Rage against the dying of the light

gentle-into-that-good-nightMy mother passed away last Friday, February 3. I don’t have a living mother anymore.  I don’t know if that will ever feel like a normal statement.  After years of progressive dementia and a year in an assisted living facility, she succumbed to conditions we chose not to have diagnosed or treated.  Something with her gallbladder turned her bright yellow – I am glad I didn’t have to see that – and a month or so later she appeared to have had a stroke.  A few days after that she was dead.

My MFA thesis, which ended up being mostly memoir, includes an essay in which I reflect on my mother’s dementia and the death of Christmas.  The piece expresses my rage at the changes in our family traditions, our relationships, and the challenge of her growing dementia.  I feel like now I have more rage to add, but also more sadness, more confusion, more regret.  I will certainly return to that essay, which I wrote in 2013.  Rage has much to do with an early, prolonged end of life.

As Dylan Thomas wrote:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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