My Friday Night Crying
To hear an opinion, a voice, from her lips, her thoughts. Her unseen, unheard perspective. Speaking to me now from a note in the margin of a book, from a shopping list in her purse. A fallen scrap pushed between the pages of a novel. To hear her again… words of her I have not yet heard. New words.. new thoughts and old ones too. For her voice to live on. Oh for her voice to live on.
And so I search for her and for that voice. I search in other people’s memories. Forage between the pages of her books. Decipher shorthand from secretary school years gone by. Stare up close at photos and almost see her expression change. Reminisce. Conjecture.
She would have said……
I think she would have thought……
I know she would want me to……
The grief rolls exquisitely off my nose in tears that plop past the cat and onto the pillow. The cat jumps as each tear lands in the darkness with a thudding, absorbing softness. My breath jumps and intakes sharply, gasp, suck, gasp, sob… A tiny cry leaps out of me now and then and in that instant I am someone’s daughter again and my vulnerability is bigger than me, for those seconds. And my Mum is more missing from me, in those seconds, than I ever could have imagined she would be. And the grief is infinite and all engulfing. In those seconds.
My Friday night crying.
At first every Friday. Then every second Friday. Then every other Friday. Then every 2 months on a Friday. And now my twice a year Friday blues. Saturday will come, it always does, but on the crying Fridays I want to lose myself in an embrace, a smell. A ‘shhh shh shhh’ whispered straight into my ear succession of noises and breathing that only one person can deliver; in time with a gentle and rhythmic series of pats on my back. Stars shine but West coast silence can’t be found in a North East night. Mum can’t be found in tears.
On a crying Friday night I discovered that any tear of mine that falls and follows it’s destiny - uninterrupted – lands right on top of where my heart beats under my skin and bone. The tear lines up with my heart and by that time it’s out of fluid. It’s a memory of fluid and drying fast. I weep my sorrow out and it recycles itself back into my heart. Sorrow, healing. Sorrow, healing. I find this thought contentedly beautiful and private. I have the power to heal myself. By god I’m trying. With everything I am. And look, I even made this elixir of healing. My tear.
In those seconds, I cry for everyone who ever lost anyone they loved with all their heart. I cry for my Aunts and Uncles who, speechlessly in their own breath-gasping hidden seconds, more than miss their beloved sister. I cry for the grandchildren who want Grandma to call them pet lamb or a wee tumshkie. Or a lambacookle. I cry for the warm, soft, elegant hand they will never hold again and the fragrance of her perfume which will never again be softly warmed by the cocktail of smells on her skin, in her life. I cry for the friends who no longer have a number to press on their phones that will lead them straight to her ear, her love, her gentle wisdom. I cry for the cousins who think of her and smile with welled up eyes; they entrusted her with the vulnerabilities that they knew she knew about them. She knew without words. And she kept their secrets safe, next to her heart, wrapped up in a delicate tissue paper, next to her own sadness which would never be unwrapped. Fragile, respected parcels of poignancy, pressed up beside her own pride, in herself and them. And her daughters and grandchildren, wrapped like a ribbon around them all. I cry for the boyfriends she made laugh… for the chair she will no longer sit in… for the scarf that will never dance in the wind on her shoulders again.
I cry for my Mum, some Friday nights.