An open letter to my late mother

My beautiful Mum – Val.

I am not a mother myself.

I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE to have a piece of my puzzle exist externally.

I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE to lay my soul down on a bed of grief after two cops tell me that my son has died from an overdose.

I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE to put the needs of a baby that I miraculously birthed in front of my own needs.

But I do know the primal aspect of motherhood.  

The wild and untamed roots that live in the core of every woman. The intuition, the cycles and the collective female psyche.

I once watched a documentary about missing British girl, Madeleine McCann.  

A bystander was interviewed on the night she disappeared. 

She relayed the story of McCann’s mother Kate, dropping to her knees outside the resort in Portugal and releasing a primal animalistic howl.

I know that howl like I know the lines on the insides of my palms. 

It’s not a human sound. Its thick, gravelly and disturbing.

It starts at the bottom of the pelvis.

reverberates through the organs 

before being released by the mouth.

Its a howl that worked its way through my body as I laid on the bathroom floor — the night after your death.

You were here. 

But now you are gone.

It’s mindblowing really. The paper-thin door that exists between the dead and the undead, the tangible and the intangible, the darkness and the light.  

Discovering you’d been diagnosed with a ‘Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4 Brain Tumour’ was tough.

But what shattered my spirit irreparably was when I found you in the middle of the night, dragging yourself across the floor to the bathroom.

The tumour was beginning to grow across the motor section of your brain and it was taking your ability to walk, talk and use your bodily functions with it.

I had to work in a robotic state to deal with the obstacles your impairments caused.  I was too emotionally invested in you to accomplish these daily tasks as your daughter.  

So I flicked a switch inside of myself and worked as your carer impassively.  

I imagine its the state morticians work in when dealing with dead bodies. 

I imagine its the state surgeons work in when performing operative surgery.

I imagine it’s the state whores work in when opening their legs.

Detachment allows one to get the job done but once you emotionally invest — YOU’RE TOAST!  

The inner walls fall down and the guilt seeps in.

All I ever wanted Mum was for my love to soothe you like a salve. 

But it wouldn’t, 

it couldn’t 

and it didn’t.

The only thing I have now is memories of you and Dad.  

And the heartbeat you gifted me — 44 years ago.