Wednesday, March 05, 2014

East of Eden 3: Mom's Eyes

Lately, I keep on returning to my mother's eyes.  They were this incredibly vibrant blue, like Caribbean Sea water.  They absolutely sparkled and shined as she pounced through her life.  There was this eagerness in them.  I share a trait with my mom of this overeagerness to please and have people like me.  Like, really like me and have this fondness of me.  Yet, I do not have those same eyes as she did.  I inherited my father's brown color, though I wish I had hers.  Even more, those eyes displayed her emotions as clearly as possible.  When she was happy, they were bright and eager. When she was down, they conveyed the same blue as a Robert Johnson song.  They were magical.

When I returned home from Japan, a week before she passed, she saw me and made this ridiculous comment.  I'll never forget it.  She told me that I looked just like her son, Jon.  Her eyes danced and flickered, although they looked watery and tired due to the morphine pumping through her system.  The eyes didn't seem to carry the cancer that intensely, yet they did carry a sense of frailty and desperation  It took a while, but I convinced her it was really me and I had come back from Japan.  She was pretty out of it, but had her lucid moments too.

The days, long, long days passed.  On June 21, 2003, the day before the equinox, she took her last breath and it was one of the most resonating memories I have.  To watch someone take their last breath after so much suffering provides a sense of dread and relief at the same time.  The dread is to be expected.  That woman, my mother, is not there anymore.  Yet, the relief comes because you knew that her intense moments of pain had finally come to an end.  We told her it was okay to move on.  It was okay to let go.  She was engaged to be married and her fiancé didn't happen to be in the room yet.  We had called him earlier because we could sense it was happening.  She took all of us in, her breathing running in distant pants.  They were deep breaths.  Meaningful breaths.  Finally, her fiancé, a man who went by the name of Tex, entered the room.  That was who she wanted to see!  The person she loved and was intending on being with for the rest of her life.  She could have never guessed the time would have passed so quickly.  She caught sight of him and her eyes lit up one last time.  Again, that vibrancy engaged with those who could see her, but most importantly, with him.  And then there was a last exhalation.  After a few seconds her eyes changed and they remained open, as if she had stopped in space.  The energy lingered for a moment and then they became this steely blue, almost metallic, it seemed.  

This image is one I need to let go of in some way.  I am hoping that writing about it and really "putting it out" here will serve some therapeutic and healing purpose.  It needs to be filed away somewhere I can't always find it.  It is a powerful and meaningful moment, but it is a ghost I really don't want to have such a strong inventory of that causes pain.  It is so odd how a day can be going just fine.  You're just walking down the street and then BAM that image pops into your mind and suddenly all feels flat and lifeless, something of an existence without a sense of purpose.  So, hopefully, like taillights on the highway, this image will start to streak on by a bit.  At least I hope that happens.  My mom was a pretty good soul.  If she were alive on this Earth today, she would be turning 71 next Wednesday.  She had 60 meaningful years, filled with extreme joy and devastating sadness, like all lives I guess.  I think reading East of Eden gave me the courage to actually do this and make some sort of attempt to let it go and forgive myself for staying in Japan as long as I did before really dealing with what was happening.  I truly hope it works.......

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