Yesterday, I watched the documentary "Life Itself," a film chronicles the life and last days of famed film critic, Roger Ebert. I knew it was going to be sad, and I'm not normally one to cry...like it takes a lot to get me to that relm of emotional expression but when they spoke of Gene Siskel's death my heart got really heavy. I think it was what Roger said about how if he were to discover he had a serious illness, he wouldn't hesitate to tell those whom he loves and who love him about it. I thought that was profound. I felt compelled to share part of this poem I wrote about missing my mother, who also died of a fatal and debilitating disease.
I miss you but then I don't. Mostly I do but it chokes out my voice. It clenches my stomach with longing for you. I swallow hard the nine-year-old scream I hold at the thought of you lying forever in a casket. I subdue my fingers from balling into fists to fight in your stead; you the mother who should have protected me from your molesting man. I shut my eyes tight at the tears that threaten to spill when I remember that we will never share anymore inside jokes or laughs over phone lines. Sometimes, on rainy cold afternoons,I sit by window blocking out the warm memory of those slouchy black boots you loved to wear...
You see my mother died of Multiple Sclerosis. She died just a few days shy of Valentines Day, 2010. She told virtually no one, until the disease had progressed so much that she was experiencing memory loss, dementia, and a whole host of physical set-backs. If given a few years warning, because she knew for at least 10 years, I think we could have surely prepared better. People who knew her, that I didn't know knew her, could have said goodbye. I understand sparing your loved ones the sorry of watching you slip away, but remaining secretive is not the way to go. It's selfish. Yes, it's self-serving. You don't have the right to inflict your sudden departure (when you know it's immenent) on anyone...unless you're some supervillan...or my Uncle Rodney (same difference).
Adieu, Grace K.