Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A rambling for April (or, 'I don't cry as often as I should')

When I write these days, whether I like it or not, what usually comes out is poetry. But I barely have time to write at all.


I visited my aunt in the hospital on Monday. She'd been there over two weeks, not a word to anyone but her nuclear family, because she was hiding her cancer like it was something she had done wrong. I stepped through the doorway and it felt like someone had body-slammed me back into July of 2012 and my mother was dying all over again. She smiled and asked, "don't I look like myself?", because of how I hesitated. I don't know where I pulled the laughter from as I lied, "of course you do, I just forgot my glasses." Her dreadlocks had been gone since her first secret bout of cancer, but her hair was thinner than ever. Her cheeks, too. I wanted to grab her and run.

I hugged her to hide the tears that were pooling inside me, and then we talked about meaningless things; the way the lack of rain was keeping oranges dry and unappealing, the daily communion services across the parking lot, the cleaner with a strong smell who simply wouldn't smile. I thought about holding her hand, but I didn't. She offered me overripe pawpaw, asked me to to turn on the fan. I thought about asking her what was going on, if the treatments were working, if they had said how much longer she had. Instead I told her about work drama. She told me she had not expected to see me. She didn't say why; I didn't expect to see you because you're not supposed to know. We laughed a lot.

The second I shut the door behind me the tears escaped. I continue to carry my grief over my mother's death like a valuable thing; if I move too vigorously I might break it and God knows I still have no idea what to do with it. But seeing my aunt -- so different from my mother and yet so similar in her refusal to speak of the thing keeping us in that sterile room -- seeing her was wrenching. I was furious that I was crying but the tears would not stop. And even when they did, the anger remained.

My daughter and I made a welcome home banner for her when she came home yesterday. Part of my decision to make that banner was my mom never coming home, I know.

The anger remains.


Now that I have written about seeing my aunt, everything else feels small and foolish. Small and insincere and foolish. I don't have room for more grief. I still don't know how to fit the past tense into sentences with 'my mum' in them. I have no more room for grief. Not my own, not anyone else's. My daughter calls her grandma -- my daughter who uses synonyms and asks after people like she has a right to them, like they don't eventually leave.


Yesterday was the first anniversary of the Chibok Girls' abduction. I cried over them, a few times. I wonder if their parents know what to do with their grief. At least death is final. There is a grave for my mother that I have never felt any desire to return to. What do you do when you don't have even that?

I haven't been able to write anything useful in such a long time - two months? I had business cards made with 'content creator' on them rather than 'writer'. It doesn't mean much of anything, I don't think. Maybe it does. Maybe I just need a break -- or a shrink.