going back (2)

I’m writing this from my phone, about to leave for the airport. So please excuse any formatting issues!

I want to write this while I know it, and in stillness: this is the first time I have traveled back to the US – for whatever purpose – not full of an almost overwhelming dread.

Every time I have gone back over the last 30 years, I felt compelled to see my mother. Whether for business or a writing retreat or seeing friends and other relatives: I had to see her. She was alone. I couldn’t ignore her; ‘everybody else does’. She says she doesn’t have the money for groceries, can’t go out. So I go, and buy her groceries, and fix a lamp, and take out the trash, do some laundry.

But now. I am travelling to go through her belongings, fetch her ashes in Virginia and sprinkle them in Texas. And I feel inexplicably light. I am not afraid. I am not full of dread. I will be able to see relatives and friends unencumbered by my mother’s maelstrom – a storm I always had to fix, somehow.

So thank you everyone. I am so so grateful and feel so blessed. So many have let me know they are thinking of me. And so many have calmly helped me sort practicalities. All will ‘be there’. Thank you.

This poem is again from BABY, my last poetry collection. It’s the penultimate poem, and the ring in the poem is the ring I am wearing today in the photo. I wear it a lot.

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