Friday, November 18, 2011

Letters to My Dead Mother Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

Christmas Eve of 2005 was by far the worst day of my life. I was 90 months pregnant with, who turned out to be, an incredibly stubborn child. And my mama was in the Emergency Room. You see, she’d been having this intense headache for a couple of days and she couldn’t get out of bed. My mother, who was sick in bed like once my entire life, could not get out of the bed. I knew immediately. Earlier that summer I remember I was taking a shower when suddenly I was struck with the realization that something terrible was going to happen. At first I assumed that it would be my father. After all, he’d been recently diagnosed with serious heart disease and we’d been mentally preparing for his death for quite some time. But when I asked the voice, if you could call it a voice, if it was daddy, the answer was no. The whisper in my ear told me something I was neither able to accept nor deal with. The voice told me in no uncertain terms that it would be my mother to fall ill and pass away. This came as no surprise really. I mean, she had been a smoker for 40 years of her life, she ate many processed foods, and she didn’t take supplements. And she never exercised. However, despite the logic behind the realization that she was ill and would soon die, I brushed the thought away and chose to ignore it. Only crazy people hear voices, right? And I was NOT crazy. I’d already fought that battle. So, that Christmas Eve morning when my mother made her first visit to the ER, I couldn’t shake the certainty that the voice had been right. And I knew.

I still remember the sound of the ring on my cell phone. You know how you can set the ringer on your phone to play a different tone for each person who calls? Well, I eventually had to stop using the ringer that I had set for my mom and dad because each time I heard it, I remembered that day and how I felt and would feel like I was going to throw up. I was in our bed, my cell phone was sitting on the desk to my right, and at about 9:30 am, it rang. I remember my dad saying something about how they’d found some tumors on her brain and my screaming, “Oh Jesus, NO.” And his response was for me to be strong. This was a typical reaction. Any sign of emotion, he’d warn me to be strong. I’d heard it my entire life. It was a great deal of pressure but worth the effort in order to avoid the hour long lecture that would follow if I failed to “Be strong”. I remember my husband’s reaction… pitying… as if I’d just told him that I’d spilled tomato sauce all over my clean white shirt. I remember my desperate need to be around someone, anyone, who was as freaked the hell out as I was. It was a nightmare. I had to get out of there. I demanded that we drive the one mile to my in-laws house for I knew that they would at least pretend to care. I remember feeling guilt. My fear, anger, screaming, crying, violent outbursts were surely ruining everyone’s holiday. Everything from that day and for the next few months was a big blur. I remember making phone calls to Aunts and friends. I remember calling my midwife and praying that she suggest I just go ahead and check myself into the hospital to be induced but then at the same time not wanting her to come out. I remember opening gifts; trying to act like I was thankful for the items I’d unwrapped, trying to pay attention to the gifts that Hunter was getting and trying to not claw out my eyeballs. I remember desperately needing my mama but not wanting to talk to her or see her. I remember despising my husband for the way he was acting, yet I have no idea what I wanted from him.
For days, I couldn’t sleep. My midwife suggested I buy some wine. So, my pregnant self drank a giant glass of wine several times a day so that maybe I might sleep and just to keep from losing my mind. I wanted to talk to my mom so much but I was terrified to hear her voice… scared that that the sound of her voice or the look in her eyes would somehow communicate to me the gravity of the situation and then, what if I cried? And my dad yelled at me. And I wanted to die? Thus perpetrating the crazy, fucked up cycle from my entire life. Not then. I couldn’t handle it. Not right then.

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