It Smells Like Gunpowder

It’s so loud, and I’m so tired. The hospital called 3 hours ago to say my mother had died at 11:40pm EDT. This was rather shocking (to say the least), because I wasn’t there. I was preparing for the trip, but her condition deteriorated so suddenly. And she died alone.

I can’t express much of anything now. This wasn’t supposed to be the grief to plumb for [my current grief writing group…] it was supposed to be my spouse (21 months ago) and my cat (2 months).

It’s so loud, and it’s July 4th. After calling a few people, I don’t know what else to do. What else is there to do except go out into the cold San Francisco night in a black hoodie to watch 15-20 separate displays of fireworks. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. Is it a spectacular way to say goodbye and honor her passing? It’s certainly surreal, and it adds to my disbelief. But I walk up a steep hill and stand in the middle of the street anyway. I finally start crying at an overwhelming display of bright light and noise.

It’s so loud, and it smells like gunpowder.


NOTE (piece above written using this part of a writing prompt): “Today’s prompt focuses on the senses, particularly how certain smells connect with your grief.”

 

Prequel

July 3 at 7:39 AM

My elderly mother is dying. She lives on the opposite coast and is the definition of a patient at high-risk for coronavironus infection. She has lung disease (COPD), two types of cancer, and is on oxygen 24/7. Her neighbor wasn’t able to reach her on Wednesday and called 911. She refused to leave her home. She desperately needs medical attention and professional care. Yesterday the neighbor convinced her to go to the hospital. Now, as the only child, I have to plan for her death. She won’t recover, she won’t ever live on her own despite her stubborn and obnoxious and admirable efforts to do so. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s too much for me to handle.