by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Taking a Breath

I just found out that my mother is likely to pass away...soon. I got a call from my brother last week telling me there was a problem and it was probably bad.

But bad is one thing. Having him call again to say the doctors give her weeks...maybe a month...two...that's a whole other thing.

My mother and I aren't close. It wasn't possible; our relationship got crushed long, long ago and though there's some part of any abused child grown up which would like to ask 'why did you do that to me?', in the end such questions have no satisfactory answers. What we really want to hear is that it never happened. That magically it's going to go away. And that just doesn't happen. 

I've come to recognize my mother had her own problems. There are people who know what they're doing and who harm you on purpose. I've met a couple of those, but don't think that was her. I think my mother has lived her own kind of nightmare. Exotic, cravenly erotic, overly entitled and free of responsibility as most people know it...

Still, I don't think it was a picnic. 

Long ago my brother called me to say her hearing was becoming a problem. I asked him how that differed from her never having wanted to listen.

When she developed Alzheimer's, some part of me thought this an interesting fate for a woman who never wanted to know. If it wasn't what she wanted or liked, she didn't want to know about it.

But now that her mortality is so near, I sense only a rather lost soul. With darkness closing in like some encroaching halo of deepening, thickening mist which will soon mire and dissolve her life here among the living, I wish her only peace.

And perhaps it's selfish, but I can't help hoping that with her passing, some part of the daily fear and foreboding which has been with me all my life...I hope that leaves too.

I'm trying to take a deep breath. Those who read this, who know me...I trust you to be wherever you are, having a moment of love for your friend. 

To those who don't know me, I am at least your fellow human. We all go through these eventualities, and if my tears touch those unshed in you, I trust you will stop and think of those who dearly love you. Feel them...they're there. 

Be not afraid. I do enough of that for both of us.  

There's more to say...if not in this moment. Right now I'm trying to take that breath...the one she soon won't.


  1. Listening. Having a moment...

  2. Hi Boots. It's Anonymous again—call me C if you like.
    Maybe my story will give you a smidgen of hope.
    When my father died, he changed from a man with all the answers (and smug about it) to a man with no answers and really angry! His death was ten months of hell on earth for all his kids. My whole family, dysfunctional as it may be, learned from that experience. About a year after my father died, the unspoken deal my parents had made with one another unraveled, and my mother became much more like a human to everyone. She died about ten years later with patience and compassion for all her children. I had never been particularly fond of her in life, but her death is something I still brag about. My mom died like an angel. I love that. I've never loved her so much!
    But the biggest thing is that when my parents departed this earth, they left a large psychic space in me, for me to occupy with my own life. Freedom, blessed freedom! It takes a while but it's there for you too! I am still neurotic, make no mistake, but now my life is, I am glad to say, my own. I wish some happy version of all of this for you.
    As a fellow human, I can only say better days are ahead, and lots of learning—not all painful, either. God bless you and your family. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. I hear you. I won't offer mundane comfort, or the general flaky advice or comment most people will. Instead I'm going to simply say, "I hear you."

    I hear your pain. You needed to be angry to point that anger at those who had hurt you. I understand. It is one of the things humans need to do in order to survive and cope.

    Now that your mother is passing it is different. It is not cruel to say her suffering is brought on by what and who she was in the past. But its at an end and I think you've discovered that your mother is only human after all.

    I wish her peace.

    I wish you the best, now you can really start to heal.

    I'm always listening even if you don't know I am there. I am always thinking about you even when you don't think I am. I hear you, I always will.

    I love you, ALL OF YOU and you know those words aren't thrown about easily.

  4. Thank you all.

    The darkness which drifts now from the north is all so familiar...I remember it from childhood, through all those years of hearing my sister was going to die while she remained there and we stood staring, brown eyes in brown eyes.

    I never knew what it would be like to be without her. I never believed she would be gone. I could never have wished that she not be alive, only that I not have to endure the endless days, months and ultimately years of holding breaths, waiting for something I didn't know what it was.

    Then she was gone. It didn't heal my life. I dared not even feel the loss of her until not so long ago.

    I feel sorry about my mother. Sorry for her in her own life and sorry she thought I was such an inconvenience. I know her passing won't solve anything between us, but maybe it will give her peace and give me that chance you speak of, LTK - a chance to finally heal.

    And maybe grow into having a life under clear sky. People who haven't walked clouded roads don't understand you can't simply bid the clouds 'begone!'

    They don't leave on command.

    But maybe they will - at long, long last - leave. First I have to live through flinching every time the phone rings. The terribleness it can inflict is nothing compared to the event, but every time it rings, the moment confronts me.

    I know this knell. When someone dies, then begins the endless forever. In that moment we all sort out the difference between lost and loss, which is maybe the measure of being human.

    Again, thanks. Will be back when possible with the astrology.