Life as an Extreme Sport

bleeding the memory

I had several more notebook entries from early November that I had not typed up – they got lost in the shuffle of the funeral and relatives and shock. They’ve been hanging over me like a shadow since I returned to Albany, the quiet presence just there, waiting. Leading me to wonder how long it would be, would I even be able to look at what I wrote, would I just ignore it?

Ignoring it won’t make it go away, and I have a narrative to finish – at least, to finish this portion of it.


Cue Scene, Stepping Sideways
posted November 5th, 2007 – around 4:30am
I’ve stepped sideways, an aware out of body experience. I’m still aware, still feeling the tears trickle down my face silently, but I see the scene as though it were a movie. I think the disconnect came from the music – we’ve been playing James Gallway since the hospice nurse left.

I got up off the couch a few minutes go, my attempt at a nap dissolving into hopeless failure. I grab my soda, book, and blanket. Cue scene: click to continue reading

photograph, all I’ve got is a photograph, and it’s not enough

posted November 5th, 2007 – around 4:45am
I wish I could take a picture of what I see before me. It’s an oddly beautiful image, and one I would love to keep external to my mind, but I’m pretty sure my sister would kill me if I even tried. She is sitting in front of the end table holding medicine and supplies, reading a pamphlet the chaplain left for us. The lamp on the table is on, catching on the edges of her glasses and eyes as she looks from pamphlet to Mom and back to continue reading

6:15 AM
posted November 5th, 2007 – around 11am
The rapid flight of feet on stairs
should have pulled me out of sleep
But I’m already awake,
Woken by a touch across my forehead,
     fingers tracing through my hair
     mimicing my movements yesterday
The pressing against my forehead of lips

I wake to brush my sister away
To hear the rapid flight of her feet up the stairs
And my heart broken open,
     aching with the words I know she’s going to say
“She’s gone.”

6:45 AM
posted November 5th, 2007 – around 11:30am
There is a difference in the room,
A silence.
A body.
The body of my mother.

Her hands are still warm.
Rigor mortis has not yet stiffened them,
     they bend into my hands.
Her cheeks still slightly flushed
But there is no mistaking – she is gone.

Finally, I can do what I have wanted to do for a week.
I climb into bed with my mother,
     laying my head against her shoulder,
     gripping her hand tightly in my own.
It would be so easy to think she was still alive,
     still there,
     about to shift to put her arms around me.

But her chest no longer rises in time with my own,
And her heart no longer flutters like a tiny bird
     in a cage made of bone.

I surprise myself by not crying.
I just lay there quietly,
with Mom
It’s only when I try to speak that the tears come.
I lean up to press my cheek against hers
and whisper

Goodbye, Mommy.

9:00 AM
posted November 5th, 2007 – around 11:45am
We have showered, a matter of needing to be clean for Tracy, a small part of ritual for me.
I’ve picked out long sleeves, white satin, embroidered and white for her top.
Silken light blue pants.

A surprise greets us down in the sickroom.
Mom’s face has changed – her mouth is no longer hanging open, refusing to close. Instead, she has a smile, a beautiful smile, and an amazing, serene expression.
The final proof we needed – she has gone some place else. Better.

Tracy and I talk softly to her, telling her what we’re doing.

She’s cold.
She is so cold.
click here to continue reading

posted November 5th, 2007 – around 11:50am

I have her earrings on now – three pearls embracing a diamond.

I have on her jade and gold Kuan Yin.


10:22 AM
posted November 5th, 2007 – around 12:00pm
The morgue has come, my mother’s body gone.

One comment

  1. Ah Kel, thank so much for sharing this. I can only imagine how painful it was to go through this and relive it as you typed up the memories. You’re in my thoughts, still. Love ya babe.

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