When we die, we not only take with us an experience of life, but we also take with us each and every possibility, each and every bit of potential, we have ever been blessed with. What we leave is the concrete portions of our journey, save the ambitious delusions of a certain few who make us much more than what we were as they, too, deal with the certainty of loss. We, take with us any hope for forgiveness, any hope for our own sense of redemption.
My mother has passed on, leaving this world and taking with her any hope of such things.
I’ve kept busy in this strange sense of loss, struggling as I do between the battle of great hurt and great love. Yes, I am angry in my pain. My mother never made amends for her actions. She never acknowledged the pain she caused, or even sought forgiveness for a past rife with hurt. She never addressed the ripples she caused, or the fiery destruction in so many of the lives she touched.
Her obituary touched, as they always do, on the great things she had done in life. She had her goodness, her joys, her loves, and she was not without purpose. Yet her son sat in despair wondering where the sanity was, and wondering if anyone in the family he left behind would have the strength or truthfulness to offer an open embrace. I questioned, often aloud to the full moon rising above my ocean, which was more likely the reality – their lies or my truth. There is no true winner there.
No embrace ever came, and the chances for redemption seemed to pass on with the soul of my mother. Tonight I offered a solemn wish into my hand, dove it beneath the surface of my ocean’s waves, and let it go into the sea. I’ve symbolically made it part of every thing, of every life, of every action in this Universe we call ours.
I didn’t learn of my mother’s passing from my sister, or my stepfather, or a person I call “cousin”, or any of the “family” I left behind. No, was told via Facebook message from the only woman I’ve trusted my entire life, from the only family I’ve ever truly known. I was told my mom had died, and I realized with her went the only chance I would ever have of being recognized as her son. Not as a traitor for telling the truth. Or a bastard for not living the lie. Or a heathen for never, ever, wanting to lie to my niece and nephew. No, in my family you are ostracized because you won’t lie, because when you tell the truth with as much veracity as they tell the lie, you are simply not welcome.
So now I am sad, but I certainly was angry. That anger brought me back to a place I haven’t been to in some time. I don’t like it there, and although I know the choice to visit was mine, I felt it a place I had to go. Even if for one last time.
I am one who believes that sometimes it is necessary to burn bridges, and burn them right down to their foundations. I want to see them in ashes, and then I want to see the swirly winds of time take those heated embers to places I will never visit or see again. Let those who love the pain burn themselves. I am not one of them, I want mountains or the beach. I want a place where few bridges remain, and those that exist take me to the sound of breaking waves or the view of majestic summits tickling the clear-blue sky.
I’ve tried to burn that bridge down in my heart, in my mind. Yet, I’ve found it is often water-logged with the tears of a lonely boy, a misguided man, a lost son and an impossible friend. Sometimes the puddles I’ve left behind just won’t let that fucker burn, and large parts remain to be dealt with another day. I’ve always hoped that they’d dry in the summer sun but, alas, they are still here pointing the way to chaos. Chaos I’m sure to visit now that the Queen of that place has died.
We do, sometimes have to revisit those places of turmoil. I don’t fear those places, I loathe them. I am slow to draw my sword for battle anymore, something that is more a sign of experience than age. Instead, I sink in despair when those battles come, and I find myself warring with soldiers of delusion, of misspent hostility and ridiculous drama. Their flag seems empty, their battle cries futile, and their strategy that of toddlers playing in knee-deep sand once used by kittens as a toilet.
I’ve discovered over the last week just how much I loathe that battle. I dove out of it as fast as I could, finding victory not in defeating this dwarf army, but in getting out of the fight as quickly as I could. In the end, all I could do is shake my head in disbelief, then smile in the recognition that is was not them who grew smaller since we last we met, it was I who had grown much larger.
In the end I offered them love, and an understanding. At least from my perspective. To a vampire the Sun is a lethal poison and the darkness quite a paradise, and to those in the enchanting embrace of pain and suffering love is, often, a cross too great to bear. I can’t apologize for loving them, and I can’t stop being me just because they want to fight. I first reacted much like I would have when I was but a sapling, but now I stand tall against the wind, graciously accepting its challenge and offering repentance to my pain. I love myself in my tears, in my throes of anger, and in my final, much deeper, recognition of who I a truly am.
I often go back in time to the boy who was me. I tell him to hang in there, and deeply experience the pain for the lessons it will provide. Funny, but I remember when I was a boy going forward in time to the man who would be me, telling him to hang in there, that somehow this would all make sense one day. We are both right.
Even though the world was burning around me as a child, I survived. Even a world seen as desolate and devoid of love has changed. Through the fire I came, and through the heat I was tempered into something much stronger than I would have been without it. My mother made me, and through a myriad of my own choices I now stand firm in a place of my own choosing saying words of my own making while sharing thoughts from a mind unafraid of itself.
Mom, I say thank you. Thank you..for…me. Pardon me if I say that I don’t want to be much like you, even as I wonder if a part of you has always hoped I’d say that. Excuse me if I try to live my life in a much different way than you had lived yours, even if I smile at the thought that perhaps that was ALWAYS your plan. Forgive me if I smile while fondly remembering you singing into your microphone/shot glass to Tammy Wynette songs. Allow me to remember the first puppy you brought home, or the many times you’d pretend to sleep while I’d sneak into your room to tickle your feet. I’m sorry if I remember the best times of our lives as the times when we had nothing but each other. I’m lucky to have such memories when you were a single mom of two and we were dirt poor. God, life seemed so good then.
Don’t worry, I will stop by to see you before I head westward. While you seemed to stop being my mom I am, still, your son. Yes, I know, perhaps you were saving me. Perhaps you knew that the best place for your boy was in the place you were not. Perhaps you knew what kind of man I’d become if only I were free from…you.
I know your life wasn’t easy, and the choices you made were hard. I know that you were tortured, misled, misguided and hurt in many, many ways. I know you were not perfect in the eyes of others, and in that, we have much in common. Such things seem all-too-hereditary.
I will be alone when I visit, and what we share will be uniquely ours and shared with no one else. To that, I swear.
Good night. I’m done. I have nothing left inside me.