When my mother died

My mother would become infuriated when I smoked marijuana, so I did it in front of her every chance I got. I was that way about everything that infuriated my mother. My sister was the opposite. She too did all kinds of things that seriously displeased our mother (our father didn’t care what we did), but she would lie her way out of them whenever she could.

When my mother died—in 1988—they brought the body to the house, and I sat beside her, smoking pot, in a one-person wake. I didn’t think I could bear letting her go, so I hoped I could rise to some plane where she still existed, or at least hallucinate her, but the closest I got was when I heard her gasp for air. At that moment, I thought I had done it. I thought she was going to open her eyes and talk to me, but she just lay there, not really looking much like herself.

22 comments:

Punk Chopsticks said...

Oh gosh this reminds me a lot of when my grandmother passed away. I guess that's life right? Everything's uncertain except death. Which makes it even more ironic

ellen abbott said...

Very mysterious, that thing, that essence that diferenciates the living from the dead. The body is just the same, at least til putrefaction sets in, but inanimate. Animate, inanimate. Alive, dead. Breathing, not. Did the spirit flee and the breath stopped or did the breath stop so the spirit fled?

That corgi :) said...

Not sure what I think about this; I had a rebellious teen but one thing he did was not disrespect me to my face (behind my back he was doing everything and anything, so I'm sure he was a lot like your sister). I'm not sure how I would have handled him being this defiant.

Something happens to us when we lose our mothers. Was just talking to hubby about this tonight as his mom is very seriously ill (my mom passed in 2006). We think we can handle it, especially if they are older and in ill health, but when it actually happens, it cuts to our core and affects us in the oddest of ways. For a few weeks afterwards, I couldn't make any decision including what to cook for dinner. The night of the day she died, I panicked thinking she was all alone in the hospital morgue and cried about that; I had to really concentrate on remembering she was not there. Like I told hubby, for the most part, our moms love us first (excluding God of course, for those who believe) and usually love us unconditionally.

Anyway, interesting post! I hope tomorrow is a kind one for you!

betty

The Tusk said...

Why was it only a one person wake. Was there an earlier wake with more people?

The Elephant's Child said...

Nice to hear that other people also relished inciting their parent's ire. Not difficult in my case.

Snowbrush said...

Tusk asked: Why was it only a one person wake. Was there an earlier wake with more people?

No, there was no wake. There were people at the house during the evening, but they left, and then it was only my father and me (Peggy was back home in Oregon). My father went to bed in his room, and I slept in my sister's old bedroom next to the living room in which my mother lay, so I spent time alone sitting by her. I wasn't up all night.

Mim said...

Oy vey Snow. That's all I can say to this one

Charles Gramlich said...

I did plenty of things my mother didn't approve of but I almost never did them in front of her, except on occasion to talk politics.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Oh, You don't want my mother on your bad side... I think that's why I'm such a people pleaser and it's also why I love being alone...

Snowbrush said...

That corgi wrote: Not sure what I think about this...

My mother disapproved of me more and more as I progressed into my teens--that is to say, as I went from being a child to a man (she felt betrayed by every man in her life). Her disapproval was such that she was pressed to find anything good to say about me, and so there was anger on my part (both because of her treatment of me, and her cowardice around my father who was a bully toward her) that I showed through defiance.

Beau's Mom said...

My mom had munchausen syndrome by proxy. Which means that she made me seriously ill throughout my childhood and reaped a lot of sympathy. When I was too old to get sympathy for her, she tried to give me away.

Yet, I remained by her side as she died and drove to the cemetery after dark to watch over her grave. I saw one light in the distance. It was my brother sitting there on his motorcycle doing the same thing I was doing.

Oh how I wish we siblings had had the courage to tell our stories to each other instead of keeping them inside.

Robin said...

A sad and poignant post dear friend....when one loses a parent....it is like joining an *Exclusive Club*....but a Club one doesn't want to join.

One HOPES for Life - beyond this one - ...you know how I feel about this...

When your Mum gave that sigh....it said a lot to me...and how lovely you were there to witness it. My Mum died 30 years ago...unexpectidly....no time for *Goodbyes*... I miss her still.

Hmmmm....Snow, I know there is a lot going on in your life now...this includes worrying about a dear friend we both love *down under*...and perhaps, it's the time of the year, too. All we can do is love our Family and Friends - and be there.....YOU DO And YOU ARE... I hope you really believe it....because you are loved by all of us....

Always,

♥ Robin ♥

Just_because_today said...

I like how you describe your feelings so honestly. It's a gift to read you.
I have not been close to my mother in decades, but I know that day and the days after I'm going to miss the hell out of her

PhilipH said...

Wonder what life, and the world, would be like if we COULD choose our parents, like we choose our friends?

ladyfi said...

So sad and poignant.

Natalie said...

I am here (Blogger) intermittently. There is a lot going on in my world, which just keeps me from posting with any confidence like I used to. I just shake my head at how messed up relationships can be.
You are a treasure however you came to be so, and nothing can change that.

Beau's Mom ~ I send you love and healing after such a truly sad situation. Speechless.x

Kittie Howard said...

I can't tell you why I get this post, but I do.

Thanks for catching the salt pork bit. I dropped a comment on my blog and thanked you. Like I wrote, I was digging into files - some interesting stuff about how the sharecroppers tried to organize in 1936- hadn't a clue that had happened - will share that in a later blog - anyway, there was an article about hardtack...guess it stuck - I'm NOT calling in an oldie but goodie moment, LOL! You'r right, tho, salt pork in just about everything - not in gumbo - but it was used to grease the skillet for just about everything. Red beans is a stable in S.La. Folks in my area always put a healthy slice or two for seasoning. Mississippi? We drove back to Va , up from NO, last Christmas, thru Vidalia. Gorgeous scenery - hadn't been that way in years. We drove down thru Atlanta/Montgomery to the Coast (that ride from Mont. always seems forever) and stayed at the Beau Revage. Had hopped the Coast would have rebounded more since my last visit, but felt a pang that it's a while in the making. We're off to LA this Christmas. Hey, thanks for stopping by.

Deb said...

It's odd because at my grandmother's wake, I can picture her rising up and yelling at my mother for fixing her shoes that were on crooked right in the casket. I reprimanded my own mom, but it was her way of distracting herself from the reality of things. It's such an odd and surreal feeling... brought back some memories..

Kerry said...

There must be something wrong with me. I thought this was kind of...funny, not sad. Made me smile. I suppose it wasn't funny at the time, and maybe not even now. I'm probably wrong to smile.

Mad Mind said...

Now I know your true colors Snow! You are a rebel and always have been.

Zuzana said...

This was somehow beautifully melancholic and sweet at the same time. This post somehow puts life into perspective and reminds us of how short it really is.;)
xoxo

OneOldGoat said...

Snowbrush - I missed this post. I like your honesty so much - something that is sorely lacking in so many people I know - including myself.

I can only hope that my own kids are as upfront with me as you seem to have been with your mother. I'd so much rather deal with painful honesty than sneaky deceit.

Beth One Old Goat