“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun.”
My 93 year-old birthmother died about 55 hours ago. What does a daughter do? I’ve had a pedicure (orange polish), a haircut, cleaned the house (even my closet), and eaten only vegetables since.
I’ve bought new shoes, new sunglasses, and two Vera Wang scarves, and I’ve repotted six geraniums on my porch. I’ve listened to every sad song on Spotify that reminds me of her, particularly her favorite opera, La Traviata, “The Fallen Woman.”
I don’t feel anything. I’m just here like a shrub. It was a beautiful death if there is such a thing. On the last day, I brushed Mama Caroline’s hair and told her she looked like Grace Kelley. First, I hummed How Much Is That Doggie In The Window and Oh What A Beautiful Morning. Then, I sang.
I read her a poem I wrote in January about being undone by Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma. I stumbled through the Hail Mary for the 20th time in a week but nailed The Lord’s Prayer.
I wish I’d applied the lipstick I found in the drawer to her dry, cracked lips. Also, I should have played Elvis. She was a Memphis girl. I was told the hearing is the last to go.
In the end, she died as she lived. Alone. Independent. Stubborn. Sense of humor intact. A comic tragedy tucked in a pocket like a blue rosary.