Today is my first motherless Mother’s Day

Today is my first motherless Mother’s Day. Until moments ago, it felt no different than all the other ones I’ve had since my mother fell asleep five years ago. But then, while in the pharmacy waiting for my 5-year-old’s ear infection prescription, I see a Dynasty DVD nestled in a rack filled alongside other useless DVDs and gasp, my arms suddenly tingling. Before my deaf parents had closed captioning — long before her eyes became two gray marbles — I would sit in front of the television interpreting my mother’s shows for her. There were many of them — Falcon Crest, Dallas, Knot’s Landing — but it was Dynasty that imprinted itself on my brain so indelibly. For years, I dutifully explicated every sordid machination for my mother, every salacious scene and every lurid detail, including the infamous five-minute Krystle vs. Alexis catfight and the horrifying wedding massacre in the season 5 finale. It was far and away her favorite television program, and she was so taken with Linda Evans’ portrayal of Krystle Carrington that she copied her hairstyle for an entire decade. I can’t begin to fathom having my 9-year-old daughter watch and explain Empire or House of Cards to me, but there I was, week after week, shouldering the endless fates of Fallon and bearing witness to my mother reluctantly rooting for Blake Carrington’s gay son, Steven. But now she’s dead, her hair and her eyes so very gone, and I’m lost, agape and cross-eyed in an over-lighted drug store as my youngest daughter tugs at my pant leg, begging for a hairbrush, begging for candy, wishing the pain in her head would go away, wishing something would happen, wishing for something, anything, everything.

The story of our mother and how we helped her leave starts here, continues here, and then finally, here and here. Afterwards, the business of passing commences and continues.