Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Hard to Describe

It’s hard to describe the sound of the loud crash my mother made falling to the floor.

I can’t really put my finger on the look on her face as she struggled to live.

I couldn’t exactly say what color the ambulance lights were as they blurred on my rain-soaked windshield ahead of me in the darkness.

There’s no way I could replicate the way I felt when I saw my dad and my brothers crying at her bedside as she slowly gasped and twitched her way toward death.

How do you even attempt to put into words what comes over you as you feel the warmth leaving your mother’s body as you hold her hand, and stroke her hair, and close her eyes?

It’s impossible to exactly say what little detail we took care of at the funeral home that seemed the most trivial.

It’s anybody’s guess as to why I felt so happy most of the week while family members and old friends poured in from out of town to pay their respects.

The surreal quality of standing next to your mother’s lifeless corpse for hours on end as you laugh and cry with those same family members and old friends is a tough one too.

The lump in my throat was much bigger than I expected as I looked out over the hundreds of people gathered in the church and tried to sum up my 45-year relationship with my mother in five minutes or less.

The weight of my mother’s casket was lighter than I thought, as my brothers, my cousins, and my son, walked her slowly toward the waiting hearse outside the church.

The echo of the bagpipes bouncing “Amazing Grace” off the giant oaks, walnuts, and maples that surround Riverside Cemetery seemed very unfamiliar.

And I’m not sure when it was during the week - maybe the loud crash, maybe her last breath in the hospital, maybe the first time I stepped foot back in the empty house after she died, or maybe visiting her grave later in the day after her funeral - but somewhere, at some point, my childhood died as well.

It’s hard to describe.


  1. But somehow, I think you did describe the event very well. When my Mother passed, all I know is that I was there.

  2. Sorry for you loss. It is hard to lose a parent. Glad you had some good memories with family during the week.