A few afternoons ago, my husband went to his mother’s for Sunday dinner. This is a mardi gras in his family. Hardly a Sunday goes by where they don’t gather to chow down on curry chicken, rice and peas and cabbage stewed with little twig things I’d never seen before marriage. The family laughs and tells stories and makes sure nobody’s derelict or dying. I didn’t go on that particular Sunday, so later in the evening, just before closing my eyes, I lazily asked my husband how his mother’s doing and how were things at the house. He mumbled: She’s good. Nothing extraordinary. Everything’s ok. To which I whispered, having a mother IS extraordinary thus yanking myself out of near-sleep thus realizing I no longer have a mother thus hurling myself into a musty, moldy, no-exits abyss of pain. A well of pain, sorta like the hellhole that Alice tumbled into en route to Wonderland. Down I went kinda like how a casket sinks into the earth after the service and before the repast. I somersaulted into a lightless place with no one waiting for me. Where no one would dare wait for me because no one wants to go there. Not even for a few seconds. Not for a million and four bucks. Ah, fucking grief. All I could do, once there, was shut my eyes real tight and force myself to fall asleep. Which felt like rising into sleep since it was a place where I could, for six hours, escape the inescapable. Where I could forget that Mama’s gone. There was light and sunrays striping the sky. There was happy music turning the sun into a strobelight. There was not the butt-naked realization that I don’t have a mother. I fell up into sleep after falling down into despair that I caused because my own words catapulted me there. And I must accept this too as part of my new normal. Post Mama. That every now and then it won’t be a movie or a Huggies commercial or a whiff of perfume or song or picture or a holiday that will smash me into a round of active grieving. Sometimes it’ll be me that will send me hurling. On some of these good, getting up mornings, I will hurt me so deeply that I won’t get up and I won’t feel good. Which means I have some power over some of this, right? I can tell myself not to hurt Gayle by uttering words that maim her. I can say, Self stop that! Don’t say that. You know those words, perched on the edge of you, will be an Amtrak to the dark side. But I don’t think I have that kind of self control. If you do, if you know how to pause before cutting your throat, please provide directions in the comment section below. Or better yet, come sleep with me tonight. Your dreams are probably a lot better than mine.