I see you peeking out at us from under the bed covers. You curled on your side with the blankets pulled up half over your face.
Your uneaten lunch from four hours ago still on the rolling table next t you.
You're happy to have us there as we chatter about family and new things which are happening.
I wonder what you are thinking as I watch your eyes scan across the room at each of us.
Do you know who I am?
You're 92 now.
And back in the hospital.
I remember being in Amsterdam sitting in the audience at the Paridiso as the documentary premiered.
You appeared suddenly on that huge screen.
You quietly but fiercely defended me as a trans-person, ...but "still your son" you'd said.
I remember how the audience loved your comment about 'being scandinavian... not too emotional you know."
Do you remember that interview? Is it still somewhere in your forgotten memories?
A few months ago, after you'd moved from the house you helped build, into a new place with hallways and staff.. I had a dream:
Driving on a quiet and dark night, I pulled up and parked next to your back yard. I left my van, and joined you while you were sitting outside on chairs set along your back sidewalk facing out onto the back year. I sat with you as you talked about how much you loved your flowers which were blooming and visible in the circle of the back yard light. The night was warm and quiet.
Then I noticed how quiet it really was... no sound from the usual night creatures. no sound at all. no breeze, or rustling leaves. I looked around the back yard and it was all there in the dark, softly illuminated by the glowing street lamps, but as I looked up, I saw that there was no stars. and I could just make out how at the edge of your yard and slightly into the woods things cleared away... and a large quiet warehouse floor became just visible. And I remembered that I had come to visit you at your new place which was reconstructed to look like your old house. But always night, always quiet, always isolated.
You talked about how something just wasn't right, but you couldn't put your finger on it. Still, you loved how the flowers looked, and you were content.
I remember the sadness overtaking me, as I eventually climbed back into my van, and drove away from you with the headlights on, searching for the exit that I couldn't remember in that huge, empty, still, darkened warehouse.
What are you thinking as you peer out at us?
When asked what your favorite dessert is you reply "Cream of Wheat."
2 days ago you pulled the needle from your arm twice, so now they watch you swallow pills instead.
But you don't always.
I love you Mom.
I can't say goodbye yet you know... but maybe that's what you've been quietly saying to me? To us?
As we leave, you smile... pull the covers away from your face a bit, say you want photos next time: "Remember to bring photos next time."
I can only nod an agreement after I hug you.
My voice is gone.