I got home Friday evening and immediately invited three people to dinner for last night. Close friends–Louise and Harrison you met at my last wedding, Rebecca is our friend who lived in Florence. I spent yesterday buying wine, buying food at the Farmers Market, smoking trout, baking bread, making a complicated dish of corn kernels and caramelized onions.
Everyone came over, everyone offered sincere condolences. Darling Harrison, unasked, brought a trumpet and played "Taps" in honor of Polly, with whom he'd corresponded a couple times since they met. We ate dinner (it was fabulous, yay me.)
And then I all of a sudden left the room, went upstairs and got into the daybed that used to be in the living room at Mother and Daddy's house. I didn't even think about it, I didn't tell anyone goodbye, I just collapsed. Glen came up to see what was up and then went down to make apologies.
This morning I feel a little embarrassed, but I also realize that it's the first time I've let go since I got to Dallas for Mother's farewell party. There has always been something to do, or to take care of, whether it was taking care of Mother or Daddy or guests or whatever. Food. Jewelry. Notecards. Post-its. Phone calls.
I slept in the bed next to Mother's every night the last two weeks of her life. The lamp by her bed was always on, all night. Ardis and Diana would try turning it off, but Mother would get restless immediately, so finally we just left it on, right in her face.
I woke up whenever the nurse came in to give her meds, change her diaper, reposition her. I woke up other times just to make sure her little chest was still going up and down. I lay down on the bed after she died, after David and Helen had left, and looked at her awhile to make sure she was dead. I watched them lift her body on the board and put it onto the gurney. I watched them zip the body bag over her face.
So last night, I finally fell asleep with the light on right in my face. I kept waking up disoriented, thinking I was in her room.
I think about Mother every minute.It's not like remembering, it's like she's in my body or in my consciousness. I think about David and Helen and that it must be like that for them, too, and I think about Daddy and how it must be even worse for him.
I just realized today that instead of everything being over, a whole new thing is just beginning that's going to be much harder, because I can't do anything about it. I can only go through it.