Goodbye Momma

I thought of momma today. And many others I have seen and met over the years. Some very good, some very bad. Some mothers are very kind and loving, some full of hate and pain, some are there as a chair is "there", some not there at all. I know of someone whose mother put on a nice clean dress, went onto the front porch, lay down and blew her brains out. I was very fortunate. Mine was the very kind and loving sort. Momma didn't live in this millennium. She expired in 1999. If there is anything left of her at all is is a few bones in a cemetery somewhere. I'm not certain exactly where because I was not there. I said my goodbye to momma in the funeral home, tried to burn her features into my mind, touched her head with the wispy white hair and felt only death. Stiffness. Immobility. Permanence. I cried out a large percentage of my body's water content, and grieved more than I thought it was possible to grieve.

I could not go to her funeral. I could not risk losing control of myself and possibly doing bad things. Because I've known many, many Southern country funerals. I know the lies they tell; "she's gone home", "she's in a better place", "we'll see her again"... ad nauseum. Lies, delusions, illusions, denial... from a people too fragile apparently to grasp or know reality. I did not want to risk my life and theirs. My strong instinct is to lash out against lies and deception. Preachers preach lies like "she's in a better place", as though she has taken a bus to Atlanta, and "we'll see her again" as though we only have to wait a while to buy our own ticket. Momma is not in a better place, she has not "gone on". She is just one of the estimated 100 billion or so humans who once existed and are no more. Opinion, belief, desire, hope and faith are, at best, utterly irrelevant to that fact. It is as much fact as it is fact that you are reading these words.

I thought of momma today. I felt the loss, the lump in my throat, the sting in my eyes. Momma does not live or exist in my memories. My memories exist. Momma does not exist and will never exist in a billion trillion years. I listened to several of the old Gospel songs, funeral songs, like Where the Soul of Man Never Dies, Wayfaring Stranger, I'll Fly Away, Will the Circle be Unbroken, Precious Memories.... my tears flowed anew. I wept for my loss, wept for the loss of so very many others. I wept for momma (and paw) who was and is not, for my children who never were, and for my own end. I wept for the ignorance and weakness of my species.

I thought of momma today.

Note to self: put toilet paper on shopping list.


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Comment by El Solo Lobo on May 13, 2009 at 9:17am
Thanks, Amer. My condolences on the death of your mom.
Comment by El Solo Lobo on May 12, 2009 at 11:58pm
We cannot stop all grief and loss, but to allow people to drop like flies by the thousands every day that comes when we could stop it is unconscionable, in my opinion. "People are always going to die." Why? We CAN stop that. I think it says a lot about humans that there has not been an end to human death EVEN IN FICTION, as far as I know. You have to be a vampire, or some other species, even on Star Trek. I certainly would never support forcing anyone to stay alive against their will. But I see no reason to die if you don't want to either. The know-how and tech exist right now to stop it.
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on May 11, 2009 at 7:06am
How do you put a stop to grief and loss, Temy? People are always going to die. I wonder whether knowing that we only have our loved ones for a limited time makes us appreciate them more. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you think you will live eternally and join your relatives after you die, there's not the same urgency in making every moment count. There's not the same level of recognition that whatever's going to happen in this relationship has to happen NOW: that saying "I'm sorry", or "I love you" or "Thank you" won't wait. Perhaps it is the prospect of loss that compels us to love as if there were going to be no tomorrow.
Comment by El Solo Lobo on May 11, 2009 at 6:52am
Thanks, Kristy. I do have many good memories of my mom laughing and me laughing with her. I just wonder how long humans will simply accept that horrible grief and emptiness of loss before they eventually put a stop to it?
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on May 11, 2009 at 6:22am
Big hugs Temy. My dad died more than 20 years ago, he was 'larger than life' and I miss him. I also know I'll be bereft when my Mum, nearly 85, goes. But we still talk and laugh about my Dad every day and I know I'll do the same with Mum. In fact, I've threatened to buy a dog and called it Daph so I can just go on chatting to her as I always do. ;-)

So much of who I am is tied up with my parents' values and personalities and the experiences they gave me, so I really do carry them around with me - not only genetically, but psychologically.

Mum and I talk about her dying and I know that when the time comes, the frankness of those conversations will make it a little easier. My brother is also terminally ill. The doctors have given him 12 months - though he keeps defying them. Again, we feel fortunate that we've been given a chance to prepare, and leave nothing unsaid.

When I think of my Dad it is never with sadness. It is always with laughter. I hope it will be the same with my Mum and my brother and I hope when I die my memory will bring only laughter too. I can't think of any greater legacy to leave than that people smile and laugh when they remember you.

I know you're crying for your Mom now and I know I'll cry floods when Daph dies too. But do try to find and cherish and nourish those memories that make you smile and talk about the funny things she did and said often. The sadness of our death is not how people should remember us - they should remember us for our lives and the effect of our lives on others. Your memories should be joyous to have had such a wonderful person in your life. A good parent, I have come to realise, is a rare and precious thing.
Comment by El Solo Lobo on May 10, 2009 at 11:58pm
Thanks, unholyroller.
Comment by unholyroller on May 10, 2009 at 11:22pm
Both of my parents are gone now, so I have some idea of how you feel when you remember your Mom. We do haved some measure of immortality in the DNA of countless ancestors lives on in us, ours in our children and grandchildren and so on down. I find this idea much more comforting than the usual judeo/christian myth of ressurection or the equally silly idea of reincarnation. Hopefully, we will have lived a good enough life to be remembered with kindness. This is what I'm aiming for anyway. We never get too old to cry for our Mom and that's nothing to be ashamed of.
Comment by El Solo Lobo on May 10, 2009 at 10:31pm
Thanks, Clarence.
Comment by Clarence Dember on May 10, 2009 at 10:21pm
My parents are getting old- 80+ .
When they're gone, I know I will remember them, at their most vigorous and I will always be influenced by their example, although that is not who I am.



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