Monday, November 16, 2009

Twice Dead, Once Mourned

She lay there and watched blue sky turn grey with the approaching storm, felt the dropping temperature as the wind picked up, and waited for the tears that wouldn’t come.

She couldn’t tell how long she had lain there, but one thing she knew, it hadn’t been long enough. Her body had quit complaining a while ago about the sharp twigs and rocks hidden beneath dead leaves, grass and pine needles that had been poking her in the back. Her skin burned where each individual snow flake landed and melted, leaving tiny wet marks. The chill that lingered on the breeze had caused her to shiver uncontrollably until finally her naked body had started to turn blue and calmed with the escaping time.

She watched the fog descend slowly toward her from the treetops. It wrapped around her like a white snake, constricting her thoughts, causing her to think again about why she was there.

Why wouldn’t the tears come? She had been notified early that morning about her mother's unexpected massive coronary in the middle of the night. She was not old by any standards nor was she relatively unhealthy. She was however, an emotional leech feeding off of making her family suffer.

She thought about how hard she had tried to please her mother, to gain her acceptance, simply to hear a word of acknowledgment, but to no avail. She thought about how hard she had tried to maintain a relationship with her, if for nothing other than to give her children the opportunity to know their grandmother. All in vain.

She remembered the conversation that had ended the entire fa├žade a few years ago. It was Thanksgiving Dinner; her mother stood and told how grateful she was for family, and how her family had made the sacrifices so they could come and be with her. She rambled on and on about seeing all of her children and their spouses many times throughout the year, and yet not one mention was made of her eldest daughter, and her efforts. It was her turn next, she stood, and looking her mother in the eye said, “I am thankful for a husband who encourages me in all that I do, when you, my own mother have never encouraged me at all.”

The glances surrounding her were of utter shock, except for her mother who was sporting an amused look on her face while she said, “You are no longer welcome in my home.” She was relieved really. No more having to wear a mask and pretend to care about a person she now inwardly hated. She cried mixed tears of anger and relief the whole drive home.

As the fog slinking around her begin to rise, realization sunk in. She knew why she could not shed a single tear for her mother’s passing. How could she mourn a person who had already died? Her mother died that day at Thanksgiving dinner.

She pushed her numb hands under her to help her sit up. She took her time getting to her feet and walking back to where she had parked her car. She slowly dressed. Feeling the smile playing on her lips, she stepped into her car and drove from her mountain retreat towards home.

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