As I entered the hospital to see my mother, a million thoughts ran through my head, and so many feelings -- of loneliness, sadness, anger, defeat.
My mother had just died, and I was going to see her after years of voluntary absence.
I was going to see her just as much for her as for me, because somewhere in my mind, I do believe the spirits watch us and know. And I wanted my mother to know that, although I had divorced myself from her and her life many years ago, I still cared.
Before I was allowed to enter the room where my mother lay, I had to put on a gown, mask and gloves because she was a MRSA carrier. Even in death, her germs were contagious, to be avoided.
So, I put the protective clothing on, and entered her room, and there she lay, bathed in the hospital lamplight over her head. She looked like she was sleeping, her mouth open, eyes lightly closed, hands clasped over her chest. She looked so tiny, fragile, mouth open like a tiny baby bird. Tears in the corners of her eyes. Asleep, but no breath.
And so she was, a tiny baby bird, always a child. Unable to do for herself. And unable to love herself, or anyone else.
I stood there by her side and touched her hand through my glove. Still warm.
My life with my mother was always guarded, always scary. I was never allowed to get too close to her, to get to know her, to love her.
There I stood, covered from head to toe, protected from her still.
In life, through harsh words and hateful actions. In death, through mere cloth.
I am a 46-year-old mom of two amazing children and wife to a wonderful and very patient man, and a lucky friend to many. I am a Realtor and a writer, but have also been a journalist, editor, and daycare provider. Not every day is a good day, but I sure try to keep smiling.