In the midst of leftover emotions
When my mother died she was a shell of the fiery, domineering, feisty woman that she used to be with all semblance of human-ness plucked out. What was left was an empty carcass that behaved somewhat like a human being. Every time I saw her, a steaming pile of emotions hit me in the face and the only way I could deal with it was not to dwell on them for too long. And like nimble footed elves they scurried away to hide in the recesses and corners of my sub-conscious. Oh, they were quick to hide and stay hidden, but every once in a while one would pop up to let me know that they were not going anywhere, anytime soon.
Leftover emotions, like leftover food have a staleness about them and the odour tends to cling on like sticky cobwebs that leave behind strands. Wading through them can be exhausting. The coiled clusters of emotions that I carried around with me left me defeated and exhausted over the years. They were of no use but I couldn’t get rid of them with a clean, swift stroke like a warrior severing off a gangrenous limb.
Humour is an amazing tool. I’ve used it well occasionally. My mother’s could be biting and sarcastic without intending to evoke laughter. But sometimes it did and I think it surprised her. That’s why her sudden bursts of strange laughter when she was gradually losing herself, unsettled me. Was she really laughing? Did some part of her understand the point of it or was she just echoing the laughter of the others. It was like she was going after an illusion, except that the illusion was what she used to be.
Chasing emotions can be an extreme sport. Looking into memories, feelings, thoughts…oh, it’s nasty! But it needs to be done. However bloodcurdling the results. I felt the full weight of it all while trying to figure out why my mother gradually devolved from being a human with a life into an entity who just existed. There were days when the guilt was bruising and I could almost smell my deep resentment bordering on the hatred, for her. In this gush of negativity I sometimes caught a whiff of sadness for what could have been and the unfairness of it all.
Watching a person standing at the precipice of a mental downfall is one of the most frightening things. The brain and mind are not in coordination and in the process they leave the person floundering. I stood among the remains of my mother’s fading mind watching her drift through the remaining years of her life on the shoulders of household help with whom she had a relationship that was more hate than love. Her love for all things beautiful remained lost somewhere in the dregs of her destroyed brain cells.
Did they make a valiant effort to be heard?
Perhaps in another life they will come alive again. For now they have gone…with her.