There Is pane, And There Is Pain…

I found myself staring today. Staring through a pane of glass of a well tread coffee shop. I fixated to a point on the sidewalk. A meaningless patch of pavement. My eyes transfixed to a crack in stone. A point through time. Though, in my surroundings I know it is Christmas, deep in my bones I feel nothing. A void. An absence of anything. I just continued to stare. Looking onward to the things that have been, and the things that will be no longer. The longer I looked, the more the lump swelled within my throat. An immovable swell of emotion. A rigid sense of loss. I blinked slowly, and turned away.


This time of year, especially this specific year, is a lonely time. She is gone. My safe haven. My refuge. My friend. My confidant and my giver of life – my mum…


As the tears came so did the stubbornness. I raised my hand and held the clear anguish behind my eyes as prisoners. Refusing to let them go. This is a lonely time. A painful time. A poignant time in my life doomed to never be forgotten. Arguably a time to forever be horribly remembered. A time of loss. A time of confusion and mass thought. A time not at all like Christmas…


As I stared through the dirt spackled window pane, I became lost in the past, and the things that happened there. Especially on that snowy night in December all those years ago. The night where one woman would die, and another would not. The night where age did not matter, and nor did pecking order…


I bore a hole through the empty space between me and that window, and the crack in stone across the road, and remembered that cold December night. I thought back to how I went home, cracked the sealed lid of a beer, retrieved my phone from my pocket, and dialed “mum” … She picked up, and blew the cigarette smoke away from her mouth, and said “Hey Matt-man”. I began with small talk but eventually divulged the horrors of my night. I told her about the woman I saved, and the woman I left to die… She was not equipped to handle what I was saying. Nor was she ready for the tears that fell from my face. What she might not have known, was that I did not care what she had to say. All I wanted was mum. Just her voice, presence, and character. She did the best she could. I appreciated that. More so now.


It was a hard call for me. I was posted at the driver side of a mangled metal contraption that had hit an industrial vehicle, and then flung itself into the snow-covered ditch. I was on the driver side as the firefighters feverishly used their knowhow to cut through the bent, mutilated steel frame of that small four-door sedan. There are few sounds that compare to metal as it groans in pain just before snapping apart from itself. One post, then the other. We retrieved the oversized, middle-aged woman from the driver side, and then carried her on a spine board dwarfed by her stature, up a snow-covered hill side, to the road, before whisking her off to the hospital.


The woman in the passenger side, a smaller yet similar looking woman sat motionless in her respective seat. A second ambulance crew was taking care of her. Well, of the body. We all knew she was dead. It was obvious with one well trained glance. She was ultimately taken away by air-ambulance and then later declared dead at the hospital. The other woman, the portly woman that we had retrieved though, she lived. She continues to live, as far as I know – without her daughter. The one who died on that snow-covered hill beside the highway.


I told my mum all about this as I struggled through tears, and beers.


This year, I can’t phone her to tell HER how much I miss her… Nor can I burden my siblings with the pain that they already feel and fight through. My mum did not die alongside a cold and winterized highway, she died alone and despondent within her apartment. And now I sit alone within mine… wishing it was not so… Wishing all of it was not so…


Oh mum, how I wish I could talk to you now about the pain that burns beneath my skin. I yearn for the nightmares to stop. I don’t want to see that dead girl in the car anymore. Her lifeless face, and soulless eyes. Nor do I wish to acknowledge that you are gone. That my refuge is no more. Oh mum… why did you have to leave? …


I am sure as the days go by, I will find myself staring through many more panes of glass. Revisiting the past. I only hope that one day, I can stare through with a smile, and remember you, without thinking upon death.


I love you mum. Thanks for listening that day. And the others… Thank you.


Merry Christmas mum…

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