Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tigers and Other Animals

I had the chance yesterday to catch up with a great, long-time friend.  Jill was there for me when we were kids and my father died.   

Earlier this year Jill's mother, Ellen, died. To no one's surprise, given the closeness of their relationship, her death has affected her daughter, who loved her mother deeply and misses her tremendously.  Jill's is an emotion with which I am in touch.  We talked about the fact that although we both miss our mothers, we were grateful for the relationship each of us had with our mom. It is a thing in which one finds comfort I reckon. 

I knew, the night before my father died that he was going to die, which is why I made sure to say good night to him and to tell him I loved him. We spent the last year of his life circling each other like two dogs in a cage.  We did not like each other very much. Yet, I listened to my gut that last night he was alive and made certain that I said a proper goodbye.  

Two Saturdays ago although she was in an impossible spot Kara made sure that she held her cell phone up to Mom's ear so that those of us who were not there with them could say our goodbyes to Mom. I blubbered my way through our all-too-brief conversation and after we said goodbye I stood on the front porch of my little house in Lake Como and cried myself almost into a convulsion. I cried so long and so violently that I felt physical pain-not simply emotional pain.  My heart was broken. Most of my bones felt as if they were also. 

A few short hours later, Mom was dead. As heartbroken as I was to hear that news, I took then and shall carry with me forever the comfort I felt at having availed myself of the chance to say goodbye and to tell her I loved her for the final time.  Had I pissed it away, for whatever reason, I would see nothing but the reflection of an asshole's face staring back at me every morning in my bathroom mirror.  

Thanks, Mom, for sparing me that embarrassment.  For looking out for me one last time...

...as you had every time before.

-AK

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