Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pass Me Over

My mother lies in an unmarked grave. The bare earth is appalling, looks painful. It's an abomination. But it's nothing compared to the holocaust of my mother's death itself, which flayed the skin from my face, my hands, my heart.

We couldn't face putting a gravestone up for her -- my brother, my father, and I.
We just refused. We refused to talk of it; we refused to think on it. Let her passing remain fresh and sharp and obscene in its inability to be reconciled with the world we thought we knew. Don't let grass grow over her, so that she blends in with others who have gone before her. Don't let her become just another name on another granite stone.

We couldn't do it. We simply couldn't do it. And can you imagine: the ground in which she lies is the ground that grew the cotton that scarred her hands. It is the ground she walked as a child, the most beautiful child of all God's children. It is the ground that grew the food she ate. This ground that raised up this woman now covers her and envelops her; and it is only now that it can support the physical or emotional weight of a marker. It is soft North Carolina dirt. It accepted her and now it carries her, but like us, it needed time to adjust to the offering and would not be rushed. This red, bruised ground has not yet settled enough for her to be covered - it won't yet uphold a concrete slab. That won't be placed for some years. But the marker needs to be there. So people know where to go to weep and wail and lay hands on the earth.

I thought that each milestone, each anniversary, would make it easier for me to start breathing again, but I was wrong. My aunt Nita says that she talks to my mom all the time. I want to do this too, but I don't know to reach for her and not feel her in my hands. I dream about her all the time, though. All the time.

Don't you see that this is all I have and God, please let me keep sleeping.


Mrs. Swank said...

Oh my dear Jugo ... I know only too well how you feel. When my Mama died, no one wanted her ashes. If I hadn't taken them, I don't know what would have happened to them. I have some in a small urn on a shelf next to the TV, and the rest (which I had erroneously imagined would be doled out amongst the family) is in a box in my basement. I sometimes think I should spread them somewhere, but then I remember that she never really liked being outside when she was alive, so maybe I should just leave well enough alone.

Please call me if you need to talk about it ... I can email you my phone number if you don't have it.


Adams said...

Ah, J...

It has taken me a couple of days to even respond to you, because I needed so much to hear something like this, but it's still too raw for me to think about except in very small chunks. I would love to talk to you, but it's hard for me to know when I'm going to completely break down in hysterics. I'd hate to call you and just shriek into the phone!

Thanks so much for this. It helps more than you know to know that you're out there.

Leeschwa- MissDangerPants said...

So sad, but so beautiful, too. Nothing but straight up love and pain. I'm sorry it's so tough.

Mrs. Swank said...

Shrieking is okay ... especially since it lets me know I'm not the only one who feels it this much after a year and then some.

Professor Of Pop said...

This is beautiful hard stuff. As you know my mom is scattered @ Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC. At the halfway line as she was always a very fair person. (Dad in front of the Shed End where the hooligans once ruled.) The thing about this is that it DOES (or can) get easier. They stay with you every day, you always think about them, and somehow the fact of your NOT being able to let them go eventually is somewhat consoling. Stay strong, sweetheart.