Scream of Consciousness

My mom has been gone for twenty-four hours. And the crazy thing is, time is just going to keep on marching along. Soon, it will be forty-eight hours, and then a week, then months and years. The amount of time between her last breath and the current moment is just going to continue to expand. It will grow, infinitely.
There is no preparing for this kind of thing. Sure, most people are vaguely aware that, statistically, they’ll probably outlive their parents. When a parent is sick, that possibility feels more explicit, more tangible. When a parent is dying, that possibility is utterly suffocating. You live with it hanging over your head, pervasively winding its way into your every thought. And the worst part is that it doesn’t matter. Because, no matter how much you’ve thought about it and worried about it and cried about it, it still takes your breath away when it happens. It still leaves you feeling like a fucking astronaut, floating in space, realizing that someone has cut your tether and now you have no way back to comfort and safety.
My mom was my comfort and safety. No matter how sick or tired or stressed out she was, she would listen to me complain and try to help me put things into perspective. She had a way of being the most chaotic and most calming presence in my life, simultaneously. I don’t know how to do this without her. People talk about not knowing what you have until it’s gone, and it sounds trite. Cliche, even. But there is so much truth to it. My mom used to apologize for relying on me so much, and I always waved it off. Of course she could lean on me, don’t even worry about it. I never really stopped to consider how much I relied on her in return, until today, when I subconsciously thought about calling her to tell her about how hectic things have been, no less than five times.
And it wasn’t until today, as I dug through a box of old notes and photos, that I really gave very much thought to who my mom was a whole person, not just as the person she’s been for the last ten years. She was a baby, as evidenced by the immunization booklet from 1962 that I found bearing her name. She was a kid, who made her mom homemade cards with crayons and glue sticks and tissue paper. She was a teenager that hung out with her friends and went to concerts. She was a bride, smiling and radiant on her wedding day. She was a daughter, who went through the same agony of losing her own hero as I’m experiencing right this second.  She had history. She had wisdom. She had thousands of shades of gray.
She lived twenty-six years of her life without me. But, I had never lived a second of mine without her. Not until twenty-four hours ago.

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