Sunday, October 14, 2007

David's Visit

David came in from D.C. yesterday to see Lynda and spend some time with us. I must say the former was an served as an obligation but the latter was delightful, at least for me, because he always cheers me up.

His sense of humor has always tickled me and I feel a release of tension when he's present because he has the same inner calm that our father Bill had; it can be perceived as a lightheartedness, but it is more significant than that, for there have been only a few people in my life who generate the calming energy that makes those around them feel comfortable in an effortless way and my brother is one of those people.

Ironically, I relish his aura as my own is so different, so red to his blue, so frantic when held next to his stability. Steve and I share the freneticism and can thus feed my self-doubts, but David has the collected wit to counter my gloomy inclinations. David's calm is almost dispassionate, however, and here is where we diverge as individuals, because my own energy, however negative and self destructive, is also born of an irrepressible passion. Would that I could look upon Lynda as he did today with a final smile and nod, but I cannot leave the show, no matter how horrible it becomes, because I have to know how it will end.

No, indeed, I always want more, I want to be there, witness to the end itself. Then I can say goodbye. I am not reluctant to release my mother, of course, but I am simply poor at making major transitions. Turning the page has always been difficult for me, especially because I habitually read from the end of the book, but this chapter will not close for me, apparently, till I am obliged to observe and chronicle her last breath.

To be literal, the breathing is now more labored, and she sleeps most of the day. When we came in today she was on her side, tucked up but not curled up with her eyes closed. I said hello and she even said my name in reply, but did not turn or even open her eyes. Even when David came in, she was not easily encouraged to look at him, though she did acknowledge him by name. It was as we said goodbye, however, that I noticed her looking at us both, with an intensity I haven't seen much of in recent weeks and months.

She knew David was leaving for good; I could see it in her eyes. I could see the fear that I cannot quell, and saw the plea for me to return. Doubtless it is an imagined plea, but even if it is only to satisfy that self-imagining, I will return. Tomorrow is Monday, so I will go see her after work, in the afternoon.

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