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A Chance at Goodbye


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I didn't want this to get lost in the banter of the Springer Board ... I wanted it to stand on its own, a message to those thinking of suicide of what it can be like on the other side of the coin, for the ones left behind.  I have attempted suicide twice, one time landed me in the psych ward.  That was before this experience of losing my mom to suicide.  I don't think I could now ever choose that path again.

Last year was the 10th anniversary of losing my mom, and it was an extremely difficult year.  But, I think I have finally healed a lot of the pain that was still with me, 10 years later. But, I will always miss her.  I will always wish ... that she was still with us.

;)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ :)

The police were already there when I arrived.  Every single member of my tiny little family was milling about in the long gravel driveway, a surreal picture of shocked disarray.  Dad was speaking with someone, I can't recall who, it may have been a police officer, or even my ex-husband; I simply cannot cut through the haze of protective memory to make out the subtle details of the day.  I was preoccupied with the overwhelming task of trying to make some sense out of the situation.  It simply didn't jive.  It was all too bizarre, and the waking nightmare I had suddenly been plunged into was one from which despite my efforts I could not seem to awaken.

I heard voices around me, and felt the now annoying consolatory hugs from people who were family yet seemed to me at this moment to be strangers.  They were like a swarm of gnats, constantly inflicting their physical presence upon me, the distant buzzing of their words an annoyance to be swatted away.  Yet still they persisted.  Tears seemed to be flowing all around me, yet I was set apart from the emotions that inspired such reactions.  Yes, there was pain, but the swell of fury and outrage swept over me and pushed that pain down into the deepest reaches of my soul.  There was one thought which prevailed in my mind; I simply had to see her.  I made my request, once, quietly, beneath the raging emotions that fired through my body and inspired wishes within me to tear down mountains and forests and shred anyone in my path.  My request was of course denied.  These others sought to protect me, shelter me from the horror my father had already borne witness to.  They did not, would not, could not, under any circumstance understand my need.  I had to see her.  To pursue such a request I knew immediately would be futile.  I would be thought morbid, or deranged.  I was paralyzed by this knowledge, and did not seek to push the issue.  Yet inwardly, I could not hear, could not see, could not think.  For me, nothing existed outside the endless looping of my inner hunger to see, to know, to break out of this twisted nightmare and hold in my hand some tangible evidence of the reality of this horror.  Without this, I knew I would be doomed to float in this surreal state forever.

July, a month of celebrations of all sorts, Independence Day, my own wedding, countless births, and unions, and religious celebrations of all sizes and shapes.  This day, it would all change; July would forever after be branded as the month my mother killed herself.

As I stood pacing in the driveway, gravel crunching and crushing beneath my heels, consoling myself with an endless chain of nicotine, strangers worked over the long dead body of my mother.  Why then could I not say my last goodbye?

This woman, so long a distant stranger to me emotionally, had always remained a solid physical presence in my life: the cool touch of her palm on my childish fevered forehead, the long afternoons spent combing out the tangles in my long brown hair, those few nights she curled my brother and I up into her fold and read to us from a now well worn copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales.  Yes, there too was the scolding, and the arguments, but through all of this she was there, real, touchable.  Now I was being told that somehow this had all just ceased to be.  There was not a cell in my brain that could comprehend this.  My mother, my MOTHER for god's sake, could not be GONE.

No, I don't believe these strangers who tell me that they are my family, who have carefully crafted disguises to look like those people I once knew as father, brother, cousin, spouse.  No! My mind reels, and screams, and shouts, and pictures dance in my head of my body taking charge and pushing me through this alien throng, breaking through the arms that would hold me back and running to my mother before these conspirators could hide her from me forever.  Let me see! Let me know! Let me prove to all of you that this is the biggest of lies ever set forth!

They tell me she has been dead for two days now.  My mind checks off the information as received, I nod, and stare back expressionless in return.  I believe this is what is called being in shock.  I was paralyzed, numbed, deadened, void of any indication of emotion.  My ex-husband would question me of my lack of emotion in the face of such a tragedy.  He would chide me and condemn me, and call me cold and inhuman.  I would nod, and stare back expressionless in return.  No one knows, no one understands.  The pain is unbearable, and in protective reaction my subconscious drags it like the prey of a wild thing, freshly killed, stored, buried, deep within the den until the coming of winter.  Hot raw emotion, buried to keep my mind from shattering.  I cannot accept it; I will not, it is a lie.  Denial can be such a comfort.

Sitting in the funeral home I watch the people parade in front of the coffin.  My eyes scan the luster of the coffin's lid.  They tell me she is inside.  No, another lie.  They tell me, after the hottest weekend of the summer of 1995 that there was nothing that the mortician could do.  Close the coffin; close your mind; close your eyes.  When your eyes are closed, the tears don't come.

More arms offer consolation, and words of condolence stream forth in an endless din, pressing in on me, urging me to scream.  Yet, I remain silent, and the eyes probe at me deeply, seeking out my soul beneath the cold, lifeless exterior I share with these impostors.  My eyes are like daggers underneath.  But, they only see that I nod, and stare back expressionless in return.

They are worried about me, this lifeless form who goes through the motions of life in the wake of tragedy without tears.  They don't know what lies beneath, that I know it has all been no more than some twisted conspiracy to keep me from her -- the woman I loved and chased after for 30 some odd years of life.  No, I will not believe the race has been run, and I am the loser, that I will never see her again, never have that chance to say good-bye, before hello had even been formally arranged.  I will not give up.

As for the strangers, one by one they have left, and my family has returned.  We talk in hushed whispers of my mother, and the pain, and oh how we miss her.  Maybe, just maybe, the strangers were right.  Maybe, just maybe, the healing has begun.  But, oh how I long to have one last chance at goodbye. 

c. 1995 e.m.e.

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I didn't want this to get lost in the banter of the Springer Board ... I wanted it to stand on its own, a message to those thinking of suicide of what it can be like on the other side of the coin, for the ones left behind.
Thank you, Pinky. As a mother who has been on the brink of leaving motherless children. I'm sure your eloquent story was very painful to write, thank you.


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