death and taxes
I woke up this morning with an unusual amount of dread. ‘I don’t want to do today’ is not an uncommon thought for me to wake to, but today it has never felt more true.
Unlike most days where it’s the usual work, run, be, repeat, today I am flying back to NM to pick out an urn for my Mothers ashes.
I still find it odd that I didn’t feel her when she left the material world.
But I also know it’s because she, her energy spirit or soul, hightailed it to Germany. She told me at least that much Wednesday and Thursday through a variety of random conversations with other people before I got the call that she was found dead.
Found peacefully from a cause that appears to have been fast. We all feel relief from that; her life amongst the living was the epitome of the opposite.
I’m used to my mom leaving. Fleeing and running. But not coming back?
This is the first.
I feel sick. Breathing into it, I rolled out of bed to go and make my coffee.
I put my trash and recycling out and decided to check the mail.
I’m always amazed at how responsible I feel when I manage these tasks.
Which was completely absolved the minute I saw the envelope from the Texas State Comptroller.
I knew this letter was coming. Sporadically I’ll have a sentence run through my brain… taxes, you owe your accountant you need to get the estimated tax thing going.
I push it away. Later. I will. I swear. I don’t even want to know right now how much that will cost me. I hide.
I pulled up the email from my accountant with the invoice that needs to be paid before they will start my taxes. I tried to think of all the reasons I should not pay it. Why I can’t afford that right now. My body started shaking. This isn’t even the actual tax part; maybe I need a new accountant; I’m probably working with a top tier firm whose clients are in a different tax bracket; what about my other bills?
If you don’t do this now, you’ll really pay for it later. You don’t want the IRS actually getting into your day to day business.
I paid it.
I thought about my brother's decision years ago to separate himself from our mother. To deal with what may come once she passed away. I wonder if it will be easier for him. If reconciling what was ‘out of sight out of mind’ was worth the trade off. If any of that past is coming up now to be dealt with. Perhaps his slate was clean and she was dead to him all this time.
I tried to breathe into it. The rattling in my core. I think of the costs I will endure to lay my mom to rest. Her debts. God only knows what might be out there. I only know she could barely keep her phone on, lived off government money and what I was able to send her and there over the years.
Just two weeks ago I was trying to comfort and soothe her over not having data or internet service. She was spending time trying to get a new provider and couldn’t.
The shame she felt for her life being this way. There was so much I’d never be able to do for her. I felt at a loss. Completely overwhelmed by her circumstances. The only solution I could come up with was to buy her a phone. Put it on my plan.
Somehow God gave her data back days leading to her death and we were able to share images. She texted everyone our pics from the marathon. It was her proudest moment.
Have you ever felt like you’re suffocating? I’ve had this restriction in my chest cavity since I saw her for the first time in June.
It’s like a fur ball is lodged in my esophagus where my ribs meet. If those places meet.
I had a friend reach out after he heard of my mothers passing…
“I often think about what it will feel like if my mother passes without me doing the best that I can to connect with her despite the difficulties that result from simply being in her presence.”
I have been able to process much of my pain and childhood wounds without having to say a single word to my mother. I took it out on the pavement emotionally slogging through mile after mile. I didn’t understand why I was breaking down at the end of my long runs week after week. Not until a 20 mile run in Taos after my last visit with her did I finally uncover the disappointment I feared my children feeling about me as a mother was actually the disappointment I felt being her child. I grieved for me and the child whose mother couldn’t show up.
I held both that feeling and my love for her at the same time. I accepted it. I forgave her. I’ve said for years that I had but I know she felt the cord cut.
All the late fees and penalties were forgiven. I freed her of those past due payments.
I can rest in that deep knowing.
In many ways, I’ve absorbed it all. Like my back taxes, it has been costing me but in emotional ways that, perhaps if I could have faced earlier, would not have compounded so heavily.
I wonder if this is what my mom felt daily.
A mother who failed
At least she felt loved and supported. She felt like a proud mother.
At the end of my day, as her child and a mother, if that’s the circle that was completed, that was a life well lived. That matters.
I try telling my mind and body that while this rancidity sloshes around in my stomach.
Of course, I do want to be that person who ‘has it all together’. Pays her taxes ahead of time. I know the relief that will come from having it done and staying ahead of it. One day.
Today I’m settling for being a daughter who healed her mother and is starting the next phase of my healing process. A daughter who is going to honor her; follow her whisper and the bread crumbs she left behind for me to take her back to her homeland where she can finally rest.
I predict that journey will feel far less nauseating than this one.
A journey that I would allocate my last dollar to before my taxes.
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