First things first: Last month was a lifetime ago. Literally. As those on Facebook might already know, my Mom passed away on January 7. Though she had been sick off and on for about a year, it was never anything "major" that we thought we couldn't fight, despite a couple of days in the hospital in late September and again at Thanksgiving. First it was swine flu, then it was bronchitis, until ultimately we thought it was pneumonia.
As it turns out, we were wrong.
What do you do when you've never met the enemy? When the enemy is sly, cunning, clever? When what looks normal is in fact completely the opposite, a wolf in the guise of not a sheep, but of the very thing you need to survive?
The answer is, you do the best you can. And you keep doing the best you can, until it is clear that you can do no more. The emotional and physical roller-coaster is not buffered by that knowledge, is not made easier in any way, but there is a small measure of comfort in believing that every effort was made. Even if those efforts were unable to save her.
Her memorial service was beautiful, and it was incredible to meet so many folks whom my Mom touched in such profound ways. Wonderful people whom she set on their life's course; friends, family and even distant acquaintances brought together because my Mom influenced them in some way. Her 61 years were far too short, but it cannot be said that she squandered any moment given to her. I just wish there were more to have.
As you can imagine, the events of the past couple of weeks have thrown us all for a pretty big loop. I realize now that part of me still needs this space, that although I plan to devote much more time to other writing pursuits, this blog is a vital outlet that I'm not ready to give up. I appreciated hearing from some folks who enjoy my writing here, but more importantly I was stopped short when I discovered that my Mom had this page bookmarked on her iPhone -- I had no idea that she read it. That alone is enough for me to keep going here.
We're in recovery mode right now, and at this point stuff just feels ... mechanical. I answer emails, make phone calls, move forward with tasks. But it all feels so surreal, like the last two weeks never happened. Even as I describe events to people who knew her, it is clinical, detached -- partly the legacy of growing up in a medical family, partly the distance now that I'm back in North Carolina, and partly I'm sure the period of rejection that I seem to be in. I know that it is real, but somehow I cannot believe it in my heart, like I just expect to get an email from her, signed in all caps "Love, MOM," at any moment. And still I go on.
So I'm not done here yet after all, and though of course the concentration will still be weighted heavily toward exploits on the bicycle, I think the focus shift that has been happening for a while now internally will likely find an external voice as well. Because ultimately there is a lot of life to live, and to write about and observe, and the monochrome of today will give way to the beautiful blooms that now are just a small sprig struggling to break through the snow.