds on our own. Sorry. My mother and I had enough black clouds of our own. I must start using the past tense.
I don’t want the underlying tension between my siblings and I to cover the rooms like dust from termites chewing.
I want to go hold my mother.
I can’t hold her anymore. The last time I was in the house, I held her in my arms. I rubbed her back. The paper white skin on her arms was outgrowing the red splotches and I knew she was dying. Soon. She tilted her head towards me after a long drag off a cigarette.
Are you going to be okay?
Yes, Mom. I'm going to be okay.
I’m not okay.
I had a nightmare last night about going through the house. I fought bitterly with my brother over stuff.
I don’t want to fight over stuff. I want to take a few things to hold her close to me.
She can’t be held. She’s gone. No amount of stuff will ever bring her back.
My throat gets a little sorer. My chest, tighter. My body is shifting into old rhythms. Getting sick. Wanting to be alone, hidden away from everyone. Except my mother. I want to be sitting by her feet on the kitchen floor. She made everyone behave with a sharp look and even sharper words.
I miss her.
I thought walking away from her ashes, left with two flowers and the kid’s letters and photos, was the hardest thing I ever had to do. This weekend, I’m going to pack a piece of her world and bring it into mine.
I’m not okay, Mom. I don’t know if I can do this after all.