I am tired tonight, but I want to be very tired when I go to bed. Because I don't want to toss and turn and think too much. I might be prone to do that because it was on this night, two years ago, in the early hours of the new day, that my mother passed from this earth.
Last year on this day, I wrote her a letter. I wrote in long hand on paper. I don't exactly know what I wrote or where the letter is. I do know that I wrote it to her as if she were going to read it. It was a way of communicating feelings, a way of honouring her life, a way of commemorating her passing, a way for me to try to deal with my own thoughts and emotions.
She was a difficult woman, my mother: somewhat of a misfit in this world. Perhaps many of us are but some more so than others. It was this side of her that led to much ambivalence on my part: loyalty mixed with anger and vexation. At times, she exasperated and hurt. I don't think she ever meant to hurt, but I do think that she missed some sort of step in her normalization process, and that led to her being this way.
She had been diagnosed with breast cancer three years prior. She had known about a lump for quite a while but had demurred. She put her inaction down to the fact that she was enjoying the calm after my father's passing. He had suffered from dementia in his last few years, and that had been difficult for her to cope with.
We were none of us keen that she opted to have an operation when she was nearing her mid-eighties, but she was scared of cancer and went ahead with the procedure. Apparently, she thought that cancer must necessarily involve a lot of pain, never realizing that pain could be pretty well managed these days. In the end, she died of cancer anyway, and, ironically, without much pain at all. The occasional regular strength tylenol seemed to be all the medication that she needed, up until the very end at least.
As I said, we were none of us keen about her decision to have the operation, but, in retrospect, I believe that it was a good thing. It gave her a few more years to live, and I think she became, at least in part, a different person in that time. She seemed to become more appreciative of her family, more mellow in many ways.
She took a while to get over the operation, but the very last year of her life seemed to be a very good one. I think it was her new attitude. There was something different. She was more positive, more appreciative, nicer to be around. She became a more endearing person.
I am glad that it happened that way. She had left some pain in her wake, but at least a portion of that was able to fade a little by the end as she became somewhat kinder, more considerate and empathetic.
Don't get me wrong. She was never an awful person, just very difficult at times. However, she became less exacting by the end. Besides, whatever the struggles and turmoil, she was my mother. An unbreakable bond exists in that relationship. And so I mourn, and I stay awake for a while longer and keep some sort of a vigil, just as I did at her deathbed two years ago tonight.