Chapter XIX: Her Nirodha Was My Greatest Rue
In Buddhism Nirodha is one of the Four Noble Truths, and represents the cessation of suffering and its causes in such a way as to never reoccur.
The final years of her life had been filled with a shift in demeanor. She wasn’t the dark, violent, unstable person she had been throughout my childhood. In the end, she was pleasant, not high functioning certainly, but filed with much more light. Funnier too. She may have lost her sharpness in the end, but the humor never died.
Addictive tendencies towards alcohol had plagued her for decades, so much so at a certain point, she even tired of being drunk. In the final seven days of her life she’d quit drinking all together. She’d begun to feel better. In those final days it appeared as if perhaps she’d shaken the booze once and for all. Perhaps this was the beginning of the end of much of her suffering.
On November 8th, 2017, Dad found her unresponsive, and it was later determined she had died of a heart attack.
Arriving home an hour after receiving the news, I could feel her presence in my crab shell. There was no shaking an energy in my home attempting to encompass me with a feeling of her embrace and her voice trying to convince me things were ok. Incapacitated with grief and shock, I bellowed in agony and walled myself up emotionally. Her energy faded from my home quickly after I retreated into myself, and before long, I passed out from crying.
Without skipping a beat at 9am the following morning I loaded the kids up in my minivan and took off. Much needed to be accomplished and there was no way Dad would be able to manage it all himself.
Silent the first four hours, the dogs passed out quickly and I sat uncomfortably with my thoughts.
Was this some sick joke?
Have I had a mental breakdown?
Is this real?
Of course, reality, which was the road disappearing in front of me as I made my way closer and closer to home was ever present and I knew this was all too real.
We’d just spoken. She was just here. How is this happening all so suddenly?
Rain slowed us to a stand still in the Smokeys’. I was getting twitchy, like she used to when she was lacking stimulus. Plugging my iPod into my stereo, I set it to shuffle.
Sara Brightman- Time To Say Goodbye
Queen- Another Bites The Dust
WHAT THE FUCK UNIVERSE?
I shut the stereo off for a few minutes. Too much. Just too much.
Stopping at a gas station, I got the dogs to pee, grabbed food and got back on the road moving finally at a decent pace again. Reluctantly, I turned the music on shuffle and hit play.
The Beatles- All You Need is Love
Bursting out in laughter at first, I just couldn’t hold back anymore. That laughter quickly shifted to tears. I was beside myself. Managing to make it through about ten more minutes of music, I was quickly over stimulated and drove the remaining seven hours in silence.
Arriving shortly after midnight on November 10th, the energy in the room she died in was palpable. It hung thick in the air like smog over the smug. You could feel something so terribly sad had transpired there.
Dad was numb. Rightfully so. Doing our damnedest to sleep, but failing, we awoke early the next day and began preparations for her funeral. My cousin coming to our aid and assisting us with dotting ever I and crossing every T, we drank our way through the forty eight hours leading up to the private final viewing.
It was all so surreal. Dressing and doing my makeup in the very bathroom she’d died in, I gazed deeply in the mirror, holding onto the strength I knew lived within, I prepared myself for the most painful moment of my life.
A few family friends and cousins joined us at the empty funeral home.
Here is it.
A moment most of us will live through, and no one will ever be prepared for.
Keeping my head down until they opened the french doors to the room she was in, I looked up and there she was. Invited to say goodbye and spend time alone with her first, I stepped into the room where she was displayed.
Breathless, I starred at her.
Please jump up and scare the shit out of me.
Please let this be the grandest master manipulation a borderline personality has ever carried out. We'll get you a god damn trophy.
Don’t let this be real.
My head started to hurt and I became immediately aware I was not breathing and my knees were locked. I relaxed and felt a chill come over me. I started laughing. It was the absolute perfect temperature in that room, couldn’t have been more than 66 degrees.
Mom would have loved it.
She was always one who loved good air conditioning.
Calmness encompassed me as I noticed the stillness of the room. She wasn’t twitching, itching, or clenching her jaw anymore. She wasn’t manic, or heavily medicated, or miserable with her alcoholism anymore. She was finally at peace.
All I had ever wanted for her had finally happened. Her suffering had ended.
At the expense of her life.
Regret consumed me.
It was real.
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