The Call of the Siren was silent in the past several weeks as my mom’s health turned and we lost her — just as 2013 locked its doors and turned out the lights.
When a loss is coming, we prepare for the worst — for the pain and sorrow. We rarely think about silver linings. That’s why, aside from grief and shock, I was surprised to find myself living the circularity of myth in her last days and in the days after.
I’m talking about the kind of circularity represented by the Phoenix, or that Lisa Ohlen Harris describes at the end of her book The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-Law’s Memoir of Caregiving (Texas Tech University Press). Of her mother-in-law Jeanne, Harris writes:
I miss Jeanne. I do. We’ve started a new life in a beautiful place because Jeanne died and released me from caregiving. Now instead of learning side effects to medications, I am memorizing the names of the trees and mountain ranges and the April flowers springing up in my garden.
I’ve just pulled off my gloves and am brushing damp soil from the knees of my jeans when I hear geese. I tilt my head up and raise a hand to shield myself from the rain as I peer into the sky and see the flock overhead, winging and honking and flying free to their summer home.
Her ending pulled me like a magnet, and I wanted to share the last grafs about renewal with you, my friends, even though I have nothing else to say.
It just feels good to feel the keypads under my fingers.
For more of Ohlen Harris’ ruminations, visit her blog here.