Integration

It has been almost a month since my mother passed. It wasn’t unexpected. She was old and ill and tired. She wanted to go, was impatient with the way those final months seemed to drag and throw more miseries her way. I was able to mark 60 of my birthdays with her still in the flesh. How many get to say that about a parent?

And yet. My interior terrain is changing. Time has sped up and slowed down, sometimes within the same hour. I can feel my heart (which is the true mind) vibrating and stretching, opening the ears that reside there. My mother comes through as soft pressure, insistent push. She is a wind. Her message is tacit like her love always was and is and will be.

Don’t defer. You were never meant to be anyone but who you are.

I wrote the following poem a few weeks before she died.

EBBING

I find myself
taking dawn personally,
the rising light an affront
to my evolving grief.

A woman could poem or go stone
silent, knowing it’s the same experience.

My relationship to the moon has changed
since my mother lay dying,
her waning
a hard crust undigested,
unmoving
inside my otherwise soft belly.

The question I cannot voice
that travels with me through
this fog-graced landscape
of mother dying, dying,

is the round unabsorbed scone
of a query–
why is my mother dying, dying,
so much more intense
than father dying, dying, dead?

Dead twenty years on, he is,
and it’s not like I don’t miss him,
and she has been inserting him
Into her sentences, her fragments
of speech
as if he were welcome, as if he
were not ex-husband
for all those decades.

It wouldn’t be so bad to have him here
she said, months ago,
I’d be a lot nicer to him.

–Melinda Coppola

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