"Hi, is Beverly home?"
I put the phone down and shouted, "Ma! Phone!"
Mom came and I handed her the receiver before going back into my bedroom. I turned the music down and could hear a seriousness in her voice as she spoke, asking questions and seemingly grappling with whatever was being said on the other end of the phone.
I grew concerned, so I stepped back into the big room and quietly watched her. She looked at me and through me as her eyes filled with tears. After a moment, she hung up the phone. Then, she wailed. An uncontrollable tidal wave of emotion rolled up from her center and exploded into the air.
"I don't have a mother!"
This is what I recall her crying, although I am not one hundred percent sure my memory can be trusted. I just know that, in that moment, she was struck a sudden and unexpected blow from this phone call telling her that her mom had passed. The impact, which was deep and lasting, brought an almost unbearable hurt. How does one go on after such a loss?
I hugged mom as she crumpled into the small chair beside the phone. I was with her when she got the devastating news, but the memories of their history and love was something I couldn't understand. It was theirs alone. I couldn't really share it. All I could do was try to comfort MY mom as she forged ahead with the funeral plans. An only child shouldering the burden without siblings for support.
In a dizzying flurry of emotions and activity, I thought, "This is it". The end. Everything from here on out, for mom, will be after her mother's death. My grandma would never see my mom get older, old. She'd never see us grow up. She'd never know what we became. The moment she passed things froze, in a way.
And now that is how I see my own life in relation to the unexpected news of my mom's passing. I gave it a fancy French translation - après sa mort - because learning French is one of the things I've thrown myself into after her death. I've also started taking guitar lessons. I spend a great deal of time with both endeavors lately. These are things mom doesn't know. Or at least, they are things I can't pick up the phone to talk to her about.
Life is still a lot less joyful and I struggle to make peace with the realization of who I am now. Lonelier. Sadder. Disconnected. Broken. It's all after her death. It sucks, but I've come to learn that there's no easy way through this. We must feel all the feels because pretending everything is alright just delays the healing. And I know I'm healing. I'm just not healed.