My writing has had to take back seat lately, mostly due to the illness and death of my mother, Judy Mae Davey. (That’s her as a teenager up there, having just won the Strawberry Social.) In fact, this post is probably the longest piece of fresh writing I’ve done in months, barring the obituary. I admit, I feel a bit rusty. The weight of all the unwritten words is beginning to wear on me.
She’d already beaten cancer once, and was battling its return. I’m not going to drag you down with the excruciating details of her passing, but I will say that it was a profound event, even though (and possibly because) we all knew it was coming. I will also add that if I had any qualms about giving people the right to choose life and death on their own terms (which I didn’t) I certainly have none now. Right after it happened, I took to Facebook and wrote a post that was atypically serious and bold:
Dying with dignity legislation can’t come soon enough. Cowardice of one sort or another mustn’t prevent us from showing each other the same kind of mercy we’d show our pets, or the autonomy over ourselves we expect as human beings.
It was not lost on me, the cruel coincidence that my mother passed away whilst politicians were fumbling with the issue of physician-assisted death.
After it happened, I felt dazed. Not overcome by sadness, nor by relief, just a spacey fog that I couldn’t shake. That soon transitioned into a panicky feeling about my own mortality. I’ve always been an existentialist, but my mother’s death really lit a fire under me, cerebrally, anyway. You never know what form grief will take.
While I don’t remember it, I’m told I was a real ‘mama’s boy’ when I was little. I believe it; in the past, I’ve shown a *slight* tendency to get overly-attached to people. Later in life, my mother and I didn’t always agree or even understand each other, but those are just details. Love is love, your mother is your mother.
Now my family is trying to pick ourselves up and move on, even though there’s a void in all of our lives. It’s tough. My father has to forge a new path without someone that he spent every day with for most of his life. All of the grandkids no longer have a grandma. My sisters and I lost the person who made us.
We are human beings, and we carry on. We go to work or school or wherever, and we do the things we’ve always done, but it will be some time before this newly-empty world feels like home. Now go hug someone you love.