Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Deep In A Dream

When my mother was in a coma caused by septic shock, my sister prayed over her body, asking all the angels in heaven to come down and save my mother. In the middle of a long, extremely loud prayer, my mother sat straight up out of her bed and said, "No." It was the only movement she had made in three days and would be her last word. I knew what was in store -- the night nurse informed me that she had maybe two more days, adding that she had chosen me for the information because my dad and sister seemed mighty unstable and they needed to pull their heads out of their asses as to hopes for her recovery. I'm guessing it's not very much fun to work nights in ICU. Her language didn't bother me, but the thought of being the most stable one around did. I thought about my arrival after the long flight from Detroit -- she'd already slipped into the predicted coma before I arrived and her eyes darted when she saw me enter the room. She could not speak, but I knew she understood that I was there and that meant that she was dying.
So there my sister and I were, shocked as hell that my mother had basically told her to shut up. It was very like my mother, and we laugh about it now. I think about the energy and courage it must have taken for her to tell her most beloved child that she would not be staying on this earth and admire the moxy. After that, the prayers became more subdued, the days wore on, and eventually the room went quiet and we were left to pick up the few things she'd brought to the hospital with her. When someone dies, time slows way down and become dream-like for a long time. About a year later, I was in Hot Springs, Arkansas with my dad and sister, taking the heated mineral baths for which the town is famous. After the bath, the women wrap you up in sheets and set you on a table to recover from the high temperatures. The woman lying next to me began to speak to me of her mother's death apropos of nothing. I made flyers with her face on them and passed them out to people on the corners, begging them to pray that she would live. I couldn't say anything without crying so I nodded. She didn't, the woman said. When we got dressed to leave, she asked me if I would pass her purse over. It was a large black bag, and I expected it to be heavy, but it contained almost nothing, and I watched as she threw the deflated thing over her slumped shoulder as if it weighed a thousand pounds.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You are never so alive when you love, never so alert, intuitive, never so smart or so compassionate. But death is the price you pay for this privilege." John Dufresne
Cocktail Hour
Drinking short story collection suggestion: The Dog of the Marriage Amy Hempel
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!
40 Days until The Sopranos airs!


Rodney Dangerfield said...

For some insane reason I kept winking at my mother when she was on her death bed, dying of pancreatic cancer. She died with one eye closed and one open. It was the most beautiful blue eye I'd ever seen in my life. If you know what I mean.

Ba da bing alumnus said...

Do you really need a bra on under that outfit, Michelle?

Charles Gramlich said...

I was at her bedside when my sister died. From cancer. I got there after she'd slipped into her final coma and I don't know if she knew I was there. No one there prayed for her to come out of it. She'd suffered enough and we all just prayed for a quick and painless end. I hope the prayers were answered, but she was in no condition to tell us.

the walking man said...

First off ba da bing where would you like to meet for your lesson on respect, not for Michelle particularly, but for people in general. You piece of shit. Or do you only look at the pictures?

Maybe you need to have the experience of the subject. Better yet maybe you should be a recipient of the subject; a couple of years worth of cancer eating away at you and round after round of chemo that makes you feel as if you are dead already. That sound funny to you?

My mother went through 13 rounds of chemo and died less than a year ago, I doubt she had a bra on when she said her last words to me you stupid fuck. but then eventually your anonymous self will die one day and then you can wonder which of your relatives are wearing a bra as you pass to your Karma.

Death is the great equalizer in this journey through time, I like your mothers response to the prayers, my father in law sat straight up in his living room where they had converted it into a mini hospital room so he could die of untreatable liver cancer, took a look around and told my wife who was the only one who stayed by his side for the last two weeks,"Get rid of all this Goddamn shit" then he laid down and separated from this place.

Charles I can certainly relate to the cessation of pain as being better than being alive, that's why my mom said enough, no more but she just fell away in her sleep no pre-death coma always doing her best to make it easy on her loved ones.

I have my own take on death and dying but this is not the forum for it.

If all of you are able to believe this then believe that your loved ones all sleep comfortably with their ancestors and everytime you have kind thought for them it is like sending a gentle warm breeze to their sleeping spirit.

And Rodney..yes for once i know what you mean

peace to you all.


Dr. Jennifer Melfi said...

You need to see a behaviorist as soon as possible.

paul said...


JR's Thumbprints said...

Nothing slows down time as much as the death of a loved one. When my drinking buddy (my father-in-law) was "checking-out" I knew it wouldn't be long. My mother-in-law was arranging to bring him home from the hospital through hospice, but I kept dragging my feet, making excuses. He died in the hospital shortly thereafter.

the walking man said...

Dr. Jennifer Melfi said...

You need to see a behaviorist as soon as possible.

and The Walking Man said...

you need to get you head out of your ass as soon as possible

the walking man said...

Judge not my actions as you would judge your own, if I find filth and foulness I will not walk around it but rather through it and in the walking through it I cleanse it. I am not your conscience I am your mirror and when you look in your mirror you see yourself but behind yourself inside your soul you see me. Judge what you see in your mirror before you have the temerity to judge one who is brave enough to walk through the shit you leave on the sidewalk and I am not referring to your empty Starbucks cup but the psychological fecal matter you leave behind you. You think that anger is an inappropriate response to rudeness and crude behavior, then read the Vedas, or are you to Christian for that?

A person writes about the death of a dear and well loved parent and some think it appropriate to talk about their undergarments. That is shit and I will, just as I have been doing for my entire life walk in it and then scrape it off my shoes on the face of the one who left it. This is as large a lack of respect for love as I have been unfortunate enough to witness in many weeks so if anyone doesn’t like my responses I have a fucking blog just go and argue with me there just hit the blue letters and it will take you right to it. I respect people not sub-human cretins who have not even the guts to make their rude and inappropriate comments with their real name or one that can be followed back.

In short, if you don’t want to be fucked with by me don’t fuck with me or the ones I care about. Especially when it is heart they are exposing because I will defend anyone brave enough to expose their feelings on a subject as close as this one is to most people. So If you want it even simpler said...all three of you who made asinine comments…may the karma you have garnered this day come back on you a thousand fold.

Brynne said...

As always you are ridiculously lovely.

First girl crush I have had in years! Stupid brain...

Brynne said...

I don't know what I would do if I lost my Mom...

Cheri said...

Hah, I would have loved to have been in class except for the stupid dr appointment that I forgot that I scheduled, thinking it was during spring break! And it was an hour and a half visit, where we talked and I told her things that made my parents sound like total assholes.

Want to meet up for drinks sometime soon? I have most of the evenings free after 9 pm, sans Thursday.

JAM said...

You know, I read here, day after day, and over time I'm amazed at the sheer numbers of times you've been through heavy or weird situations.

With all of that jerking your emotions and thoughts around over the years, you didn't have much choice other than to be a writer, did you?

When my Dad died is when I first experienced the time altering aspect of a loved one's death. I just couldn't believe that the world wouldn't stop spinning and all 5 billion or so people pause for just a moment when he died. Ridiculous I know, but those were my thoughts.

Dan said...

Sorry to hear your mom is no longer alive Michelle. The death of a parent can be pretty painful. Amazing story, though, of her last "No". :)

(On a complete side note, this is my favorite photo of you.)

realbigwings said...

I can't even stand the non-weight of that bag right now. That's beautiful.

Hip E. said...

I don't know what your blog is about. I got here by doing a google image search for "party dress vagina costume" because I used to have a picture named partydress.jpg that was of a girl in an incredible head-to-toe furry vagina costume. I was just replying to an email from a girl who I had met briefly at a party this summer. She was cute and we had a good dance session in the livingroom of a party {damn the spellcheckers, I will not make livingroom two words}. I got psyched out and my game evaporated and all I could do was, while she was in the bathroom, I scribbled my email on a piece of paper with my friend (a guy)'s eyeliner pencil and forced her friend outside the bathroom to promise to give it to her. Then I high-tailed it. Three months later she emailed and said that while looking for some earrings she had found my email in this costume purse that she never wears, so she emailed me that she thought she'd delight me with a belated but not quite missed connection. So I emailed her back and got no response so a week later I'm writing one last time, and I realized that maybe she doesn't remember exactly what I look like either, so I was going to send her that partydress.jpg picture but it's on my old dead computer so I did a google image search for it and I found your blog.

I think this is a very good blog post. Hope things are going well for you.