It's 12:15 or 12:45. The one thing that's been forgotten over time, though little else. I'm asleep on the couch when I'm shaken awake. If that was 4 hours it sure didn't feel like it. I awake to my father. "I think she is gone, but with my allergies, I can't tell." I'm summoned to perform one more feat for my mother: Declare her death. I go to her room and pull on the stethoscope. For the first time ever, I hear nothing through it as I move the chest piece around. Silence. Dead silence.
Phone calls are made. My brother is told of mom's final departure. The place where my mother's remains would go comes with a hearse at 4:30. The stretcher won't fit down the turn in the hall, so five of us must wrap her body and carry her to the stretcher. It's 5:30 by the time her body is being rushed off to some university some place to be poked and prodded and studied before being returned to us as ashes in a jar.
It's that time of the year again. It started earlier this year for reasons I'm only beginning now to understand. On Sunday I met with a friend in his 50s who expects to be listed in the obits later this week as the surviving son of his mother. In talking with him, my mother's coming anniversary started coming sooner. Usually I'm distracted on the 29th, the 30th, the 31st and occasionally into August 1st. This process will be repeated on August 7th. But this year - it came early.
In quiet moments at work and even in moments of a ton to do, my mind is in a house in Fremont 7 years ago. My mind is drawn to that memory, and others just like it - where I failed to save and protect my mother. Despite three years of wonderful psycho therapy, I come back to being a lonely 13 year-old boy unable to stop his mother from attempting suicide; a powerless 17 year-old unable to convince people to buy Avon on a cold met Saturday in April; a 20 year-old who needed to go on a mission despite her desire to deal with the separation by more suicide attempts; then lastly a weak 24 year-old - unable to stop the cancer or ease her pain. In the end, it was I who got to say and confirm "Mother is dead." One more time I couldn't stop her from succumbing to the ills that fought against her. One more time, I failed my mother. And I can't change it.
I try in these days to focus on the positive. With her no longer needing my feeble attempts to care for her, I have been able to go to college, graduate from BYUI, start a wheelchair sports program at BYUI, become a vital member of a power wheelchair soccer team, help hundreds of children adapt to their disabilities and assist a few hundred adults learn to over come their disabilities. But still, for this week every year my thoughts come back to this time 7 years ago and I get distracted. I was distracted in the temple last night, unable to focus on the prayers or the blessings. Tonight Amy came by to bring comfort and as I made out with her and then cuddled with her I found - despite usually being in a euphoric state of stressless ease - I found myself going back to a time in my life when my mother died, and I declared it.
On Monday I subconsciously bought a lego set. Something I've always done while I'm depressed. Since Monday, I've already bought another. My fast food intake is on the rise again as well (I'll start training for my charity ride in August).
Thursday will be a day of work. I took Friday off (Kathryn and I are going hiking). But it won't matter where I'm at or what I'm doing - I know from experience that my mind will be some where else - in a quiet room with me desperately wanting to find a pulse or a heart beat and at the same time wishing to fail my mother no more.
Lessons from Fall - Summer is my favorite time and every year I feel punched in the gut when I realize it’s really going to end. But then once I reconcile myself to the chang...
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