Should start with today, then will move about…4/24 marks the anniversary of the day my mom died. She was the one diagnosed with a terminal illness, but who outlived my dad by 12 days & my brother by 8 months. So today marks the day that the crisis ended. The day that I became not only an only child, but an orphan. I’d refrained from losing my shit for the entire 8 months. I cried some and felt really really badly, or course. But I had to be available for the work of being there for my parents and then for my mom. And for years before I’d had to be there keeping my brother out of trouble. Always a bill collector to reckon with. a fight to break up. A detox to drag him to. Then my parents heartbroken over his suicide. My dad’s o.d. Doing all I could to dance with Medicaid and the doctors orders and to honor her own wishes to die at home. 9/11. stereo dementia as each of my parent’s minds failed or perhaps their minds were the graceful vehicle for diffusing the ugly realities before them.
I thought to lose it a few times. Felt like I should. Crash the car or throw the t.v. out the window or return to my the drug suit I’d worn out years earlier or have a full-fledged breakdown. My first few minutes alone after they took her peaceful body away I did scream very loudly and throw a few things around. Pictured the whole , crowded living room in shards. Then I realized that, as had been the case for so long, I was the one that would have to clean it up.
Then it was over. And then it began.
I think of her laughter all the time. she sketches thru my pencil. She kvells over the grandsons she never met as she looks on adoringly thru my eyes. She marvels at my survival. she forbids me to be normal. She musters my courage. she points out the majesty in this ugly world & she shows up in my songs. Wish she were here.
Eve Meltzer Branitz 6/24/25-4/24/02