It was my intention to go home on Friday, lock the doors, close the blinds, and sleep until Mother’s Day passed. Don’t tell me how unhealthy it is to isolate. I already know that. It doesn’t matter anyhow. The universe had other plans.
As I walked to my car on Friday after a great lunch with my best friend, I saw the Green River Mile under my Mazda Tribute. Not the movie. The long green rolling river of antifreeze that started at my car’s radiator and ended at Prestone Lake. My friend drove me to the Shell station where I stocked up on antifreeze, refilled the reservoir, and tentatively eased my car to the repair shop around the corner. I had to depend on Bob for transportation.
That really isn’t a bad thing. I am in love with Bob; he is the one of the most cheerful and supportive people I know. But I didn’t want to be cheered or supported. I longed to be left alone, to return like a wounded animal to her den. I wanted to mourn.
This is the 3rd Mother’s Day since my son Jack died. I hate the day and I feel bad that I hate the day. I have so much to be grateful for and have so many people who love me and I don’t count that lightly. But I didn’t want to feel grateful or to count blessings. I yearned for the impossible.
In 2008, I became acquainted with a woman who lost her only child in 2004. She was frozen in grief. Most of our conversations started and ended in tears. Her sorrow was a physical presence. There were times when I thought, and thank heavens, didn’t say that she needed to move forward with her life, release some of the sadness. January 15, 2009 has taught me that there’s no timeline on this grief.
I spent the week-end helping Bob clean house and do laundry, running errands with him. I went to an AA meeting. I said the Serenity Prayer about 1,000 times. I told Bob that I didn’t want to spend Mother’s Day with anyone else’s children which was unkind but honest. I have moments when I realize that saying yes when I don’t mean it can generate battery acid resentment. In the end, I got to spend about 20 minutes alone in my home before Bob came back from a store run.
I survived; but my throat felt strangled with choked back sobs, my chest was in an asthmatic grip, and my eyes were exhausted from blinking back tears. Why do I think I need to do that? Why can’t I just have a good cry and go on? I felt like I had some kind of achy flu on Monday and blamed the grief, but it diffused over the day and I woke feeling normal on Tuesday. My experience is that emotion comes out sideways if it isn’t released, but I didn’t succumb to road rage or ax murder. Maybe it helped to just let it be and know that I have no more control over my stupid car’s cooling system than I do over the loss of my child.
But a little money and expertise will fix the car. Being a child lost mother on Mother’s Day? There’s no fix for that. Even time is just an aspirin.