Jan 2020 07

10

Posted In Blog,The world

“Well, you know what today is,” my sister said on the phone.

Sure. Tuesday. What? And why was she calling me at 1 pm? I only answered because I thought it was bad news. She never calls me during lunch on a weekday.

“… So I wanted to check-in and see how you’re doing.”

“Today?”

January 7th…? I had to think.

And then I realized. Fuck. Our mother died today. Ten years ago today.

I’m glad I didn’t remember. It means I’ve moved on.

My sister said “How does 10 years go by so quickly? How has a whole decade passed?”

But I know how. Some days, especially at the beginning, seemed like weeks. And others, most of them, come and go in your life with as little notable as what you had for Saturday breakfast three weeks ago. Do you remember what you had for breakfast three Saturdays ago? You think of the departed on Mother’s Day, holidays, her birthday, your birthday, and strange times like when you hear a certain Elvis song, or catch your niece throwing you some serious shade in a way that resembles her Grandmother whom she probably doesn’t even remember but certainly can channel. Genes run hard.

But I didn’t wake up thinking about it today.

It was a sunny day. Just like today, actually. I showed up to the hospital midday to visit and brought her something. Some Chinese Food – shitty, greasy, sodium-maximized stir-fried mall food court noodles, her favourite – because she hadn’t been eating much. When she didn’t want it, perhaps I should have known something was up. She was quiet. She was lying on her side, since it was more comfortable. A large tumour in her abdomen wasn’t helping. There were plans to try to remove it in a couple of days at Princess Margaret Hospital, where she was waiting to be transferred.

I read her a bit of the newspaper and we made small talk.

My dad showed up.

And, restless, I decided to leave. I decided to go home and get ready for the coming days when I thought the real war was going to happen. But truthfully, I felt helpless. I like to have a purpose. I like to feel like I’m doing something or making difference. I could not. I could only fucking bring noodles. So I left.

My last image of her was in the sun. It was beaming in through the hospital room window, illuminating her, as she laid almost in fetal position. Such a hopeful last sight of someone who could cast such long shadows when she wanted to. Such a sour disposition for someone who could also cast so much light sometimes. When she let you see in the cracks that she quickly sealed up.

“Thanks for coming by, Andrew” she said softly as I was going.

I looked at my dad, who would later call me, stunned, as in the background I could hear frenzied doctors and a defibrillator machine going off once, then twice, as they tried to shock start a heart.

“Dad, go outside the hospital room” I would tell him firmly but calmly. “And sit down. And do not move. I am on my way. Do not come back in this room. I will be right there.”

I recall my drive to the hospital. And talking to the doctor, and telling him to stop CPR. It had been over 30 minutes. My call.

Ten years ago.

No, I didn’t remember. Thank fucking god.

It’s Tuesday.