Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One year

So all day long, actually, all week long this is how it’s been. I’m going along like everything is normal, and then it hits me. Melissa’s been dead for a year now. And I’ll cry a little, or a lot. I’ll remember our times together and smile, or feel sad, or sometimes both at the same time. Then it’s back to normal for a while. Then it hits me again.

Last night was bad. Over and over I relived the last day we spent with her, my daughters sitting with her holding her hand, in the hospice, where she was no longer herself and moving out fast. Her family and their anguish. My own feeling that this was impossible. Hugging her tight, her unconscious body warm and soft and solid like it always was, kissing her on the cheek, telling her I loved her and not to be afraid. Saying goodnight for the last time.

Then, the call from her brother at some unholy hour of the morning. The pain all over again, like it was happening for real again. Getting busy, getting her house ready to receive her family, buying cookies and sandwiches for everyone, cleaning the kitchen and making coffee. My daughters and I, working together, trying to do one last thing for her. Seeing her sister come through the door of the house, with so much Melissa in her face that I started bawling all over again.

The horror of the funeral parlor, the way she didn’t look at all like herself, the way she was dressed in clothes she never would have worn in life, (wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them, she probably would have said), the way her makeup was all wrong, the awful finality of her lying there, herself and not herself, wearing a mask that would have terrified her. She would not have chosen orange. Yellows and pinks were her colors. Never orange. I fixated on that, maybe it made it a little easier to remember her in life instead. I wish they had buried her in the pink and white shawl I made for her.

The funeral, the tears, her daughter’s grief. The horrible finality that all the time wasted was really never going to be redeemed. All the hours we could have spent together were never going to happen. We were never going to see each other’s grandchildren. We were never going to help bury each other’s mothers.

So much regret. So much guilt. So much wishing I had been closer the last few years, that we’d never had that big fight, that I’d done more to help, that I’d been there for her more than I was. I got on with my own life, selfishly. I try to remember that she wasn’t perfect, that we did infuriate each other from time to time, that I would be sitting there in her kitchen, for instance, sometimes for an hour while she talked to someone else on the phone. More guilt for remembering that. And like a sack of river rock, it hits me again, not between the eyes, not across the shoulders, but right in the heart. She’s gone, and we’re never going to be able to make it right.

And I live it all over again.

I know it’s going to get easier. I hope that it can get that way without me having to forget her. That sly wink she gave me in the hospice after pitching a complete tantrum fit about not getting her meds. That smile that said “don’t worry, I’m not really this crazy. I’m just doing this to get what I want.” And she did. Remembering that, remembering her laugh, remembering her singing. Us singing together. The battles she won, and lost. The ones we fought together. The ones we fought against each other. Chess and scrabble. Love and heartbreak. Remembering her angry, crying, one night a long time ago, finally just climbing into my lap like a child so I could hold her and rock her and tell her it was going to be okay, and her saying she just wanted someone to love her. I loved her. I still do.

When you're falling awake and you take stock of the new day,
And you hear your voice croak as you choke on what you need to say,
Well, don't you fret, don't you fear,
I will give you good cheer.

Life's a long song.
Life's a long song.
Life's a long song.

If you wait then your plate I will fill.

As the verses unfold and your soul suffers the long day,
And the twelve o'clock gloom spins the room,
You struggle on your way.
Well, don't you sigh, don't you cry,
Lick the dust from your eye.

Life's a long song.
Life's a long song.
Life's a long song.

We will meet in the sweet light of dawn.

As the baker street train spills your pain all over your new dress,
And the symphony sounds underground put you under duress,
Well don't you squeal as the heel grinds you under the wheel.

Life's a long song.
Life's a long song.
Life's a long song.

But the tune ends too soon for us all.

But the tune ends too soon for us all.

1 comment:

Loredena said...


it does get easier, over time. the memories fade, become less immediate. One day you'll be able to smile at the good ones rather then crying at the sad, I promise