melancholy and the infinite sadness

the greatest difference between my mother and i is that she keeps her troubles packed neatly in her chest, and i shrug them off and let them fall where they may. my floor? sometimes you can’t see the carpet for all the chaos. her floor? you can still see the marks left by the vacuum she used a week before, and her chaos isn’t a chaos at all, but a neat and tidy collection of knotted scarves and folded cotton crammed in some container store baskets.

my family’s seen some pretty ugly things in the past few months. my mother doesn’t talk about them with her friends. she’s often irritated with me that i talk to mine about what troubles me.

the difference is, she can lean upon her husband. and i feel guilty leaning on either one of them. so i lean on yall or a close friend.

when my older brother passed away, she told a very finite number of people. most of those who came to the service here, they were friends of his. we told his friends. his. and if my parents were friends with their parents, we told them. one of her longtime friends? they ceased to be friends because the friend was hurt that she’d not been one of the informed. i still don’t get that. they’d been friends for DECADES. good friends. and this perceived slight ruined that for the friend. and it hurt my mother, deeply i think because she truly loved having known this woman.

my mother doesn’t talk. not about stuff like this. it’s death. her firstborn. a child she waited and waited and prayed to have. and her heart… i can understand how and why, for her, this loss, this particular garment would be tucked away at the back of the highest basket where no one can reach it.

when he passed, while we were in colorado putting him in the ground… when one of our neighbors discovered this, she came to our house and walked back and forth, back and forth before it, praying. for my family. for my mother.

in the years since, i’ve become quite fond of this woman. i’ve always admired her.

a few months ago, i learned that this neighbor, she’d developed stage four cancer in her brain.

today i learned the chemo didn’t work. that we will lose her. and my heart…

i don’t even know if you can see these, but, i found some posies for you. i seem to recall your saying you loved these:

my mom used to have a big patch of these in her backyard. they’re gone now, otherwise i would’ve brought you a bunch.

4 responses to “melancholy and the infinite sadness”

  1. Gosh. You're so, so good with words! I'm thinking about you and your mom…I know how it feels to see your mother grieving. It's a heavy burden, especially when you carry your own personal grief…it's shared, yet different.

  2. Yes, I agree with Amber Marie. You do write beautifully, Jen. I'm so sorry about the death of your brother. And now this woman who means so much to you is on a scary path….I don't know if I really believe in miracles or not…but I will say a prayer that she survives. Hugs to you……♥

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