Thursday, July 28, 2016

All That Remains

I woke this morning to the forlorn cooing of the mourning dove. Just one perched lonely on a wire. It always strikes me as so hauntingly familiar. His? Or maybe her sad laments today resonated deeply with my heavy heart more so than usual. In my dream before waking...that hazy space of partial consciousness...I realized that I was several hours late in picking my daughter up from school. In a panic, I listened to my voicemail (something I am often unlikely to do irl) after what seemed like forever in fumbling with my phone. The only message concerned not my daughter, but rather my mother. A friend was calling to tell me she recently saw her and she was doing well. She just wanted me to know. The realization that all these years of mourning and grief were unnecessary was devastating. How can it be that my mother has been alive all this time without me knowing? Why did she let me believe that she was gone from the world? My heart was broken again for all the precious time wasted. This was good news, but it didn't make me happy.


I was lying in bed feeling all of the emotions of loss just below the surface as I was slowly coming back to life. My body ached with a visceral sadness. Not fleeting like a distant memory, but fresh. Muscle memory is nothing to mess with. The day after my mom passed, I got horribly sick. For 6 weeks I put my life on hold to be there for her as her life came to an end. I have not one regret, but it was an emotional, physical and spiritual test. The most grueling I've ever taken. It was like my body knew it had to go on despite the stress, lack of sleep or proper nourishment, and a sad breaking heart. It was uncanny how my temple...stood strong for me as I depleted its every reserve only to crash exactly 12 hours after my mom died at the first moment it could. I was sicker than I've ever been that week, and yet I've never had more respect for my body. It held up for me so I could hold her hand and be by her side. It stood by me.


When I got out of bed this morning, I opened the window and was greeted by a damp, loamy breath. It caught in my throat for a second as I saw myself walking down the wooded path to the fertile river bed just on the edge of my childhood yard. Images flashed through my saturated head: a tire swing, a patch of ripe raspberries, stained and sticky fingers, a stray cat, a fairy tale pond filled with bright fleshed, fat koi, ice cubes clanking in a glass of caramel colored liquor, dirty feet and messy hair, and that fecund smell that transports me straight back to that age of innocence again.


As I surmised, the lone mourning dove was singing its dirgelike song from the high wire. I watched the bird wondering if its the same dove I witnessed widowed at the talons of a hungry hawk two summers ago. His? Her mate singing beside her one moment and the next gone just a pile of feathers left littering the lawn still warm and soft and white. 

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