The Next Generation


Last night, lying in bed (Mom’s bed), I felt like I was being defibrillated. There’s also the sensation that a knife is parked squarely between my shoulder blades. So I guess you could say that the grief is not only stabbing, it’s shocking. And there were nightmares. And I’ll get through it.

For the most part (with only limited self-medication, mostly of the sugar cookie variety) I am showing up for my feelings and crying the tears as they come– and they come pretty often and in tsunamis.

All the mourners have gone home now so it’s just me and the dogs (to include Dennis the cat) here at the house. The refrigerator motor and birdsongs from outside are the loudest sounds I hear. I can also hear the ringing of tinnitus from years of listening to too-loud music and of course some noisy things that happened in the Marine Corps.

Cedar (my godson) and (his mother) Jin did come by for lunch. There’s still lots of food in the fridge from caring members of the community. If you’re in the area, please come on by and make yourself a sandwich. Cedar found my red clown costume boots in the closet and had a grand time marching around the house in them. It eased the pain a bit (and perhaps ignited it some too) to see an example of the next generation of mother-son bonds. Jin spends lots of time with her son and encourages him as my mom did me. My cousin Jen is a wonderful mom to her son Max as well. The times Mom, Jen, Max, and I spent together are priceless to me– two generations of mothers and sons completely devoted to one another. I love both these boys as if they were my own. All I’ve been able to think about since Friday, though, is how they’ll one day have to go through what I’m going through. It rips my heart out. I wish I could spare them.

Today I went to get a haircut and beard trim. I needed to get out of the house. I went on the motorcycle and stopped off by a car wash to spray the dust off. I haven’t been able to be on it that much lately. The barbershop is a good place for me to be. Afterwards I went to a café and drank two glasses of lemonade so fast it made my head hurt a little– but not bad. I left the waitress a dollar tip. On the way home, I saw a small brush fire on the side of the road. Someone had thrown out a cigarette into dry grass on one of the hottest days of the year. Not smart. Four men had pulled over in a work truck. They were weaving in and out of each other like keystone cops, trying to put out the fire by pouring water out of their 12 oz. water bottles on the lapping tongues of fire. I ran to the back of their truck and grabbed a shovel and spanked the fire to death, pissing the two lemonades on the smoldering black for good measure. (There was more smoldering area than I had pee to cover but I figured I’d given the flames a sound enough beating that they weren’t coming back.) I left the four men there to keep an eye out and wait for the fire truck. I jumped on my bike and headed home. I passed said fire truck headed in the opposite direction as a rocketed toward home. “Too late fellas,” I laughed. Today I saved the forests of Eastern Walker County. You’re welcome.

When I got home, when I walked in the door, I yelled for Mom. It wasn’t like I forgot; it just felt right to do. Then I went and sat at her vanity table and cried until I didn’t feel like crying anymore. I doused her hand fan with more Channel No. 5 and drove to the cemetery.

The blistering heat has made the funeral flowers look like they’ve been there a month. Tomorrow morning I will go down and remove them.

I burned white sage and smoked the Chanunpa. Mom and I had loaded it in her hospital bed before I left for Sun Dance. Now the prayer is complete. After I smoked the pipe and sent the prayers up to God, I lay down on the grown by her grave. I could have stayed there and slept tonight. I feel like I could stay there forever. I don’t want to leave her, even though I know she isn’t there. Actually, she was there, just not in that stainless steel box inside a cement vault so deep underneath the dying flowers. She was there in my heart. I felt her. I pray to God that never ends.

It’s almost seven-thirty and it’s cooled off a bit outside. I think I’ll put the garbage down at the end of the drive for the truck to collect tomorrow morning on the outside chance that Willie lets me sleep in. Then I’ll take a shower and go to bed. I know it’s early but my body is so beat up I ache to be asleep and let it heal. I hope there are no shocks and stabs tonight. A sweet dream might be nice too, if You please.

See y’all tomorrow.

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