Finite Number

April 21, 2006

Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, each of us has a finite number of days here on Earth. The metaphysics of reincarnation aside we all will come to the end sooner or later. For my mother the end is now sooner. She herself told me in an email last weekend that she felt her days were numbered. My father tells me she is eating less and sleeping more. Oxygen is required for all but the most idle of activities, and her blood counts have been too low two weeks running for any chemotherapy.

For the weekend I am traveling to Decatur to see my mom one more time. Maybe for the last time. Even with the impact of Michele's death still reverberating in my life, and with the reality of what death means figure in my thoughts, it is hard to believe that my mom is really going to die. Intellectually I understand what is happening and I can quantify the awful eventuality headed my way. Emotionally I can't yet grasp what is coming. Someday soon I'll travel to Decatur to attend her funeral, and then I won't be able to talk to her again. She'll never again make turkey stuffing with Bell's Poultry Seasoning, or tell me about a new author, or share for the millionth time a story from her childhood.

Last summer, after Michele's mother died, she found it very difficult to put into words what it truly meant. Mothers are such a part of their children, intertwined and yet separate. I am my own man, and I am my mother's son. In the weeks the followed Michele's death I experience some disassociation with part of my personality. I felt cut off from the bits of my personality that she brought to the fore. Most of those have returned to me, but I know a part of me is forever gone. the coming days will see me lose touch with another set of my personality aspects. Once again I will have to travel through my grief to recover myself. The man who will emerge on the other side will be forever altered by the loss.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.