Listening: Bonnie Kellswater, The Irish Rovers
Its been four years and I've hated every second you've been gone. I wanted to resist the cutting off of your life even as you slowly stopped breathing and I felt your flesh cool. But I couldn't fight for you, because you spent my life telling me of your horror of life support, of the machines, of the ventilator that was currently keeping you alive. I couldn't fight for you because the doctors basically said you were to blame for you own condition (maybe the only thing besides death you couldn't fight). And I couldn't fight for you because everyone else was against me. My brother/your son, your sister, your mother. How could I fight the Wallace machine? They've long since decided that I, and my children are of no use to the world, they ignore me as if I didn't exist, and I was right, Mom, when I didn't call all the time, when I didn't make the effort, when I was too busy fighting for those children they disdain, I became invisible, nonexistent, and above all, not good enough to keep in touch with. The brother I loved so much as a child that I would have given up anything for him doesn't answer his texts, my messages, my calls. I don't think I need to be drawn a map to know that he dislikes me as well. I am alone. Cut off, cast out, pariah call it what you will. The tenuous threads of my aging grandmother's life are all that keep us even nominally in touch and then she is gone I will be completely cut off, I suspect. Unless I make something different happen. Why does it always have to be me? But that is just another cut...and those cuts hurt more and heal less than any of the physical kind. I damn well fuckign know that, right? And its not like i don't get not wanting to live anymore, but you trained me to be unselfish, and just like the whole smoking thing, or the temper thing, it was do as I say, not as I do. I guess starting young DOES make difference (I remember it all, you know, I always have) and just because I stopped confronting you on your facade doesn't mean I didn't care and I didn't forget either). I don't know. I didn't do it any more perfectly than you although I am well known for my patience, tolerance, and lack of selfishness. And the self doubt, no, self hatred really lack of confidence, and total inability to set boundaries that goes with it. Um thanks? Still it hurts. And still I cry. And I could fil this page and even more with memories (and eventually might) but it doesn't make it not true that you're gone and it sucks because I guess we really can't ever fix the bad parts. I can never live up to what you wanted anyway, but at least you died thinking I was finally ok (hahaha, um nope, you fixed that by dying). And I am, if nothing else, free from the emails and phone calls that would leave me curled in a fetal ball, sobbing and praying for the strength not to be selfish and slash my fucking wrists because I wasn't going to do that to my children. like you did to Chris and I. And I will outlive you. I vow that much (should be easy, really, 61 isn't a hard age to pass). I am angry, I know I am. You claimed to love us both so much, well, all Chris ever wanted was for you to quit smoking. Too bad I was the one who managed that, I'm sure he'd trade me for you in a heartbeat.
I asked an old friend today: "How do you do it? How do you live with knowing they are gone?" I still can't ever stop crying when I think about her, even knowing how awful it was to be her daughter. To never be good enough. I hate living with this feeling (don't worry I am in counseling) but I just don't get why I can't shut it off on every holiday, birthday and today....I don't want to spend it crying but it doesn't stop. And again, I feel like I failed her. I know this is not what she wanted....but I can't be her, perfect, sophisticated, beautiful, graceful....nope, I am the duckling, never the swan. And still I cry for missing you, no matter how cruel you were.