Several times this past week, walking Leonard at night or in the morning, I catch myself in a discussion with my mother. Then I remember: she’s dead. The realization isn’t a moment of sorrow, but absurdity. I am rehearsing for a moment that will never be, a closure that I will never have.
B. gave me a drawing by Story People: “If you hold onto the handle, she said, it’s easier to maintain the illusion of control.” This image is a person clinging to a kind of oar. “It’s more fun if you just let the wind carry you.”
When I catch myself in the discussion, I mentally release my grip, one finger at a time, from the weird fantasy I have had all these years: this running inner dialogue that has become a kind of subconscious tick. Maybe even a kind of hopeful prayer? Against all conscious logic, the conscious acceptance of the situation of the past 30-odd years.
It’s over. It’s never over. I open my hand again to drop the practice, like a prayer bead, like an oar. Only to find it in my hand again.
Maybe this is the underlying conflict/drama in all of our lives: the continuous grasping and letting go. Against our needy, animal nature. Against our cold, intellectual plans.
I have told myself that once she was dead, I would write a memoir. But I’m suddenly unsure. Unsure of the why of it.
I never wanted the last word.
I wanted the last word to be hers. To be: I’m sorry. Not pity, but acknowledgement and remorse.
Because remorse would entail something of love.