Words I wrote while crying my eyes out…

And yes, I did and I was, and I still am occasionally.  Because nobody told me this would hurt so bad.  Nobody told me how to do this.  And I still don’t think I can.  Not entirely.  Not completely.  Not all the way.

Not forever.

But because my gift is words, I wrote this to tell her how I feel about her being gone.  Because she left me.  She left us.  And I am not ready to be without her.  None of us are.  But we have to get there.  We have to do this.  I have to do this.  Because she left me no choice.  But I still had to tell her, and everyone, that I didn’t think I could.  Even as I’ve done this.  Even as I move forward.  Even as I go on.

I can’t do this.

But I will.  I am.  I have to.  Because she’s gone.

So, with that, here are the words I wrote for Mother’s Eulogy, that I delivered far too soon in my life.  Far too soon.  And I hope she heard them.  And I hope she understands.

I hope.

I can’t do this… I just can’t do this. 

I think I’ve said these words at least a million times over the last few days.  In fact I think I said them about 5 min. ago.  And again, 2 min. ago.  And, oh yeah, right about now. 

I just can’t do this.

And yet I can.  I am.  With strength that I never even knew I had.  Strength I’m finding from places I never ever knew about.  The strength my Mother is giving me now.  The strength she lived her life with.  Every day, and in every way. 

My mother is dead.  But when she was alive, my mother was the strongest person I’ve ever known.  She was petite and feminine, and made of high tensile steel.  She could bend, but she didn’t break.  She could do anything.

But what she did best was love us – my sister and I – more than anything, more than life itself.  And that thought, that she loved us that very much, is what is allowing me to do this.  To tell you about our Mother.  And to tell you that we really aren’t sure whether we can do this without her.  You see she was as ubiquitous as air and water for us.  She was everything and everywhere.  And if she can be taken away so fast then we’re not entirely certain about the supply of those other necessities of life. 

She was our necessity.  She was our world. 

So many people have told us over the past several days of her kindness, her generosity, her loving nature.  And we knew those things about her.  But as her daughters it took many years for us to actually see that side of her.  Because she was our mother.  And a Mother’s love isn’t entirely free.  After all, they’re the ones who make us, and their expectations are large, because they want everything for us.  Everything.  And so it takes years for a Mother to become your friend.  Mom was that for us, so now we’ve lost not only our mother, we’ve lost our friend. 

We still needed her.  We still had so much to learn.

But now we’ll have to learn those lessons from other people.  And we’ll also have to pull those lessons from inside ourselves.  Where she lives now.  Because she’s there.  I know she is.  Probably better than anybody.  Because every time I’ve said I can’t do this, and every time I’ve broken down and cried, something makes me stand back up, dry my tears, and do whatever it is that needs to be done.

Just like she raised me to do.  Just like she would do.  Just like we’ve seen her do so many times before.

Just like now.

And that’s why although I say that I can’t do this, the next thing I do is do whatever it is that needs to be done. Because that was what she did.  That was her skill.  Doing what has to be done.  And we’ll do the same thing. 

But not yet.  Not now.  Because now we have to mourn her.  We have to say goodbye.  But saying goodbye to her is the one thing we cannot do. 

We can’t do this.

And that’s why we’re not.  This is not a goodbye.  This is not the end.  This is just the next step we’ve moved into in our lives together.  The stage where I’ll say things like “I have to call Mom” and then I’ll realize that I can’t.  The stage where I’ll think “I can’t do this” and then from somewhere her hand will push me forward to do whatever needs to be done.

Yes, she’s with us still.  Pushing us.  Helping us to go on.   Helping us to do this.  All of us.  Making us do this right.  And loving us just as fiercely in death as she ever did in life.  While we do this hard thing we have to do.    

But before we do this hard thing, I have to read these words.  And I have to try to explain how we feel.  But I can’t.  I just can’t.  So I will use someone else’s words, and thoughts, because for the first time I’m finding myself struggling for my own. 

I know, who thought that was even possible, right?  But regardless, I will allow Mr. W.H. Auden speak for me in his beautiful poem “Funeral Blues”.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message She Is Dead,

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

She was our North, our South, our East and West,

our working week and our Sunday rest,

Our noon, our midnight, our talk, our song;

We thought that she would last for ever: We were wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

And with those words, poured from my heart and my tear-filled eyes, I said goodbye to my Mother.  I know we all believe that she’s gone on to a better place.  That she’s better off.  But as I sit here, looking at dying flowers, looking at dying beauty, all I feel is loss.  Hurt.  Pain.  And emptiness.  This is her home, she’s supposed to be here, but she isn’t.  And she never will be again.  And now all there is left are things.  Things that remind us of her.  As she used to be.  Things that are as dead as she is.


That’s permanent I hear.  Or so they tell me.  But I’m not entirely sure that I want to believe them.  I hope she knows how much she is missed.  I hope she knows that we want her back.

I hope.

How do you be half-orphaned?

This is hard y’all.  Oh, right, explanations.  Well, if you’ve been following along on Facebook or the Twitters then you already know, but for the two of you who haven’t…

My Mother is Dead.  Or to quote Charles Dickens, “as dead as a door-nail.”

Yes, I know, stark, blunt, to the point, but that’s how I am.  That’s how I roll.  And actually, you may or may not be surprised to learn that a variation of those exact words were the text message I sent my husband last Thursday after I got that call.  The call I never expected to get last Thursday.  The call telling me that my Mother was dead.  The call telling me that another part of my life had ended.  That a part of me had died as well.  And I guess I keep saying it like that in order to convince myself that it’s true.  Because apparently it is.  Since, you know, we did have a funeral and there’s enough food in this house right now to feed two armies.  Supplied by a veritable Army of Church Ladies who showed up every day, for five days, just like clockwork, to take care of us as we flailed about, confused, trying to make sense of a world that had almost instantaneously turned upside down.

And, BTW, I’d like to pause for a moment and apologize to the Chicken survivors of middle Georgia who are all now just as deep in mourning as we are today.  We’re sorry, it’s not personal, it’s just dinner.  Oh, and please pass along our condolences to the pigs.  Same thing.  And, if you’re wondering, I answered the question of “Which came first” this weekend.  For all of you who’ve been wondering, the Chicken and the Egg travel together and they show up at the same time, with one riding in a KFC bucket and the other sitting on a lovely heirloom Deviled Egg Tray.  Yeah.  There is no first.  Tell everyone, that particular question is now answered, and BTW you’re welcome.

But, back to the subject, my Mother is Dead.  Still.  And apparently that means forever.  Which, just so we’re clear, is a very long time, if the experts in that subject matter are to be believed.  But as I sit here at her Dining Room table typing this doggerel I see so much of her around me.  So very much.  Like, pretty much everything.  The Spring floral centerpiece she arranged before she left to come visit us two weeks ago.  Her cat- Dolly – who is wandering around here, pretty much lost.  And my Bonus Dad – Jimmy – who is so terribly heartbroken.  This is his second time in the Widower Club.  I know, twice?  Seriously?  Isn’t there some sort of Get Out of Death Free card after that happens to you once?  Apparently not, but let’s be clear here, there should be.  But you know, we’re all suffering, not just him.  We’re all lost.  And, despite all the rituals, I still keep half-expecting her to walk in, reaching for her first cup of Coffee, or singing “Wake up, Wake up Old Sleepy Head” like she did so annoyingly when I was growing up.

Yes, she did that, every morning, I know, WTF? I hated her for that back then.  Now I’d pay any amount of money to hear it again.  Really.  Even that.  I’d want that back too.  But it seems that my request to have her back, annoying habits and all, is not being honored in this particular arena.  It seems there are other, more powerful votes, that are preventing that from happening.  Something about it being “her time”, and “God’s Plan”.  And let me just state for the record that this is the second time where God and I have some serious disagreements regarding that Plan.  Although I’m sure he’s not the least bit worried about that.  But that plan?  Yeah, to quote Gaiman & Pratchett, it’s pretty much “inscrutable”, and for the record, it’s certainly not something he ran past me.  Of course, when it comes to that plan, it’s obvious that he didn’t check with any of us, now did he?  After all, we aren’t all Lottery Winners, and you know that’s what the thing would look like if we all had gotten an opportunity to vote.

Yeah, don’t deny it.  You’d put that in there.  Along with everlasting life.  And the ability to eat everything and gain no weight.  That would be a great addition too.  Especially because of that damned Carrot Cake that was delivered yesterday evening.  Evil cake!  Hate that cake.  And that gooey, delicious, yumminess.  Yeah, we’ve had an up-close meeting.  It went pretty well, for me, not so much for the cake.

But anyway, it’s official apparently, with certificates and all, that my Mother is gone.  And there’s a hole inside of me that I can’t seem to fill right now.  An emptiness.  An aloneness that nobody else will ever be able to replace.  And I am now half-orphaned.  Mother-less.  And that just seems to be ridiculous.  Absurd.  Because she was so alive, just a week ago.  Literally.  She kissed me goodbye on my backsteps last Monday morning, smiling and still laughing at me for worrying about her, and she texted me that night to tell me she was home and she loved me.  And then she died.  And now she’s gone.


My Mother is Dead.

And I am not.


My Mother is not.

But I am.