Sunset over a Thai beach.

On This, An Anniversary of a Mother’s Death

IMG_0088-sunsetLike with Dad, there’s not much for me to say that I haven’t said before, Mom, except perhaps to say that nothing has really changed. Time passes; life goes on. And I enjoy it, for the most part. Perhaps more some; perhaps even more than most — I couldn’t really say. There are the distractions of living in a foreign country and a new language to learn and all that this entails; I’m even making that last official by attending classes.

And yet, and yet. There is a Mom-shaped hole in my psyche that, while scarred over, will never completely heal. I believe in the past I used the analogy of a severed limb; you can learn to live without it, and with the time the stump heals and scars over. But one is never the same despite how well you learn to live without it; the limb never grows back.

This January 19, this, the twelfth anniversary of your death — it staggers me, frankly, that so much time has passed between this moment and then — found me in a beach town in Thailand visiting with friends both local and abroad. We celebrated and got up to hi-jinx and played the drunken tourists. I raged against the dying of the light; I thumbed my nose at entropy and death. I enjoyed the beach and the company and the local rotgut (which to be fair is pretty good rum, actually) and practiced my pidgin Thai — this all interspersed with my quiet time in a cafe in the company of no one and nothing but a cappuccino and a book (one must balance the pleasures of the mind with the pleasures of the flesh — although coffee clearly falls in the latter).

In short, it’s pretty much the prescription for a perfect weekend, one to take your mind off your troubles past and present (not that I have any real troubles, at the moment, to be honest — life is pretty damn good — so much so that finding time to write frequently escapes me). And yet, and yet. Even with all these wonderful blessings, good friends, good food and good drink by the ocean — what more could one ask for? — I remained subtlety aware of the dread anniversary passing by. I may thumb my nose at death, but he always grins his toothy grin and waves in return (it’s impossible to insult a patient adversary who always wins in the end).

Some might say it’s unhealthy to dwell on this date and its terrible significance; to them I say rubbish. Again — I repeat myself — I would cherish every memory of you, even those dark days that came at the end your life, your misery, your pain and your suffering that in very real ways became those of the ones who loved you (and love you still — at least for my part).

For memories are all that are left of you in this world. And were I to (gladly) live a thousand years, Mom, I could never forget you. And as with Dad, I’ll never quite be finished saying goodbye. I will always be in this moment.