Over the last fifteen years, I have had a love/hate relationship with the holidays of Mother's and Father's Day. I think a fair amount of it is spawned from the fact my x and I split up right before our first wedding anniversary, her first official Mother's Day. In fifteen years, I have had only one full Father's Day with my daughter.
Then there's the social construct; for a few years, I noticed media would run heroic stories of moms on Mother's Day. Those who worked so hard and still made time for their offspring. On Father's day, stories were told of the deadbeats. For quite awhile, if I mentioned I was a divorced single father, I would be greeted by the what did you do? How did you fuck it up? look, because, as the social construct of reality dictates, it's always the man's fault, even when it isn't.
I'm sure those playing the home game are quite well aware of my disdain for the social construct of reality...
"Well you're quite a mutha too," my mother would tell me jovially when we'd speak on Mother's Day. In my family, I being a single parent, I got acknowledgments on both holidays, but it didn't really detract from my dislike of them.
There is bitter sweetness that comes with this Mother's Day. All the elder matriarchs are all gone now. On days like this in times like these, the full sensation of the void comes into vivid resolve. My great grandmother, my grandmother, and now my mother are ashes, dust, bones, and memories. I suppose I should mention my father's mother too, since she has also walked on, although we were not as close.
Sure, my aunt and female matriarchal relatives on the southern side still all draw breath. Well, as far as I know. See, they only exist on the peripheral fringes of the horizon of my existence. It's rare as hen's teeth any of them enter into the mathematics of my thoughts.
My sister gave birth to my nephew almost two weeks ago. It's a strange thought to contemplate that my baby sister is now a mother. Stranger still, the fact she is now the matriarch of my family.
On Mother's Day, I will phone my sister to wish her a happy first Mother's Day. It feels like the right thing to do, despite the fact it might almost break my heart to do so, given the context of those who have walked on before. Some, far too recently for my comfort. I will also wish my sister a happy first wedding anniversary, given that date falls on the same day as Mother's Day.
An equation within the mathematics of my thoughts is a song. When my mother went into the sickhouse, my brother and I were talking. We were both possessed of bad feelings and dark thoughts, though we hoped so desperately to be wrong. For me, the only woman I've been related to by blood who went into a sickhouse and came back out has been my sister. My brother, consumed by anger and guilt, was convinced the doctors were lying to all of us as to the gravity of our mother's illness at the time.
My brother mentioned the song. One we both knew and liked. For my brother, it came out when he was an adolescent and arguing a fair amount with our mother. He told me, because of the lyrics, he would never be able to listen to the song again.
I have. I did a night or two after my mother's memorial, finishing a bottle of whiskey I had at the time. That small tumbler did nothing to restrain the mist forming on the surface of my waxmoon reptile eyes. So it goes.
For some reason, that song seems like a fitting present to those memories cast out into the either. Those matriarchs who have since walked on. There is a resonance I see there, which I cannot put into language.
"Hey, I ain't never coming home.
Hey, I'll just wander my own road.
Hey-hey, I can't meet you here tomorrow - no, no.
Say goodbye don't follow -
Misery so hollow.
Hey you, you're livin' life full throttle.
Hey you, pass me down that bottle, yeh...
Hey-hey you, you can't shake me round now.
I get so lost and don't know how, yeh...
It hurts to care, I'm goin' now.
Well I forgot my woman, lost my friends
Things I've done and where I've been,
Sleep in sweat - the mirror's cold -
Seen my face? It's growin' old -
Scared to death, no reason why
Do whatever to get me by,
Think about the things I've said
Read the page its cold and dead
An' take me home!
Yeah! Take me home!
Oh-oh... take me home
Take me home, yeah.
Take me home. Yeah, oh.
Say goodbye. Don't follow..."-Alice in Chains
Beyond that, I find I have no further words...