February 23, 2014

Ties and Fears

My mother has always been the strength to this household. She is, quite simply, the life and the weight of my home. She brings to it her generous warmth and her loving ways, without so much as asking for anything in return. Quite like most mothers I know. 
But what makes her special is her scars. She is a warrior, who fought to be with her family. She didn't brush off her illnesses or consider it a weakness and give up; she fought. Every day that we saw her lie with tubes and needles puncturing her soft skin, she smiled at us with hope and reassured us with her kind eyes that she was fighting the pain. And we fought harder for her. We stayed awake through sleepless nights, took turns to stay with her and all the while offered each other strength to pull through what turned out to be the hardest days of our lives. I, for one, was particularly heartbroken during this time, and broke down the minute I saw her in the ICU with a ventilator and a central line drip that connected into her neck. Absolutely heartbroken.

Daddy leaves for Paris in a few days. And although he's been traveling most of my life, I somehow feel strangely nostalgic this time. I fear for his health, as he's been quite frail over the last few years. I hope that he will allow himself to enjoy the French countryside and the food. I wish that he stops to see the magnificence of everything Paris and the lights. I want him to miss us.

He hasn't left on an extended assignment in over three years, and now I have this lump in my throat as I help him pack.

What is it about our parents growing older that unnerves us so much? About knowing that you'll eventually have to move away from them and not have that familiar cushion anymore? About dreading seeing them in pain, or being too far away and missing out. Of finally understanding that they're human. 

I'm only coming to understand the bane of my adulthood now, but I know no matter where we are in the world, my parents and I will always be connected through our stories and the love we'd had for each other since the day I was born. That separation would truly only ever be physical. That I'll always find them close to me when I need them. I know that leaving them physically would never mean letting go of them.
And that offers me some solace in a cold world.

Incredibly, with both of them now alive, I finally feel it, too! (And I don't just mean "alive" in its most banal or rudimentary sense. I mean, alive!) The amazing feeling you get when you wake up every day, knowing life is worth living for! That life is a daily celebration of all things small and significant. Knowing that there will always be people to love you, people to look around corners for you, people who will never give up on you. That compelling sense of freedom that renders you forever hopeful of everything! Always knowing to look out for better days, in hope that it will come. And stay. 

That's how alive they are. And how I always hope to be. 


protophile said...

Nicely written Arch! I do hope your mum gets better soon and conquers whatever is plaguing her, the part about being alive really reminded of this quote from "On the road" by Jack Kerouac:

'They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as
I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only
people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to
talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones
that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like
fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars
and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes

Keep writing... Cheers!

Velvetta said...

I just want to say thank you, Dusty.
And *hugs* :)