who eats the garden peas
Feb 25th. Why did I write that? Because my mind really doesn’t know. Might as well be February although it is actually June… no, it’s not, it’s July. July. Not February. July 25th. And what does it even matter.
Sunday. I’m sitting at a typewriter because I had the house to myself for a few minutes and thought I should write what was on my mind before it slipped away. Your sisters are off to Toronto. Nice that they have each other. I hope they can talk to each other. I know we don’t talk about you. They’ve become a part of that group of people in my life that I have to guard against - the ones who can’t allow my pain or that I don’t feel safe with expressing my pain. That breaks my heart. I don’t trust my interpretations and I don’t believe my observations anymore so I hesitate and hold. Everything is like that.
I guess I’ve thought that my grown daughters were also my dearest of friends. I see now that this isn’t so. They are my cherished daughters, just like you, always and forever, but that doesn’t mean they are a friend I can lean on. They are grieving in a way that looks pale and anaemic to me. And who the hell am I to judge? I don’t want them to do anything or be anything but please, oh please, can they say your name?! SAY HER NAME! TELL ME A STORY. TELL ME YOU’RE SAD!!!
I fell in a hole in the last few days. I don’t remember when but here I am. This black hole with slippery slides. I’m looking around for something to pull myself up and out but I just see slippery mud all around me. The light at the top is not even a pinhole. So, I just sit on the damp earthen floor and let it soak me to the bone.
Who am I now? Liminal, that’s the word. A threshold. I am not me, not who I was but I’ve become nothing solid either. I, the mama that held you in your grave, remained. Past tense. That Tara, that mother, died when you did. So now what? Who am I? I was a mother at 21 years old. I was nothing before that. I was defined and consumed with that role for 28 years and now it’s gone. Now I am not a mother. Now I leave that role with a failing grade. Twenty-eight years wiped away. I thought I was doing it right, but here I am, and here you are not.
I woke up in the middle of the night with “Miso” sounding in my head. There was a storm, one you would have delighted in. Were you delighting? There was a tapping on the window from the driving rain. I was so tired. Always so bone tired now. I thought you might be waking me up. Should I do something? Go outside? Go stand under the starless night and let the rain batter my useless body? What!? What should I do?! I tried to go back to sleep but again and again the rain tapped at the window asking for my attention.
This world I have found myself wandering is a torment. What is there here, now? Distractions for a few seconds, an anvil of desperate sadness that has displaced the life giving organs in my body. Lungs and heart and guts all jammed to my throat, no room anymore in the cavity of my body when there is this grief to carry. Grief. Grief, grief grief grief seeping all over me like tar. Tentacles reaching into my every cell like a mycelium of decay come in to consume the death I am filled with.
Take me with you. You probably don’t want me.
Where are you, please? They prayed for your soul in a mass at church yesterday. My Auntie Anne set that up. Her husband was Uncle Ludwig and we all loved him. He was always quick to laugh and tell us he had our noses (his thumb pinched between his fingers, really) and he called us “turkey”. He smelled like diesel and whisky. He was my favourite uncle. Do you know of him? Have you met him? Does it work that way?
I am nothing now. Just murky, lukewarm, stagnant wateriness. I have no form. No colour. No smell or life-source. There is no movement in me. I just sit in this small pool, baking under the sun, dissipating into nothingness. That’s me. Soon all that will be left is the dried and broken clay bottom of what once was. Nothing to replace it. Nothing good to become of it. That’s it, that’s all, just a suggestion that something was once there. I don’t even care.
I care about nothing. I hope I die. If God decided it was my time now, that would be just fine by me. What is there here? There’s nothing I want to do or be anymore. There is no joy in knowing you are out there, forging your own path, using your talents and genius to create a beautiful life for yourself. Babies that will never be. Oh, what a mother you would have been. Never will be. Never will be. Never will be. Never will be.
How does that feel? Never will be. Burn, baby, burn. I let words and thoughts batter me. Might as well. It’s the truth, right. Hold truth tight. There’s no comfort in pretending, not for me. It’s just an endless parade of hellish truth. I ripped out all of the garden peas and fed them to the turkeys. I planted so many this year because last year you kept eating them. I even got mad at you about it. This year, they wrinkled and yellowed on the vine. Nobody to eat them. Each shrivelled pea an arrow of regret in my heart.
Why grow anything. There’s nothing growing anyway.
Let’s trade. My life for yours. Just hang on for a little bit. Life is shit when you’re 18. You think you have it all figured out and then it’s still shitty and we think it’s because we are abject failures. I thought that once, too. But push through that part and there are things waiting. Did you not know that? Remember the stories I told you? I was a moron. You were not a moron.
Oh, Mila, everything just aches for you. I ache for all of you, over all those years. All of the littleness and sweetness and vulnerable innocence. I ache for the little girl that believed in the tooth fairy for all those years. Were you betrayed when you found out the truth? I ache for the little girl that believed in magic and mysticism, in talking cats, and listening to her intuition to guide her. Was this world too much? Too cruel? Was it just right and as it should be?
I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry. Forgive me. Forgive me. Don’t forgive me. I don’t deserve it.
I love you with whatever is left of me. My precious baby girl. My baby. You have with you whatever was good in me as a mother, please throw away my failings with a generous hand. I remain here, the bleached bones of Tara being plucked at by turkey vultures bit by bit. I don’t care. Let them take what they want.