I received my mother's body when it was lowered to the ground. With the help of three other people, I placed her to her resting place. I knew that I was near her for the last time in my life. Yet, there were no tears, even then. Like a mechanic who would tinker with the car's engines, the action was completely robotic. No emotion but just the feeling of numbness all over me. All that went in my mind at that time, was that I should do what a dutiful son should to his mother in her last moments on earth.
That evening, I coiled into a ball, with my knees touching my chin, sitting on the beach, with my eyes firmly closed. The sea has always been the place of great solace to me. It is a retreat when I wanted to be left alone with my thoughts. I have been doing that since I was a child. Habits die hard and I was true to it that evening. It was the same evening that I bade goodbye to the only woman who connected with me emotionally since I was born. I guess the umbilical cord might have been cut off long time ago, but the mental one was still there. Until that day or so I thought.
Until that day, I never understood why I still shared my mother's bed until I was old enough to go to school or I would not do anything until I had informed her first even after I left her home to start my own. As I watched the rolling surfs at the end of each wave touch my toes, I wondered why I still could not shed a tear. Was I still in shock or I was trying to desperately cling to an absurd idea that my mother had not really died? I stayed in that ball of despair until I could not tolerate the pain on my back anymore.
When I left for home, I knew I had to readjust my whole life that depended so much of my mother's gentle encouragement. The well meant advice and the almost daily phone calls to remind me of somewhere I should be or something I should do wouldn't be there anymore. Three years now, I still cannot hold any conversation that includes her name or the way she led her life. I also now know I have not yet fully come to terms with her death. Perhaps she left too early and there was so much we could have shared that I did not have time for. Perhaps most of it, is about guilt, what I should or should not have done. But I still have her personal belongings to remind me of the maternal link. I know I would still hang on those things for the rest of my life. In the reminiscence of the umbilical cord between us.
I sometimes wonder if it is normal for a fully grown person like me to cling to old memories. I guess I am still the same little boy who never flew the nest. As I look at my own children now, I also wonder if they will have the same feelings when they have their homes one day. Such dedication doesn't necessary run in the family and I would not want them to go through it, anyway. I want them to have a clean break from their mother and act every inch as adults and a good role model to their children, which perhaps I never was.