Thursday, November 09, 2006

So, today marks 1 year since my mom died. Tonight I lit a white candle and placed it in front of a picture I have of her where she looks very happy. I prayed and then spoke to her and told her how I felt, how much I miss her and how empty I still feel. I told her how no one, except for my one aunt and one cousin, has called me to offer any emotional support since she died. (honestly, I've gotten more caring and support from people I've met on the web - so how sad is that? and these people, my blood relatives, claim they are "good christians". What a laugh. If there's one thing I've learned since my mom died, it's that you choose your own family. Those people who share your genes, well, that's all they share.

It's hard to believe a year has passed already. It seems like she died just yesterday, and I wonder if that will ever change. I wonder, too, if I will ever recover from the trauma of her death. Having shared a home with her for almost all of my life, I feel her absence acutely,
and persistently. At times, when the grief of her loss has really sunk its claws into me, I can feel her presence. That should comfort me, but it doesn't. It only makes me more sad. Oh, what I would give to have just one more day with her.

I feel that by now I should be healing, but I'm not. Not really. Oh, I get through the day ok. I go out with friends and do fun things. I take care of the house (most recently I painted the front railing.) I shop, I sleep , I eat. But inside I still feel empty - I am a shell without any filling. And I don't think about things the way I used to, I just blindly go wherever I go. My brother says I zone out all the time now, and if I try to think about where my mind is I can't come up with an answer because I don't know where it is. And that concerns me because that could be dangerous.

So, a year later, I can't say I'm getting over it because I seem to still be stuck eyebrow deep in it. I know grief can take a long time to dissolve to the point where a flicker of joy can claim a tiny place in my heart. All I can do is hope and pray it comes soon, before my soul completely dissolves.

While I was meditating tonight, while I was talking to her, I wrote a poem. Well, I think it's a poem. I don't know anymore - it's been months since I wrote anything. Actually, it's the first poem I've tried to write since NaPoWriMo mania sucked me dry after June. Between that and my inner state of mind I haven't even wanted to write, and that worries me. But anywho, here it is. I hope it's not that awful!

First Anniversary

I look at her picture, force open
my heart again and hope she will feel
these unsmiling eyes calling her back
from a place they cannot go, not yet.
My thoughts plead for the simple cradle
of unseen arms as the white candle
diminishes its vigil of light.
This first year blinked by. Where did it go
while I frittered and searched through torn
snapshots of memories, seeking some
comfort from the past? Where is His rod
and staff as I slog through my valley?
I wonder if I'll ever find
enough tape to restore those pictures.

copyright 2006 by Cookala.


Blogger vmh said...

Take care Cookala.


12:08 AM  
Anonymous Nic Sebastian said...

hang in there, Cookie.


12:10 AM  
Blogger Cookala said...

thanks, guys. appreciate it. it's been hard lately - what with my birthday, the anniversary of her death and now the holidays coming. I guess this grief just has to run its course.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

It is hard to believe it's been a year. I think I first started reading your blog about that time. Anyway, I feel sad with you. I feel sad about your mom and sad about your family.
So much of the way your write reminds me of C.S. Lewis's writings on grief.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Cookala said...

Hey, Chuck! thanks so much for you words and caring. It's funny how a few words of compassion can carry so much weight (good weight!) and do so much good, but they do. C.S.Lewis? You flatter me far too much, but you made me smile and that's a good thing.

I'm feeling better - still a bit drained, but better emotionally as my grief has subsided for the moment. I'm sure it will be back in a week or so, just in time for a turkey dinner.

I guess (I hope!!!), eventually, my grief will level out and the emotional pain will diminish. Until then I guess you're all just stuck with my mood swings.

Please know I appreciate your supportive thoughts and caring in a very big way. It's so true - it's the little things that count in the great big scheme of things.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Plus Ultra said...

What a tribute to a mother, she is looking at you and smiling, those words of the prose and the verse are enough to tape up the torn pictures...making them pristine once again, loss cannot be healed by forgetting but rather by remembering the way you are doing and surely thats very therapeutic, bless your very tender heart and I am sorry christians didnt do better, forgive us....

8:18 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Cookie - all the best. I don't think a year is so long. It usually takes longer to make a shift to a new reality after such a loss.

On the poem - the first 4 lines are terrific. If you can bring yourself to do this, the next 3 lines could be cut. I think the poem stays on course better without them. The final section is very good too, with a moving ending. The poem has real impact. One of the best I've read from you.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Cookala said...

plus ultra - a warm hello and welcome back to you! I hope you are well, and thank you so much for your words and caring. And you know, I have nothing against Christians - I consider myself one, or at least I try to conduct my life in a Christian way as best I can. It just irks me when the people who claim and even brag (like my relatives) that they're good Christians don't behave that way, and even more so when they're your relatives. Ah well, it's not for me to judge. They'll face their maker someday, just as I will. I guess right now, while I'm going through this I feel as though they've abandoned me when I need them most. I guess they've become too busy with their own lives to even think about me, and that hurts. I will eventually forgive them, but I have to heal myself first, I think, before I can do that. If there's one thing I've learned it's that life is, at best, tenuous, and death is not choosy about the life and circumstances of those he takes. It's hard to do, but we should all try to live each day as though it's our last, and we should remember to be kind to others and treat them as we would like to be trated. Well, I'm going off on one of my tangents here. Thank you again for stopping in - it's such a pleasure to see you here again.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Cookala said...

Heya, Rob! I know how unbelievably busy you always are, so I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and offer your support. Thank you so much for that. It means more than you can know.

And thank you, too, for the thoughts on the poem - of course and as usual, you are right. The poem is even stronger without those 3 lines. I guess my inner editing mechanism is still in place - a very tiny voice kept whispering to me that something wasn't quite right about them but I didn't listen. I felt that maybe the image was old, maybe even a trifle cliche but I let if stay in anyway. I was just happy to be able to write a little something at all. thank you for sharing your thoughts - those lines will go and the rest will be tweaked just a bit more, now that I know there's something there worth tweaking! It feels darn good to write something with promise again, too. Perhaps it's a sign that my muse is waking from her coma.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Ho Cooky,

I mean Hi but Ho is fine as well.

For whatever reason, your photographs are absolutely bursting with love and joy. There must be a side of you which is completely life-affirming, and which coexists with your grief and sadness. It is a full of your lovely open wonder and generosity. I adore it.

It's a sort of miracle.


2:56 PM  
Blogger Cookala said...

Ho, Larry! It's rally nice to see you stop by for ho! Thank you so much for your uplifting words - they put a smile in place of a frown. You're right, I've developed a dual nature since mom's death - maudlin or too happy - bipolar, yes, as yoda would say. There are times yet when I despair in the most dire ways, but there are also times when there is nothing but sunshine. That's how grief is, I guess - you're up, you're down, tug of war twisted and pulled. When I go out with the camera and commune with nature, I find peace replaces my sadness. I guess that shows.

I've been thinking about poetry all week, so perhaps by writing that poem it nudged the door open a bit. I've even been reading the posts in the C&Cs at PFFA, though I lurk eveyr day still, this is the first time I've gone to read the critical forums in months. So, perhaps, the muse is stirring again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but my grief will play a large part in my motivation, I'm afraid, because it generally sucks me dry energy-wise when it comes. But, we'll see. I miss you guys over at PFFA hugely.

6:48 PM  
Blogger GEL said...

Hi- I'm here via your link on BlueSky Liz's blogroll. I wish somehow something I write could erase the pain, but that's an impossible wish. I've lost a parent in recent years. That one year anniversary is a heart-wrencher and especially so close to a holiday or other major event in your life. The stages of grief are beyond difficult. In fact, my father's death is probably one reason I began my blog: to face the world and interact. I've not written a post about him, per se, but there are lines that I weave into my poetry but strangers would not know it could refer to him. I think that will change this year. Grieving is different for each person as you know.

Your words of love shine through. I ache for you. I also read your Thanksgiving post and was moved.I'm glad I popped in. Liz and I have been reading each other's blogs for over a year. (I can't import my posts so it looks like I'm a new blogger, but I've been writing and posting artwork for 2 yrs in the blogosphere.)
Extra hugs for you this time of year.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Cookala said...

welcome, gel! thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. Your kind words have brought me a measure of comfort, and I thank you for that. I'm sorry to hear of your loss, I know exactly what you're going through, and I feel a certain kinship with you because of that.

Knowing that other people care enough to comment on what I write always brings me comfort. I will definitely have to add your blogspot to my list and start reading you and your poetry when I have the time.

I'd like to share something with you - in hopes of offering you some comfort. When I start to spiral down into grief, I remind myself that my mom is with my dad now in a much better place than here, and that she's happier than I could possibly imagine, and that seems to help me stem my grief.

hope to see you here again!

9:24 PM  

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