Today I cradled my mother in my arms
Blubbering like a baby
She told me how much she loves her momma
And I thought of how it had been the other way around
Today I carefully spoonfed my gran, tucked her in and changed her diaper. Stroked her hair and tenderly wiped her tears away.
And she thought of how it had been the other way around
Strength shows in different ways – through restraint, submission, acceptance, silence. But also in unadulterated, openfaced emoting. Floodgates opened for a second, with abandon, moment of safety, before scuttling away into a swallowed, dry place.
I saw her truest self, most naked, when not occupied hiding in an automaton wife shell, conflated love and duty, flummoxed by stimulus and new rules constructed overnight when her guard was down.
In the still of dawn, on the precipice of two goodbyes, time closes like an accordion. Distance then opens, like an accordion, between her, and I, and gran. Time, distance, nature, decay, separates us eternally.
On the eve of her funeral we realize there are so many soons and one days, but only one definitive too late. I would have liked to make her laugh again, to feed her my cooking, for her to taste mint jelly again.
After midnight we flew over a lit city, looked down through a clear night sky and marvelled at its cold crisp lines, of the impeccable order of one light next to another and then another. I thought of their obliviousness, of their all-in-row-ness, as they struggle with each internal turmoil, of the utter chaos and storming that occurred in each neat little lit-up box, night after night. Of every tense silence, swirling emotion, oscillating dread and relief, read gesture, unspoken discord. Of intergenerational obfuscation and murky, muck-filled embrace, mired and obscured love, choked with guilt and questions. In moments snatched back, out of reach, and some certainly inaccessible, frozen with their undeniable passing. There we sit, brimming with anxiety, spilling with judgement, obsessed with aesthetic, neatly and quietly in adjacent lines, blinking on and off.