the last resort

I am going to a visitation today.

I haven't been to very many of these in my life.

Even when my own father died a few years ago there was nothing like this for him, in a small town in Maine, and me not even finding out he was alive or dead until two years later......

And last month when my brother died there was no such thing...people asked me about an obituary and I thought to myself, I don't think people on the very furthest fringe of society the way my brother was, the way my father was, I don't think anyone has access to anything like that for them. Where would it have been published? In what town? For what readership? We have been displaced people, each only an individual, scattered to far corners, knowing no one for far too long in my family line for there to be these mechanisms of society in place for us.

Maybe I have broken the curse. My children are connected and grounded. They have roots, they have institutions that recognize them as members. They have me. They have their father the doctor who to his immense credit has been a very good doctor in the same community, well respected and well liked, for all these twenty-five years, and put his children through very good schools from which they all have diplomas. He has been the pillar of strength and stability that I married him to be. I am grateful for him in these huge ways.

So this visitation is for a woman my same age who was always consistently part of the same community where my three children went through the public school system.

She is one of my fellow moms from my years of being a mom who volunteered and car pooled and did all the things that make a community great for raising children. She and I did these things many times in tandem or even shoulder to shoulder, on the school bus out to the zoo for a field trip, going downtown to see a matinee of a traveling Broadway show, all the kids around us giddy with excitement, including our own girls.

She and I each had two daughters the same ages, I also had my son as well.

I taught her youngest daughter how to play the guitar for a while.

Our daughters rode horses together for a while.

This woman my age ended her own life on Wednesday of this past week.

Why?

I know her husband left her I think for the secretary or something like that, but I believe he has, like my children's father, continued to be a supportive father to the girls.

I know that her mother and my mother were similarly unsupportive of us. She and I could go quote for quote competing to see which of our mothers was meaner to which of us. We used to laugh about it.

A couple of times she cried about that. Once I ran into her somewhere and she cried about her husband leaving.

She certainly must have seen me in tears over my circumstances more than once as well.

But this decision, this action.

I didn't know this woman hardly at all in many ways. We were never close friends. I haven't seen her in several years. But I would have assumed she was doing well because she was funny and competent and caring, very caring, of others. She always seemed healthy and fit and strong. She was by all accounts a very good person. 

I want her daughters to keep this off their shoulders.

I want her daughters to let the burden of their mother's act lay down right here at this visitation today.

I want this to lay down where they bury her body.

She must not haunt them with her act.

She must not cloud the sunny skies over their pretty and intelligent and hopeful heads.

I'm going there today in solidarity to those girls.

We among the living can mourn but we cannot take on the tragedies of our departed loved ones.

We must stay clear eyed so that we can see the beauty all around us.

We must be able to see the possibilities, see the other options, see that the trail is still going forward even when obliterated by overgrowth or darkness.

We must remain hopeful and grateful at all times.

I will stand with those girls today and mourn their mother, but I will be praying for the living, all of us, each and every one.

Amen.

Comments

Courtney Yasmineh December 17, 2018 @08:01 am
Thank you Josephine. There is more to follow up in the next post as well. Love to you.
Courtney Yasmineh December 17, 2018 @08:00 am
Petra, I will write more about this today. I love you. We will have joy and appreciate music and life every day! I know we both do this!
Petra Schmidt December 17, 2018 @06:58 am
I do not know exactly what a visitation is, but I think it is very brave of you to go out in solidarity with those girls. I have had the painful experience of losing my father trough suicide when I was almost 19 years old. The question of "why" will stay forever. But nobody can take away my love for him whom I have in my heart. And life goes on indeed.
Josephine Lane December 16, 2018 @11:14 am
Such a sad story. Deepest sympathy to all.
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