You’ve read the prequel
If not skip down, come back
First, is first, last is last
There is an order to this, my mom would insist
My prior stanzas, seemed dark and grim
My anger at time, robbing me, taking her
But ultimately resigned, knowing she’d
Be angry If I dwelled and drowned in sorrow
I know she’d be proud of the things I’ve done since
Traveling to Australia twice, she knew my fear of heights
And turbulence. I know she’d be proud
I tore down my old house, and had it replaced
But I also know, even with that, other things
Would not have changed. “This goes here, that goes there”
Why are there things on the floor, why is there pollen
All over your screen door? And those blinds are broken
Replace them. Put that dvd back in it’s case
Put it back in the book case, that’s where it goes
And shave damn it, you know I hate 5 O’clock shadow
Shave, shave, shave, now, now, now
Why does that lamp have no lamp shade?
You klutz, you broke it didn’t you?
Go buy a new one, it is bugging me
Fix it, fix it, I demand of thee.”
“Um, mom? It is my house, you are just visiting. “
“I don’t care, just do as I say, I am your mother”
Don’t argue with the dead, they may be gone
But just don’t argue, don’t even bother
Yea I hear you, as silent as you are
I still wish you were bugging me
Pestering me, lecturing me, nagging me
I know it means you care.
And those collections of rubber duckies
In my kitchen watch over me
Smiling at me, and I see you
I see us at the dollar store
Hunting them down
I buy them for you
You can be young at heart
When you want to be mom
You ask me to climb
The cell tower to change the light
You know damn well
Heights give me fright
And why did I open my trap
In the examination room
I told you of the medical poster
And sealed my doom
That finger put where
The sun don’t shine
I had to mention that
To you, at the time
And after that
In the van’s rear view
You wiggled your finger
Made that joke linger
Time, that cold selfish taker
Greedy and full of gluttony
Eventually will take, even me
But it will always be itself, lonely
You can take her, time
There’s nothing I can do, true
But as long as I am alive
On her death you’ll never dine.
Watching my mom take her last breath was horrifying. I was in a deep depression for almost 3 months after. Fortunately my friend John snapped me out of it, and like any good friend told me my mom would not have wanted me to wallow in a depression forever.
My mom was a stern authoritarian when I was a kid. We were nothing alike, and we butted heads as I grew up. As age is unavoidable, eventually I moved down to live with her to take care of her. The fussing over our differences didn’t change at first. She was always fiercely independent and hated asking for help. And there is lots of truth to the parent becoming the child and the child becoming the parent.
But there was one huge change in her, that I deeply appreciated and wish I could have had that mom as a kid. All of those superficial things she used to go ballistic over growing up, slowly evaporated between us. We still fussed over it, but it was no longer life or death or a power struggle.
And she grew to have a sense of humor with me. She was an old school parent I’d say. You tell your kids what to do, you teach them to be serious because life is serious. That melted as she got older, and I began to see a silly woman able to laugh at herself too. But oh boy was she an opportunist too, just like all of my friends.
She loved to tease me about my fear of heights and every time we’d pass a cell tower she’d ask me to go up to the top and change the lights. An once, we were at the urologist, and there was a graphic medical poster depicting a prostate exam. Yea, that is just what a son needs to be looking at while sitting next to their mother. So I did the wise thing and told her. Note to self “DUMBASS!”
But I don’t know how it started, but one day we were at the dollar store, and one of us picked up a rubber duckie because it looked silly, so I bought it for her. The it became a competition for any dollar store we went into after that. We’d buy a new one that was different than the one’s prior, and our respective collections grew over time.
But that neat freak in her never left. The few times she did visit me in my house, she always told me what to do and where to put things. I smile at all of that now, and those last days were certainly dark, and for a time just after very dark. But my mom would have been pissed at me if I had stayed in that stupor and self blame.