“She’s too young to see that as we gather losses, we may also grow in love;as in passion, the body shudders and clutches what it must release.”

15 Apr

Mother I wish…..

I wish many things. I wish you had explained things to me better. I wish I would have known more than that nebulous “I’m sick”, wish I would have truly known what Cancer meant-not in terms of rogue cells and less than functional cures, but in the human cost, in terms of what I was to lose.

Or perhaps it’s better that I didn’t.

Mother, I wish you had told me you loved me. My ears don’t remember hearing those words. I know you did-my core knows that you loved me and wished for me and asked for me and one day I was there for you to love me. But I can’t recall hearing the words pass your lips. I have no notes in your handwriting, no secret messages left encoded in the wallpaper. I have one thing in my possession that crossed your fingers, and I treasure it, even if I can rarely bring myself to touch it.

Mother, I wish you had told me about love, about how it cuts both ways, how it endangers me. I wish you had told me it was worth it, so I wouldn’t have wasted years convincing myself it wasn’t, and that I was unworthy and unready.

Mother, I wish you would have told me how wonderful finding your one true love was.

I wish you would have had “the talk”. You know the one. Instead, I learned from cold books, hidden in a corner of a library where no one would find me. I wish you would have left some warning about cramps and blood and sex so I wouldn’t have felt so bloody alone curled up on a damp bathroom floor crying.

Mother, I wish you would have told me about you, your past, who you were before your family became the second part of your life. I saw drawings, art-were you an artist? What dreams did you have? You had dreams, a farm girl from southern Ontario, I’m sure you wanted to escape. Was my father your escape on Saturday in a Drugstore?

I do so wish you would have told me how much I would come to love my children, how much you loved yours. I wish I had a piece of your love to carry on with me, to share with my children, something more real than my stories. If only you had written something down for me to carry forth.

I wish you had admitted you were dying before it was too late. You had such hateful hope, and this hope prevented you from truly preparing us, for saying those things we needed to say. This hope kept you from preparing for a future you were not in. That hollow fucking place I’m finally out of. I’m so very angry with you for this. You didn’t want to face what was happening. I admire your bravery, but I’m angry at how you left us.

Mother, I wish you would have seen a second doctor when Dad told you to, when you first found that lump. I wish you would have taken it seriously, even if the doctor didn’t. You had such faith in these people! They fucked up your leg as a teenager, and they fucked up your life as an adult. Why did you believe in them so?

Mother, I wish I would have just appreciated you while you were there, instead of being the shitty little kid I was somedays. Dad would tell me to knock it off, and I just didn’t get it. Not really. It hurt, not understanding why we couldn’t go places, why you couldn’t get out of bed. Why you took so many pills and spent your days getting sick.

Mother, I wish I could have shown more compassion, more love. I wish I would have been more loving, but I just didn’t understand. Even I couldn’t yell those words, those “I love you’s!” until the machines were winding down. I was scared that if I said it, you’d die.

I guess I was right.

Mom, more than anything, I wish I had known you. I have fleeting memories of a talented, strong woman, but I never knew you. I’m told that I was always by your side, your constant companion. I’m told that you loved me more than anything, loved your family to distraction.

Mom, I wish I knew these things for sure, and not just in my mind, and sometimes even my heart.

I wish I didn’t miss you.

I wish we had beaten that cancer.

I wish things had been different, and you were still here, making your legendary poppy seed cake instead of me cursing the world that made you never write the bloody recipe down. Cursing a world in which the taste of that cake is as mythical as your voice.

I wish your knew your grand-daughters, their songs, their games, their idiocies.

Mom, sometimes, I just wish…..


(Title is a fragment from a fantastic poem by Julia Spicher Kasdorf)

8 Responses to ““She’s too young to see that as we gather losses, we may also grow in love;as in passion, the body shudders and clutches what it must release.””

  1. Bon April 16, 2008 at 8:04 am #

    the longing and acceptance in this both leave me raw, Thor. i wish the rest of us had something to offer to fill that hollow place, but to try would dishonour, i think. just let me say how beautifully written this is, and how i hope someone who reads it remembers it if and when their own lump is found, and is able to learn from your words a little.

  2. Hannah April 16, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Lately your posts are so… I don’t know the word. For some reason that mythical poppy seed cake went right to my heart. Sometimes it is the smallest things that resonate the loudest. Sending you love.

  3. thordora April 16, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    I stomp around the house about that cake. She made that thing for everyone-except us. We got to eat the ones that were burnt or weird. And it was this super secret recipie too….

    It’s just this symbol of what I can’t have, that nebulous memory that I can’t quite grasp…

    but thank you, both of you.

  4. marcelarhodus April 16, 2008 at 5:31 pm #

    as I read your post and feel a lump in my throat, I can only think that I should make notes and incorporate them into how I talk to my kids and mother them… I hope that through what I’m learning from you, my children never know your pain Thor.

  5. Lisa April 16, 2008 at 6:46 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. This gives me a lot to think about…

  6. Jenn April 18, 2008 at 7:19 am #

    Such a passionate plea for things that cant be. Sometimes in life we make decisions based on no logic at all. Like you said “I was scared that if I said it you would die” Perhaps she felt the same… If I write it I will die. Maybe she thought about writing you those letters to help you carry on or that super secret recipy, but was afraid if she did that she would be accepting death and in her love for you wanted nothing more than to be there to tell you all of those things and teach you to make that cake.

    Sometimes our denial holds us back from accepting our fate and doing what we know we should until it is too late and the opportunity has passed. I am sorry for your loss, there is nothing more tragic than a mother passing and leaving behind young children. I would put everything I have on her love for you. Her love for her family and I would bet that she would have given anything to watch you grow up. In fact I think she did, and if you look hard enough and allow it in you will get her messages to you, embedded in a place your pain and grief are not allowing you to see. I bet she was laying on that bathroom floor with you, smiling gently with full knowledge that you would find your way through.

    For good measurement here I would just like to say that at 30 years old I still want to curl up on the bathroom floor and cry each time aunt flow shows up!

    Thor, beyond your pain and grief there is a very strong, loving and intelligent woman and I think your mother is very proud of the woman you have become.

  7. thordora April 18, 2008 at 8:27 am #

    oh Jenn, making me cry at work just isn’t allowed.

    Thank you.

  8. Jenn April 19, 2008 at 6:50 pm #

    You are welcome…. sorry I made you cry

    A line from one of my favorite songs … dont hide your tears they were sent to wash away those years….

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