I’ve been absent recently. Haven’t we all? Absence is requisite these days. It’s essential to life.
But, absence of self is not the intention. The purposeful and social absence we are experiencing has shown us the importance of distancing from the pressures we have created for ourselves. For the first time since my mother inhabited this neighborhood where I now live, have I known that my neighbors have children, cars, animals…it’s eerily reminiscent of decades prior. Times when we played outside until the sun went down, and hung out in the driveway with family.
This is clearly a self intentioned moment in time. A time to reflect and be peaceful and to relinquish the “must dos” and the “I really shoulds”, and instead to allow oneself permission to simply be.
Absence. Yes, I am absent today. I am not ill. I am not skipping out. I am just absent.
I don’t think I will ever forget…so many, many things. Such every day things that express the most significant moments for me. Cake. Cake makes me cry. She loved cake. And she loved cake every day. Grocery shopping is a very emotional experience these days. There is so much cake in the store. Sandwiches. Sandwiches too. I long to make sandwiches. No crusts of course, and never with mustard, and always with tomatoes, but sandwiches every day. There is no more cake and no more sandwiches every day, and that leaves me with a great sense of emptiness.
I don’t ever want to forget all the little things. The unique expressions she had to describe things, hearing the same story time and again, and learning to appreciate it as if it was the first time that I heard it. If it wasn’t important to her then it probably wouldn’t have come up as often as it did…whatever it was that was worth repeating needed to be repeated. again… and again…probably so that I would always remember. I know that now.
It is hard being left behind when I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, and even in the knowledge that it was near…I am not sure that I would ever be ready even if given the choice of when that was…I don’t want to forget to remember all the things about her. I also hope that someday I won’t cry as often, but that I will begin to feel more joy in the remembrances rather than sadness in the fresh and tender loss. I do understand that we all have a journey of our own and that when that journey is complete, it just is.
It’s unfathomable for some to know, to relate, to discern the pain of others.
Pain is manifested in many different ways for each individual, and, the breaking point is not always evident until it is. Those of us who appear to be the most confident, the strongest, the most together, if you will, are most often the first to be called out, and ostracized when that break happens.
Our fragility is hidden. Our weaknesses carefully guarded and hiding down deep in our painful refuge of sadness. Guilty for feeling helpless, and fearing that revelation of these darknesses will result in an avalanche of desertion by everyone around us. It’s as if our imperfect actions, and behaviors are open to severe criticism as if somehow we capably strong people can take it. Because we are grossly aware of our flaws and self magnify those imperfections, to have them put on stage is like death. So,
You don’t know where that tipping point begins and where it ends…you don’t know.
What’s best, you ask? How the hell do I know? Does anyone know?
Probably not, but somehow we keep making choices based on “what’s best…” for ourselves, our children, our parents, our friends…everyone.
Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. It REALLY is true. And to be too sensitive to what everyone else thinks that you “should” have done for yourself or them just keeps you in a state of doubt, discomfort, angst, and question interminably.
That is no way to live…and I want to be clear though. Merriam Webster’s no. 2 definition of BEST is this:
: most productive of good : offering or producing the greatest advantage, utility, or satisfaction. What is the best thing to do?
When we give our “best” advice or opinion, especially to and for those we love, it is usually because we love them.
’tis true. we can dispute it, I know you do! but especially as women, we ARE our mothers. In ways that are unrecognized by ourselves and yet are prominent in our thoughts, mannerisms and behaviours. (and everyone else sees it!) We fight it. We deny it. We rebel against it. Why? We love our mothers and yet we strive to be the antithesis. A strange way to honor the most influential and important person in our lives.