Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A breath...then stillness.

That is how my mother left this world, yesterday.  She was breathing steady and strong...and then she wasn't.  It sounds like such a simple thing to have happen.  Like one moment you're writing a letter and the next moment you're just looking out the window at the flowers.  But now she's gone.  And she'll be buried on Thursday, August 4th, at 10:30 am under an Oak tree about a hundred feet from her mother and grandmother.

It's an odd feeling, finally having no link to your birth beyond yourself.  There's a certain sense of unreality that accompanies it, almost as if the anchor to your life has lost its hold and you've begun to drift out to sea.  It's worrisome, true, but also oddly...well, liberating.  I didn't feel this when my father died, and the same goes for my step-father.  They just ceased to be part of my world.  But's like I...well, I hate to say it this way...but now I'm free and can go and do as I want.

This sounds callous and cruel.  But the truth is, so long as mom was alive I felt a responsibility towards her.  I couldn't go live in another part of the world because she needed me to be available.  Had I done that, I'd have been abandoning her, too, and I just couldn't.  Maybe it's weakness on my part.  Maybe it's just me trying to justify my own fears and uncertainties about making major changes in my life.  Maybe it's me rewriting history.  I don't know.  I'm just aware of it, now.  I sense it.

My mother was never abusive to me.  Many's the time she didn't understand me and fought to make me change from the course I'd been set upon, which caused me grief, but eventually she accepted me for who I was and how I was and what I was and grew close despite the miles separating us.  And as I mentioned in an earlier post, her legacy in film is greater than mine...and I'm glad I helped her do that.

Now my responsibility is to my youngest brother, making certain he does not wind up on the streets or in a homeless shelter.  But that is easy to handle.  He wants to stay in San Antonio and try to make a go of it, so all I need to do is provide him shelter.  Our sister will also help him, even though they irritate the hell out of each other...sometimes in ways that are so funny, I have a hard time not laughing.  But he'll be fine.

So, mom will be buried day after tomorrow.  My sister'll be having a yard sale for mom's things, like my aunt did for my grandmother when she was dying, and the money will go to pay off what we borrowed to handle the funeral home.  I've already set up my return to Buffalo in 2 weeks and am making preparations for paying off the burial expenses I ran up on my business card.  And next week we'll find a place for my brother to live.  He may even find a job by then.  Who knows?  But that's for later.  Right now...right now is letting my mind drift and get used to this new reality.  And see if I feel the same way in a week.

No guarantees there, that's fer dang sure.


Writer said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Kyle. Though I know you said that it is rather liberating, but still...achieving freedom in this way has got to be tough and possibly frightening. But I know from my own losses, everything is so much more stark in the world.

Take care.


A.B.Gayle said...

It's hard not to say sorry at times like this. Although you're rationalising it away fine, there'll still be occasions when you miss having that link to your past.

So, here's a virtual hug for those times from someone you've never met.

But more, here's hoping you find the srength to cope with the next couple of weeks as you tidy up "loose ends.".

JamTheCat said...

Thanks, guys. And thanks for understanding. Today was a bit numb and blank, dealing with years worth of things she'd accumulated -- "Love Is" post-it notes so old the paper is yellowed, a framed feather fan on red velvet she loved but never hung on a wall, 1.5 inch long pencils sharpen enough to cut and impossible for anyone with human hands to hold -- but the sense of floating is drifting away and next comes reality...and DUST! DUST! DUST!