Cold rain falls in the river, flows down to the sea, gets into the skyline, circles endlessly. Same old rain on the wind, same old pain in my soul.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Day With Mom

I’ve written of my Mother before, and of her twisted struggles that tangled her in tortured death. But I’ve never told of the day of indulgence. The day I poured the poison that had long since tagged the toe. Please don't judge me harshly for this or think I excuse it. It just happened. It was all I had left to offer.
My Mother lived much of her last fifteen years in one rehab after another. Pretty good ones. One was Hubert Humphrey’s house. He didn't mind, he was dead. Nothing ever took, though, and eventually the effort was extinguished. Her body was gone. She was rejected for transplant. Only the wait remained.
Many times I would go to the gin mills and ale benches and find my mother there, barely hanging on to swirling stools as others sought to avoid her plague and temper their own. I too, was deeply embarrassed and no doubt displayed so in my demeanor. I stopped drinking and attended AA hoping it would bleed over, but she despised me for it and would taint meals with alcohol secretly as a poisoned apple.
Anyway. one day, within six months of her death, I think, I took her out for the day. It was the middle of the week. It was early. I picked her up and took her anywhere she wanted to go. We hit every saloon within fifty miles and in MN, that’s saying a lot. I took her bowling. She had been a great bowler once. We played cards and pulled losing tabs, we sang and danced to the juke box and I refused to be embarrassed. She drank no more than she would have anyway, just not alone. When the day was far gone, I brought her home and put her to bed.
I didn’t kill her. That had happened long before. For one day, I decided to love her just as she was and not judge her. I chose to be a loving son even if wrong in procedure. Until she died, she talked of that day to anyone who would listen. She beamed in remembrance. She had given up hope for being fixed long ago. We all had. When all hope is gone, so is all fear. If fear is gone what threat can then be administered?
I don’t regret that day of hell raising. I regret every day that I was openly ashamed of her. She is my mother and I love her. Wish I had loved her more. Wish I had Held her and told her, 'It's ok. I gotcha."
I was in Seattle when she died. They called me and told me they were gonna pull the plug at six PM. I went to the airport, had a drink to toast finally rest, and watched the clock tick away the minutes of her life as I waited for departure. Just about the time she took her last breath, I was walking toward the gate as two bald men in strange garb hassled me with their flowers. I tried to be polite and then laughed at the irony. I just walked away with my coat over my shoulder, death in the air and Jerry Garcia echoing the runway. What a long strange trip it's been.