Memories Of My Mother – 3
October 8, 2012 in Memories Of My Mother
Today was intermittently beautiful. Leaves are gently cascading outside. The sun was low and warm in places. I got the bus to the hospital to pick up the death certificate. The corridors I paced, the ward I graced, they were freshened in my mind. I take the death certificate and register her death tomorrow – there’s an appointment made for 4.30pm. It’s sitting on the kitchen table right now. I think I’m doing okay.
She’s been in and out of my mind all day. I have so many memories of her. For the past two years I guess, I’ve almost literally spent every day with her one way or another.
We were close.
I got five hours sleep last night, this morning. I napped for another hour this evening. I’ve finally eaten something, the first in 36 hours I think. I bought groceries for the first time on a Monday morning without having to buy her cigarettes. There’s a half-smoked pack in the shoe-box. I don’t want them
She was guileless. She’d kept a childlike innocence about her until the end. She saw the best in people, and always took them at their word. She got hurt a lot because of this. She’d only be cynical when it came to politics, global justice, that sort of thing.
People liked talking to her. Strangers would start conversations with her in the street. She was just one of those people who you felt comfortable just talking with. Despite being hard-of-hearing, she was a great listener.
She also suffered from tinnitus. Her own mother used to repeatedly beat her around the head so much that she lost the majority of her hearing in both ears. In her 50′s she got new ear-drums grafted, courtesy of the NHS, and regained some of it. She was disappointed in what she freshly-heard – she’d imagined all those years of unheard conversations between others to be exciting, thought-provoking, and was continually dejected over the quality of the talk. “People talk shite!”, she would exclaim, and I would whole-heartedly agree.
She had small hands, soft skin. Her friend had accidentally sliced through her left index finger with a bread knife when they were kids and larking about as kids do, and she had a long scar under her left fore-arm where the doctors had taken some muscle and whatnot to give her the semblance of a working finger. It was slightly crooked and very weak because of this. The tip of the finger was always slightly turned inwards.
I’m getting into a routine of sitting in the lounge and watching television for a couple of hours. I call Henry through if he’s in and he sits on my lap as I channel surf onto something bearable. He curls up, fast asleep, and tonight his breath was warm on the inside of my elbow. I cradled his head.
Jake spends most of his time in my bed. He woke me up this morning, hungry.
I’m in a complete haze. And I welcome it.
I took photographs today of parts of my journey. I want to record how the weather was when she died, and I wasn’t up for photographing at the weekend. It’s fitting that it’s the Autumn somehow. On the bus back from the hospital today I thought about how she never got to see her Winter years. 66 is still a pretty young age to die, relatively speaking.
I picture her dying in the mid-Autumn of her life, and Autumn surrounds me, and that fits.
They’ve finished sand-blasting the local arts centre. It’s located within a very old, re-purposed church in the centre of town. It looks beautiful. She would’ve loved to have seen it finished. Things like that sting my eyes. Those little realisations. That she’s not here. That I can’t report back to her things she couldn’t get out to see.
It’s no fun watching the news now. Before there was a double-act, and now it’s just me. I caught myself actively averting my eyes from her chair this evening. I didn’t want it to register again that it was empty.
I’m pretty lonely.
Writing this is helping.
ps – I hate the titles of these, but I couldn’t think of anything else.