It’s been a month since I got the fateful phone call, the alert in the dead of night. One month since I purchased my plane ticket in the mad scramble to get home, to be by my mother’s side. One month since I landed in Dallas, Texas and found out that I was too late, that she had passed not thirty minutes before.
And now, one month later, the anguish is still raw, fresh. When I told my dual citizen children of a possible visit from their Paw-paw, my five-year-old son asks: “How about Nana?” Clinging to what scraps of willpower I could, I answered without losing it. But now that he is at school, and the house is quiet and empty, and the ringing in my ears is the only sound that keeps me company, my resolve crumbles. I watch my mother’s slideshow, the one we played at the funeral with the song Harvest Moon weaving a melodic serenade in the background, and I wept.
Other than her viewing, other than the final pass in front of the casket at the funeral, I have fought to remain strong; strong for my family, for friends, for my dad. You hear so many stories of loved ones passing, only to be followed by their spouse/parent a week later, dying of a broken heart. I hoped my presence would stave off such anguish.
One month later and I am still at a loss, but I guess how I will find myself again, meandering until the fog clears, the suffering recedes, and the path manifests. I wanted to honor my mother at the funeral with eloquent words, something worthy of her grace and decorum, but nothing came. Instead, I found myself writing my goodbye as an excuse to why I couldn’t contribute a veneration worthy of her. So, I will leave this blog short, like my words were, and give to you what I left her …
“I want to honor you, dearest Mother, with my passion of writing, but I have yet to write words worthy enough. I try now and fail. My spirit sifts through a myriad of emotions: grief, despair, anger, remorse … regret. A vital part of my life, my soul, has been ripped away. The world is dimmer without you, and only empty promises and half-hearted wishes remain. There is no comfort, no solace, no peace. The swells of sorrow and sentiments take my breath away, and I grieve.
Despite the onslaught of melancholy, my memories of you remain. And it is in that, that I find hope—to remember the good times. It is here that I can honor you. I remember you, and it is my duty to make sure my children do, too, to pass on all that you’ve contributed, all that you’ve imparted. You showed me the gift of seeing the world through the eyes of an artist, as a painter and musician. This is your gift to me, and I will find comfort in the days ahead. I know you’ve found serenity. Mother, I may not have crafted my own words yet, but I found something fitting, a noble tribute:
“I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence …. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.” ––Charles Dickens, The Tale of Two Cities.
Be at rest, Mother. You were my first love, and I will always love you.”