Mourning is not linear.
It cycles around again and again,
sometimes when you least expect it.
You incorporate the loss into the inner landscape of who you are.
Mind’s eye seeing you,
Heart’s ache missing your presence;
Life’s river running
— Marvin L. C. Hoffman
If you have followed my posts on this blog, or on facebook you will know that I have suffered the loss of my Mother. I have tried to take this all in stride, it’s part of life’s cycle. Actually this has been the desired scenerio, I would not have wanted my Mother to have suffered the death of one of her children. And this is a terrible suffering that has occurred very close to us, and very devastating. So yes, this is the way life should play out. Pragmatically that is. But I have always been a creature emotion. In most everything I have done in my life, most every decision, and emotion has been the decisive factor. I don’t always show my emotion, but that was learned trait. When I was seventeen, my Father committed suicide. Not something that one should expect in life, and was definitely a life-changing event. This left my Mother and me. During the aftermath of this calamity she and I became much closer. Interestingly, if she and I had a tiff, or even a minor disagreement, I could not leave it unfinished. I would have to seek her out and apologize or do whatever I could to make it “alright.” The fleeting vapor of life had hit me hard, and I could not imagine the thought of losing her without her knowing how much I loved her. I could not fathom another loss of a loved one, without closure, like I had with my Father. But my Mom and I shared a common bond of dealing with my Father’s death; we would ignore and not talk about it. But you can’t really do that, now can you? I graduated high school with middling grades, and got a scholarship to the University of Tennessee – Martin, this turned out to be a very feeble attempt at college, as most of what I learned to do was drink hang out with friends and sleep through my class periods. But I made some friends; one in particular was a guy who was in about the same boat as me. We had spent many a night in the dorm drinking and talking about our lives. I had told him some of the Navy stories that my Dad had told me of World War II. He and I both were failing out of school, and so we decided to join the Navy. On the day appointed to go sign up, I chickened out; Cary did not. So he left for adventure, and I left school. Back home to east Tennessee, and back home to my Mom. I got a job in a factory which was hard but somewhat fulfilling work. However it didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted more from life than a factory could provide. One morning my Mom woke me and told me that I had a long distance phone call. It was my friend Cary. “Hey Marv, How’s it going?” He said. I replied a mumbling response of nothing much. “Guess where I’m calling you from?” He asked. Hardly waiting for a response he added: “Scotland! I’m on a submarine! And guess what?! I’m a Torpedoman’s mate. Just like your Dad was!” A lump the size of Gibraltar rose in my throat. I was working second shift at the factory, so that day I left a little early and saw a Navy recruiter. One week later I was on my way to boot camp! There you go, even my decision to join the Navy was mostly based on emotion.
All my life I have gone from thing to thing. Accomplishing much, but somehow not feeling that I was on a path at all. The Navy taught me that I was smart enough to accomplish whatever I set my mind to, just work hard. I am ashamed to say that at times I would quit a thing just because I had lost interest, but I suppose that is somehow part of the emotional aspect. But no matter, through all my life’s ups and downs. Through all my adventures, I have always known that my Mom was the central and pivotal thing in my life. I always knew that even if the shit hit the fan, I could go home to Mom. I didn’t need to, but I could. It was an awesome safety net. Now, my safety net is gone. I now feel as if I am on my own in life for the first time. I have raised two wonderful sons, and have been a good influence in my daughter’s life. I am a successful fellow in my company, we have worked hard and grown this startup company to more than four times its starting size. But I am still alone now. I honestly sometimes feel a little lost. Like I’m navigating treacherous waters and the light in the lighthouse has been extinguished. Not a pleasant feeling at all.
But I do believe that this is yet another piece of the grieving process, and I will make it through this just like I made it through all the ORSEs we had on the boat, just like every other difficult and uncomfortable thing I’ve been through. Don’t cry for me Argentina, I am still smiling. I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family who are very supportive and loving. I have my work to keep me occupied, and all my varied interests to continue to pique my brain. It is hard to not shake my fist at the heavens and shout, “Why!” To ask why my Dad did what he did, to question the face of God and say why did you let my Mom suffer. But I do continue to smile, and now in my fiftieth year on this planet, I am writing, which is providing me a way to address these facets of my life. And I am happy. An odd dichotomy of happy and sad really, but I am happy.
Alright that is all. Thank you everyone.