Since August 22, 2011, at 9:30PM, I am disguised…Mum died.
I appear strong to my family, I thanked people who gave me their sincere condolences. “Not now, maybe later” is what I’ve said, to the many well-meaning offers of support. I have nodded my head appropriately in conversations, completed household routines, consoled my children and clung to my husband.
I am a dependable, responsible and strong daughter, a calm sister and a quiet mother. I keep my disguise intact.
Disguised this week, making the phone calls, finalizing information and writing Mommy’s obituary, (because my siblings think, I write better than them). Trying to capture a woman, “the Mommy”, who I was connected to from conception to the end of her life; the container of my childhood, my maiden years, parts of my mid-life, the starter of my creativity, the strength of my stubborn will, the fierceness of my independence, the sweetness of my caring and the sour of my temper.
But in the dark soul of every night since August 22, the disguise comes off… like some insidious poison, grief drips into my heart, gently at first, waking me from my tenuous sleep, as if someone is calling me sweetly from sleep. This grief pummels me awake, until I’m finally sitting with my knees to my face. A sharp sliver of anguish piercing my chest. I cry hard and long, with bouts of inconsolable anger, ill-formed regrets and wracked with confusion, I pick up the phone, and call my mother’s home. After several rings, her message comes on, “This is Gloria, I’m not home right now, would you please leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you. Thank you and have a good day.” I leave a message, “Mommy, I need you, call me back, I miss you.” I realize, just how corrosive grief is, at night. Like some dark, insidious poison, it drips into my heart so gently, it goes unnoticed during the day. In the morning, the disguise comes back.
I will work every day, because routines and rituals help keep me sane and thriving. I put pencil to paper, paint to canvas, my hands are in the habit and my mind pushes for it. My heart is broken.
I am more determined now, than ever to continue a artful legacy, my Mum gave it to me…a love of creating. It is the one thing, in this ending that I can begin anew…my art. It is the thing that goes on with or without a disguise. Thank you, Mommy.
It is morning, I wish peace to you and yours.
P.S. My mother loved flowers, birds, all things of nature. I generally do not create flowers, every time I have, it’s been with her in mind.
“Night Flower” 9.5″ x 8″ Pastel/Paper