When it comes to current events in my life, I've looked for solace in things that help me to either relate or at the very least see the full spectrum of life. While I was in Indiana getting ready to leave my sister's house and fly back to Washington, I made sure to grab a book I left there last time. I needed something to read and was ready to finally finish the story of Ada and Inman. It was Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Little did I know how much I needed to read and reflect from this insightful book. I've tried to resist letting my mother's death be the end of me. It' has been hard to find my existence past her departing to the afterlife. I will even confess that I still can not grasp life without her and think of her and her death daily.
Yet one passage towards the end of my Cold Mountain trek has helped me in my mourning, I have thought about it several times since,
"He talked to her of the great waste of years between then and now. A long time gone. And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and for the damage done therein. For the dead, and your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you were. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry the scars with you."
When I got down to that last line, I knew I personally had a choice to make. To wither and die in the recent past that years from now I would still lay in, crippled and void, fruitless in any effort and unhappy, or go on and make my mom proud, live in her name, and flourish. As long as I and others of us that knew her live, she still lives at least in our hearts. Personally, she has etched herself permanently there in my heart. There is no hiding it even if I tried.
Three are many days I've digressed. I've wished only to lay in bed and just lay in a limbo dream state where she still resides for me to interact with. Reality still is a hard man I hate to face yet I find myself getting up and going about as normal as possible. I remind myself of what Mom would want me to do, the same as the passage says, "Go on." She would not want her passing to be the end of me.
The day I finished Cold Mountain, I decided I'd take a little christmas money and go by Goodwill. Skimming the aisles of books, I saw a hardback one entitled, "13 Moons." I took a glance at the author and to my utter suprise, it was the same author as Cold Mountain. I quickly grabbed the book and headed for the check out knowing what I had in my hand was a book full of people in some way I could relate to all over. This morning I finished the book and it was better than I had thought it would be. I found it stylistically different than Cold Mountain, but very much still in the realm of Frazier. "13 Moons" has helped me look through the eyes of an old man ripe with stories and reflection. I felt like I was talking to an elderly man who was telling all his past and how to help make your future a better one.
Looking back on these two books, both dealing with the grave realities of life in some ways, there is a sense of anchoring that has taken place. Life can be a shear and utter torment at times, but there are many amazingly brillaint occurences as well. One job we hold is to make a decision of how the unfolding events in life will affect us. For the better or the worse? Sometimes, the choice is a blur. We only find after a space of time has fallen the clarity one needs to judge our previous actions. As for the tragedy that has altered my life forever, I hope in some ways there is healing. I can never forget, but one choice I do know. I will choose to live and forever uphold my mother's legacy until my time on Earth ends.