I live at the end of a cul-de-sac and when I leave my house the road goes by my father's home and I check to see if he's there, what lights are on, whose cars are there to visit. This habit has become as reflexive as breathing and this week he is away traveling and I realize how focused I have become on his everyday patterns. I have taken that bulk of time I devoted to my mother's care and channeled it onto the old man. I am subtle and so far he has not noticed. I am not proud of this but I needed to deal with the manic energy and cavernous void my mother's death left.
Last weekend was Mothers' Day and the hours were long and desperate and I was unprepared for the depth of that sorrow. I quickly averted my eyes from the Mothers' Day displays throughout my shopping trips and heavens, there were lots of them. I have worked in nursing homes for twenty years and Mothers' Day is an extravaganza comparable to Mardi Gras, and Fathers' Day passes by with barely a whisper, mothers are power.
I awoke on the holiday not feeling rested and bumbled through a few social obligations. I was not material for gay festivities. It felt like there was something physical and foreboding next to me, attached to me like a huge grey slab and at first I thought and hoped it was her presence but then realized it was just a representation of her, something like her and then not like her and this is grief. My mother is dead to me and I do not believe I will see her again on some gauzy cloud and this is all right. I had her for 83 years and that is a gift and I walked and talked with her through my baby days and tumultuous teen-aged days and stormy young adult days and more and that will just have to be enough. My son-in- law volunteered to cook me breakfast on Mothers' Day, so I did not need to face the crowds of mother and daughters at the local cafes. I brought fruit as I knew our meal would be protein and meat-based, and I love him for doing this.