Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Void (No One's Child)

 It is difficult to write about my Mom now. I am uncomfortable with the words of endless lament. Watching the deterioration and being so powerless is very painful. I never feel like I have done enough,  but I have come to understand the reality of my position. I am mere witness.

I talk often now of lowering the bar of expectations. That it is enough for me that my mom is less restless. I don't have the right to be frustrated that her sleep patterns are so erratic that it makes it difficult for me to plan visits. I must not find it so jarring when yet another layer of her being seems to slip away. I have to quiet my demands for her to fit into my vision of the world.

It is easy to wish that her long odyssey end, that all those who live their final days grasping and holding on, should be spared the torture and the torment. And in so many ways I do believe that when the living is done and all that remains is being alive, there is a cruelty and harshness that none should have to bear. Peace is something that my mom deserves.

Yesterday, I attended a funeral. Later that evening, as we convened to pay our respects, I was surrounded by similar stories of children who watched failing parents. I was most struck by one woman who recently lost her mom and now found herself 'an orphan'. And it crystallized for me why, even in the midst of my own sadness, I am reluctant to let my mom go.

I can't imagine the void I will feel when she is not part of my present. For so many years I have only been able to deal with the concept of my father. To speak of a parent only as a memory, to write only in terms of what was, not to have the access to touch, to comfort, to share, is still painful for me over 3 decades later.

As we paid our respects last night, there were words of solace for the family. The relentless suffering of their mom was no more. And I know that in a very real sense there was profound relief.

Yet, there were moments of contemplation for 2 children who now found themselves no one's child. An immutable truth throughout their existence was no more. I could sense the depth of emotion as they struggled to find answers to what this meant. And I know one day people will be looking at my sister and me as we grapple with this same reality.  And I realize how much I dread that.


Anonymous said...

Marc said: So well said, as usual. You manage to find the words to capture what so many others must feel, but can't come close to articulating with such clarity.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post today
Yes it's really hard being an orphan


Anonymous said...

I think for me watching some one suffer so.. who has lived such a long, wonderful and fulfilling life.. is worse then losing them and being an orphan...