Her eyes, once all sparkly like a mossy sea in sunshine, are dull, still clear but there’s no spark, little colour. Focussed on me, she wasn’t seeing me – not really.
“He’ll hate me more than ever if I go now, but I want to. I’m tired. I’m leaving such mess and am sorry about that but the longer I’m here the bigger the mess’ll get, so there’s no time like the present, I guess.”
Maybe one more day?
“No. I’ve had too many ‘one more days’ and they’ve made no difference. I’m getting further and further away from doing anything worthwhile.”
What’s worthwhile, anyway? It’s highly overrated, I think.
“No. It’s important to live with passion, express yourself. You know – do things that matter.”
And you haven’t done that?
Would your kids agree?
“Their opinion of my life doesn’t matter. Any fool can have a baby, and some fools make better caretakers than others is all. Just like most things. Parents are a crazy invention. Families are okay, but we expect so much from parents now, and the kids, too. Who can live up to it? Whatever happened to the basics of care and nurture, encouragement and support? Now it’s all expectation and tossing guilt back and forth if things don’t work out. Work out for who? Nah, my failures have nothing to do with my kids. Neither do my successes. I made choices. They are doing the same. They are not infants and don’t need mother’s milk now. In the end, it’s always about making choices you think best for you really. Few of us are truly altruistic enough to give a rat’s ass about anybody but ourselves.”
Her eyes closed and a slow rhythmic breath told me she was sleeping. Her fingers, resting on my palm, were soon wet with my tears, tiny rivers flowing between the protruding blue veins. Please don’t go. Please don’t go. Please…
Oh, how the heart aches at unwanted goodbyes, breaching into the void hoping to alter its course. I loved her but knew it was her time. She was detaching and couldn’t find a way to connect back. Once she was filled with light, was audacious. Camps were drawn around her. She was loved and hated almost equally. But she was being honest when she said she’d failed. She had closed too many doors, walked away from too many chances, hidden away in fear. She was putting out her light. Her shame was not born of guilt though, it was of surrender. It was time for her to leave room for another, ‘try again if karma exists’ she said, or just wave the white flag and let the chips fall where they may.
“Did I upset you?”
“Good. I loved my children with a love they will never understand because I did not express it well. I was too unconventional. That is my biggest regret, you know, that I did not love better. Perhaps next time.”
Do you believe there’ll be a next time?
“I’m not sure. I know I’m energy and particle moves on forever, but no, I’m not sure” she said, looking straight at me, then down.
“You’ve been crying.”
Please don’t go! I’ll scoop you up and hold you till you find a way! I’ll make it right. I’ll make it better, okay? I WILL DO ANYTHING! Please don’t go! PLEASE.
“I love you if it matters, if it helps. I want you to know that.” Her other hand reached across and covered mine. I thought I would choke.
It matters. It matters. I love you, too. Does it help to say that?
“It is so lovely to hear such beautiful words,” she said softly. “Farewell…” was barely a whisper drowned out by the primal scream seething in me.
I wish you all the beautiful words, “I love you.”