I once had a sailboat, it was my favorite sailboat actually. She was a 23-foot Hunter that I named JMS Handal after my wife. I was out in high winds on Lake Pueblo with a friend of mine. We were having an exhilarating time with the sails full and the boat seeming to fly. All of a sudden, a whipping jib sheet on the windward side caught a cotter wire for a clevis pin to one of the side stays. The wire was pulled free, the pin fell out, and my mast broke in half. In a heartbeat, the boat was no longer heeling, she was simply floating along and the heart racing ride had been replaced with a stillness, an emptiness in the wake of a catastrophic event. I wanted mayhem, I needed it, my mast was broken, my guidance gone. My energy and reaction instincts, my adrenaline were at their peaks and I had nothing to do, no task to undertake that didn’t have the luxury of being performed slowly and methodically.
This morning I found out that my mother had just peacefully passed. A personal catastrophe that has left me in the violent calm once again. Buffeted and rocked by waves of weighty emptiness in the wake of my mother’s passing. While the world about still turned at its normal lethargic pace. My wife and I hug and kiss and cry, it is mainly what we have to do while we tie up what loose ends we have at home before traveling South.
I ache to do something, anything, but I am 2000 miles away and have been for decades. My sisters and my brothers are back home taking care of the things that must be taken care of, and I am 2000 miles away. I am glad that they are there together and mom is not alone. I am glad they are there together, rocks for each other, and no one of them is alone. I just can’t stand the calm here when the world should be as upside down as it feels.
Our mom was the quiet rock of us. Her personal mantra being that she didn’t want to cause us any trouble, and she never did. I wish she had, she was worth trouble. Her life was one of self-sacrifice for her family, and this has never gone unnoticed. It was also one in which she embraced her blessings, gave her love unconditionally, and bore one of the defining smiles of my life. I just think such a woman and such a life deserves some noise and upheaval, some scrambling to make things sea worthy if only to be able to limp back to port. But mom leaves us as she led us, with things to do with as little trouble as she could make it, a calm not before the storm, but in spite of it. This calm is acute and disquieting, there are other winds to keep my sails filled, but she was one of my world’s trade winds, and how do you replace that?