In the still of the night

Apr 06, 2012

Today was the first full day after my mother's death that I did not have somewhere I HAD to be: someone to pay, arrangements to make, someone to call or console. It was actually very nice to have some autonomy.

I suppose this is the first day of the rest of my life without my mother.

It's strange. I feel...unanchored. I have 2nd and 3rd cousins and whatnot in the area but my brother lives in Indiana and my mom was an only child so there are no aunts, uncles or first cousins. I sort of feel alone. I know I am not. I've built up quite the extended family. But there is something about that blood connection.

You know she and I had the same blood type, which happens to be THE rarest blood type of all of them: AB negative. That fact always sort of made me feel connected to her. We both went through having that God-awful shot during our pregnancies to keep our bodies from building up anti-bodies to the RH factors our babies may or may not have carried (as it turns out I had negative blood my brother is positive. Both my children are positive so that shot actually made it possible for #2 to be born. Left untreated, antibodies to RH factor will attack an RH positive fetus in utero). She often joked that she was glad we had the same blood type because who else was there to give US blood?

Isn't it strange the thoughts you think about a person when they are gone?

I named this post in the still of the night because that's been the hardest time for me. Last night I had a dream that I saw her. She was in her wedding dress and a beautiful head wrap. Her "butt-length" dread locks (she'd admonish me for using the word "dread") were flowing beautifully down her back. her face was full and she was standing upright with her Afro-centric jewelry on. I ran to her and embraced her tightly. She took my head in her hands and caressed my cheek. She took both my hands in hers and squeezed them, but then let them go. She took a step backward and she was as she was in her early 40's, before the locks, with shoulder-length brown permed hair. Another step back and she was as she was in her 30's. And another step back and she was in her 20's wit her big Afro and tiny body. One more step back and she was the little girl I'd seen a million times in my grandfather's photo album and she was flanked on either side by my grandfather, as his younger self and my grandmother, as her younger self. They each took one hand and led her away. As she left she looked back at me over her shoulder and smiled.

It was a nice dream. I woke up crying happy tears. But then as fast as the happiness came, there came the vacant space. The selfish part of me that just wants my mommy back. I just want her to nag me to chop veggies for dinner or to vacuum the carpet correctly like when I was little. I long for her to call and bug me about something one more time or tell a story she's told me two million times. If only she could "hold me hostage" on the phone one last time.

These are the thoughts I have at night. When it is quiet, after the children have gone to sleep.

I don't think she wanted to die. I think she wanted to live but did not want to live the way she was living: in pain, in turmoil, disconnected from the people, places and things she loved. I can feel the feelings that are down below the surface bubbling. I found a grief support group and I intend to go because I know what these feelings can do. And for the life of me I will NOT regress over this. She was so proud of what I'd accomplished. And I am too. I feel like it would be the utmost dishonor to go back to who I was before, what I was before. So I need to figure out how to deal with this place in my life that used to belong to her. I need to figure out how to get through the night and back into the light of day.

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Baltimore, MD
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Jan 21, 2008
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