Thursday, June 21, 2007

Let it Go

Some of you reading this are relatively new readers. I have had a couple people ask, Who is Walter? Who is Allan?

And I point them to the essay in August 2006 “The Dads.”

Today, I’m in Florida at my mother’s condo. She died last October. I wish I could say I had a perfect relationship with her. I can’t. I wish I could say we were close at the end of her life. I can’t. While posts in the fall and over the winter chronicle my movement through grief, anger, sadness, and at times, relief, it is something that comes up and bites me from time to time.

It has been less than a year.

Even through all my anger, I loved my mother very much. For all her anger at me, she loved me, too.

Yesterday, I walked into the condo and one of the first things I did was to go to her closet to open her container of scarves. Sealed in plastic to avoid Florida moisture, it keeps her smell safe.

White diamond perfume and cigarette smoke.

I can put my face in the container and breathe her in, for a moment.

I know she would hate this kind of sentimentality. Get on with it, she’d say. So much to do, don’t forget your own babies.

They need you, she would reprimand me.

She needed me, too, I know.

I realized I couldn’t come back here again. It is her place. And I need to let it go.

My mother is dead.

Allan is with me, to pack a few things. He is an amazing packer. He is also a very calm, quiet presence with whom I can share this place. It makes me sad. It makes me wistful. I emotionally disappear for a while and it’s okay.

I miss my mother.

I want to pack every book from her shelf so I can read them all. I want to know what she read. Some, however, are from me. We passed books back and forth. I guess I can leave those behind.

She loved to read.

I pulled one off the shelf last night and a scarf from her container.

I remembered the night before one of her surgeries a few years ago when I curled up next to her on the bed and rubbed her back. She told me who to call if something happened. I remember how small her shoulders were compared to mine.

I tried to read the book but could only cry.

I could hear the ocean but not her deep laugh.

I have to let go.


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