Thanksgiving to Christmas is pressing time. Not a pressing time. Pressing time.
I’m on my back. A two-by-four covers my body from chest to feet. Boulders drop one, after another, after another onto the board. It’s a mammogram and I’m the flattened breast. I can’t breathe. Finally Joni Mitchell singing “River” comes from the speakers and takes me there, to the hospital, next to her bed. And the sobbing begins. Again, and again, and again.
That’s my happy holidays since my mother died December 12th, four years ago. My best friend. My confidant. My champion. Gone.
Thanksgiving of 2014 was her birthday. We celebrated, feasted and ate cake. Ten days later “a date which will live in infamy,” as Franklin D. Roosevelt said, was the last day I looked into my mother’s eyes, and she looked back. Her beautiful gray eyes met mine as her love rushed into my soul, and she squeezed my hand for the last time.
She’d had a massive stroke, been air-ambulanced to the hospital, and moments after that last squeeze, she left.
Her body remained, breathing on its own, but she wasn’t there. Dad stayed in the room with her body, hoping she’d come back for it.
That was Sunday.
Driving back and forth, to and from the hospital, Christmas carols resounded from the speakers. Colorful red, green, white, and blue lights lined the streets, draping houses, dangling from trees, and lighting my path to and from. From and to. Back and forth.
Friday at nine p.m., Mom decided that was enough, turned off the lights, and left.
Christmas cards weren’t sent. Cookies weren’t made. There was a tree, and lights draping the house. But that was only because they’d been put up Thanksgiving night. Ten days before “a date which…”
Christmas was growing closer and a funeral was being planned. The next Friday, the 19th, she was lowered into the ground.
Happy fucking holidays. They say time heals all. To that I answer, go stuff your stocking.
The load hasn’t lightened, but my tolerance has strengthened. I’m coping.
I’m making cookies and baking bread. It’s the first time, since…
But I want you to know, it’s still pressing time. The boulders are on the board, on my chest.
Oh I wish I had a river…