Mourning

I miss her.
This mother of mine.
My missing of her is different than that of Dad. He who already left this earth. 
I’m an unknown shape to her through the window unless it’s a good day. She sees the darkness in my hair. Outline of my lips in a smile against the paleness of my skin.
My wave a confusing blur to these eyes no longer seeing clearly. My voice garbled on a speaker.
I remind her. Your daughter. Your favorite. Only. You, my mother. My favorite. My only.
She smiles. Sometimes. On good days she laughs.
But if it is her daughter, why don’t I come in and hug her? I remind her, and she nods her head. Slowly. In sad agreement.
 I sing to her and on good days she sings along. I go slowly so she can keep up. A delay between my phone and what I barely hear as the speaker echoes through the window. I sing another. She shakes her head and says no. Is it too sentimental? Good times then, not now? Suddenly she is disturbed. Songs like that don’t belong in this weird world that none of us can understand including her.
I read to her, selecting only funny or simple stories through this complicated communication. On good days she laughs, smiles, nods along. On bad days she closes her eyes. Asleep or elsewhere, I’m not sure.
My voice catches. No crying. I can’t cry, not now. I need to be the strong one. I need to pretend: yes, all is well. Stop the tears now. Until later. After. 
All I want to do is sit outside in the sun and hold her hand.
No words. Stare at the blue of the sky and the green of the firs. Peer out into this magical world, blurry for her, clear for me.
Nature that is strangely still here. Wondrous and awakening in the spring with peachy tulips rimmed with yellow, laden catkins drooping from maples.
Yes, I say. We are lucky. Some of the lucky ones. I don’t feel lucky. 
She has had a good life. A long one. She knows. But not now. Not as she had hoped it would be now.
Me too: family, children, a paying job and benefits, roof over my head and food in the pantry. And yet I cry. More tears stream today than yesterday in this passage of time. After each window visit and telephone call and facetime.
Many more days than not I now hope she might pass peacefully one night. Soon.
But not soon if we can’t see her?
Not too soon for her to laugh at grandsons and smile with her only daughter and granddaughters and sons with faces close enough to know. To smell and feel our love.
Not too soon to be out in the green and blue together again. 
And yet. We’re lucky. We are the fortunate ones. Tears drip. I grieve.
I miss her.
This mother of mine.

Mourning was recently selected to be included in Plague 2020: A World Anthology of Poetry and Art About COVID-19 (July 2020)

5 thoughts on “Mourning

  1. Beautifully written Dede. Such a cruel twist to the end of a life already robbed of its identity. You have my sincere sympathy. Hugs
    Lois Mitchell

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  2. Dede, dear, your soul reached mine. Your feelings expressed simply yet eloquently, diffusing lovelight in the predicament of life right now. Holding you in prayer, and that beautiful mother of yours.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Plague 2020: we are in this together | Dede's blog

  4. Pingback: Member News: "Mourning" included in Plague 2020 Anthology - Willamette Writers

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