My Mother Vera ( 1927-1999)

3c81a8aa573111e2896922000a1fbe1a_5danas bi napunila 86 godina…

In serbian, in English
Matrimonium
Nisam štedel
a nikad moju majku dok je bila živa: očekivala sam sve od nje i ona je živela za mene. Bila sam razmažena i gruba. Inače nisam takva nikad , ni tada ni sada, ni sa drugima, samo sa njom. Jer sam to sebi mogla da dozvolim: a ona je često povredjena govorila kao sama sebi u brk: neka, dok sam ja tu može ti se tako, jer kad mene više ne bude bilo, niko te neće slušati kao ja. Smrznem se na te reči, danas, jer sada kad nje više nema, znam da je apsoultno tako. Neverovtan gubitak, surov grozan i nepredvidljiv i nepravedan: niko me nikad neće voleti kao što me je ona volela, ne zato sto sam lepa i pametna već samo zato što sam njena. Volela je mene takvu kakva jesam, vodila je brigu o meni, o mom telu i životu bez pitanja, bez pogovora sa punom odgovornošću i strašću. Volela me je više od sebe. Deluje ludo al je zapravo to normalno, sada znam.
I pričala mi je kako je i ona isto bila gruba prema njenoj majci koja je tako sve za njumradila bez pitanja i pogovora: iako joj to niko nije ni trazio ni uzvraćao.
I ja sada mojoj ćerki i na momente kad je čujem i vidim kako besni na mene, setim se majčinih reči, bez obzira na svu nepravdu i bes i feminizam koji osećam: znam da sam joj ja jedina šansa da oseti tu bezrezervnu glupu fantastičnu ljubav koju će posle preneti kome bude želela. Samo onaj koji je bio služen zna kako da služi.
Ali ja sam bila u psihoanalzi, ja sam feministkinja, ja sam aktivstkinja, ja sam čitala knjige i znam da neke stvari mogu da se menjaju, moraju: odnos majke i ćerke pre svega. Taj odnos je vekovima jedan mizogin primalni odnos u patrjarhalnom društvu. Žene su uvek bile upućene da se medjusobno bore bez obzira na ljubav i tesne veze koje su ih često spajale. A majke su preko ćerki prenosile duplom porukom kontradiktorna znanja: ljubavi i moći, solidarnosti i surevnjivosti. Vrlo je sve to komplikovano i podsvesno, knjigu sam napisala o tome, kad je moja majka umrla. I još uvek nisam sigurna da sam sve shvatila rekla, jer svaki slučaj je različit ali matrica je vrlo slična.
Juče sam mojoj drugarici italijanki koja se žalila na matricu sa svojom ćerkom rekla: možeš da promeniš, promeni sebe dok si još živa, daj joj ali joj i uskrati, kaži, pokaži šta joj daješ, imaš još vremena i šanse da promenite odnos da uživate u njemu. Ja s mojom majkom nisam jer ona nije znala da to može da se menja a ja nisam znala kako.
Znam samo da je govorila uvek: moja ćerka ne igra mnogo oko mene ali kad mi stvarno nešto zatreba uvek je tu, znači znala je i koliko je bolno volim i kako će mi nedostajati. kao danas i vrlo često, kad je sanjam i kad mi se vraća uvek u mojim godinama, koje god da su, to jest sa mnom stari i ja je se sećam kako je starila dok sam ja odrastala. Ali u snovima, možda je tako uvek, možda je tako najbolje za sve. Ali ipak, kažem možemo mi to i bolje!
Ovo je početak moje knjige Matrimonium koju sam napisala povodom smrti moje majke 1999: jednogodišnji dnevnik o gubitku i kako ga preživeti.

MATRIMONIUM

Za moju majku koja se pretvorila u muvu

Patrimonium znači nasleđe, Matrimonium znači brak: kad mi umre otac ostaviće mi nasleđe, štagod da je, kuća, ili vreća govana. Patrimonium u patrijarhalnom društvu označava novac, nasledstvo. Kad umre moja majka, ona će mi ostaviti Matrimonium: u patrijarhalnom društvu to znači brak. Drugo značenje te reči je igra karata.
Dakle, moja majka umire, umreće kad-tad, možda noćas, možda za godinu dve: svakog dana plačem, dok izlazim iz bolnice, misleći o tome kako je brinula o meni, o mom bebećem telu, o tome kako ja brinem o njenom malom starom telu, plačući i povraćajući zbog prejakih emocija, zbog njene predivne lobanje, koju konačno vidim sličnu mojoj. Zato što sam shvatila koliko smo slične i jedinstvene i kako ću, kad je izgubim, biti sama. Nikad ranije nisam bila svesna da nisam sama.
Moja majka će me ostaviti samu sa Matrimoniumom. Zbog te vrste samoće, tog straha da pre|em ulicu ne držeći je za ruku, dok sam prelazila ulicu ispred bolnice skoro me je ubio tramvaj. Nikome drugom i nije stalo do mog golog života. Svako drugi ko me voli, voli nešto u meni, ne samo mene i moj go život, kao što ona voli mene i sada ja nju. Mi se ne slažemo, nikad i nismo, i nikad i nećemo… O, samo se nadam da će prevladati ona staro dobro osećanje sukoba. Ali ne. Užasan potuljeni strah dok kao dete ispuštam njenu ruku rano ujutru u snu jer ne želim da ostanem sama: ostale žene su majke drugih ljudi, ona, to malo izumireće telo, to mršavo lice, nepokretne noge, iskrivljeni prsti dale su meni život i sada me ostavljaju. Da li ću biti jača, da li ću biti srećnija, da li ću se zaljubiti? Da li ću biti bolja majka, da li ću imati još dece? Neki kažu da se to dešava. Ali se i ovo sada dešava i to ne mora ni da se govori. Hodam ulicom izbegavajući da me ubiju nemarni neznanci i tramvaji, i pada mi na pamet: meni se upravo sada dešava. šta god bilo, usred sam. Moram da budem jaka, hrabra, niko od mojih prijatelja nema više živu majku, ja sam odrasla žena, moram da budem jaka zbog moje porodice… Međutim počinjem da plačem i da tražim apoteku da kupim neke sedative. Nikada ranije nisam uzimala tablete i plačim se da će me izmeniti, da će mi oduzeti opsesiju i ljubav prema majci, ne samo njen go život. Gledam u lica prolaznika. Da li oni nešto o tome znaju? Da li mogu da se brinu o meni? Da slučajno nešto ne kriju? Mlada majka upravo unosi u bolnicu dečaka koga je udario tramvaj, suze joj teku dok trči ludački kroz hodnike kao da je na točkovima. Krv curi a ja pratim taj trag, trag ka smrti, valjda.
Ulazim u šok sobu, tražim njene oči, želim ja njoj da budem taj slučajni prolaznik koji će joj pomoći, ali ona ne gleda ka meni, ne želi sa mnom da razmeni ni bol ni misli. Ima pametnija posla. Ona nešto zna što ja tek moram da naučim: kako da žali. Nikad už`ivotu nisam bila na sahranama, u bolnicama ili na verskim obredima. Ne umem da se ponašam u situacijama života i smrti. Nikad nisam volela da se družim sa ljudima osim radi zabave, smeha, priče i pića. Možda upravo to i treba ovde da radimo u bolnici.
Moja majka traži od mene pivo: sestra kaže, jeste li lude, ali upravo to i jesmo, obe ludimo: hoćemo da pijemo pivo i da se družimo povodom njene smrti. Ako nai|e, biće nam lakše, ako je opet promaći, pivo joj neće smetati.
I tada ona kaže jednu od onih svojih rečenica: vodi računa o detetu, znaš kakva su deca, nikad ne miruju. Znam šta hoće da kaže, ja nikad nisam mirovala ali zapravo se nikad nisam ni pomakla. Uvek su me držale njene duple poruke i reči. Suštinski: ne idi. Nikad i nisam otišla iako nikad nisam ni bila tu. Ona je napravila ovaj nered u meni.
Moja psihoanalitičarka je rekla: tvoja majka je bila hladna majka i prebacila je na tebe svoje breme tajne i bola. Vrisnula sam na nju, nije tačno, nijedna majka nikad nije hladna zato što deca ne znaju za hladnoću, samo znaju za majku. A što se tiče bremena, bože moj, pa naravno, možda je upravo to Matrimonium: igra karata koja predvi|a život i smrt. Moje bogatstvo.

Hoće da me povede sa sobom, na drugu stranu, ne sme da me ostavi samu u ovom surovom svetu. Ne želim bez nje da ostanem. Poći ću sa njom samo ako ona to hoće, ako me primi. Mama, daj mi ruku. Ali ona kaže, i ti imaš kčerku, neću te povesti sa sobom. Ali ja vrištim, ja hoću da sam ćerka, neću da sam majka, povedi me: negde ćemo drugde lepo srediti život. Ja te volim, znam da niko nikad o meni neće brinuti kao ti, i da niko o tebi nikad nije brinuo kako valja, kao što ti jesi o meni i drugima. Ovo je materinstvo i Matrimonium, zato se reč i suprotstavlja Patrimoniumu. Oči joj se polako sklapaju, ne podnosi svetlost, da me gleda, previše ljubavi, znam i ne želi da me vodi sa sobom, ali ja ću ipak poći, ništa me tako jako ovde ne drži, na zemlji, u obavezama, kritičnosti, ljubavi sa granicama.
O taj nežan sladak miris nas dveju same dok pijemo vino i jedemo mocarelu sa paradajzom na italijanskoj plaži. Ići ćemo jednoga dana opet tamo, kažem joj. Sve smrti su slične, možda čak i iste, ali ne i smrt tvoje jedine majke. Uvek je nova, različita i jedina, strašna kao najveća katastrofa na svetu.

Boli me sećanje na njenu negu, mene, svih nas, kako čak ni sada niko o njoj ne vodi računa. Svi oko nje, ukuljučujući i mene samo se durimo, oplakujemo je, zato što ona ne može više da brine o nama. I ona sama, nije navikla da uzima. Ne želi da je perem, da je hranim… tanušnim strogim glasom zahteva: uzmi onaj džem iz ormana, ukusan je, mnogo bolji od onih kupovnih što jedete. Sve sam to za tebe i tvoju porodicu napravila. To je zapravo grdnja, prekor, ali i veliki poziv na ljubav: da voli, da bude voljena, kako ona oseća da treba. Bo`e moj, sve knjige koje sam napisala protiv muškaraca, protiv očeva, protiv žena kao što je ona… bile su, ne samo pogrešne, već i kriminalne. Da li ću i ja kao Sv. Augustin spaliti svoje knjige i napisati Knjigu. Sada samo plačem i plačem čim pomislim na nju i njen život, porodični život. Taj život je završen: moja baka, moja tetka, moja sestričina, moja snaja, sada i ona. Kad ona ode biće gotovo zauvek. Moraću da je pustim da ode. Moja prijateljica Ana piše mi: moraš, i znam da je u pravu. Moramo da pustimo naše majke da odu, čak i onda kad nemamo ćerke, majkama je potrebno slobodno vreme i prostor. Ionako ga nikad nemaju drugačije, za života živeći sa muškarcima i decom u muškom svetu. Dok odlaze saznaju da nikad nisu bile slobodne ali im to ne smeta, ništa drugo ne traže nego nekoliko minuta starog života, sa nama oko njih. Nikad ne}u zaboraviti njeno lice. Tajna želja moje ćerke kad je bila mala bila je da umre sa mnom, njenom mamom, zajedno. Kako je rasla promenila je želju, da ja, njena mama, umrem sa njom, tako da živimo duže… Ali moram da je naučim, sada kad postaje devojka, da mora da me pusti, tako što ću ja nju pustiti prvu da ode. Moja majka mene nikad nije pustila, bila je sa mnom dok sam bila beba, dete, odrasla žena, živela je moj život za mene, umesto mene… otela mi je moj život, da bi me zašitila, da bi nadoknadila svoj izgubljeni život u nekom drugom vremenu i društvu. O da, pisala sam knjige protiv moje majke i muškaraca i žena kakva je ona bila, ali evo me sada kako s njima umirem, s njom. Još uvek ih volim i pisaću o njima. Oni to zaslužuju, to će biti moja osveta što me nisu na vreme pustili, da živim odvojeno od njih, iako su znali da će prvi umreti. Ili to možda nisu znali? Bili su večni, svemoćni, sveprisutni, kao što sam ih i zamišljala, i još uvek želim da budu.
Moja psihoanalitičarka je rekla: tvoja majka je bila hladna majka. Ponavljam, nijedno dete nikad nema hladnu majku, čak ni mrtvu, niti nevidljivu majku. Majka je prostor a dete je centar života. Kao što sam i drugim trenucima smrti govorila, kažem: volela bih da sam trudna.

Budućnost, sadašnjost i prošlost istovremeno: vreme jednostavno jeste. Smrt živi u meni sa mnom ispred mojih očiju širom zatvorenih. Ja sam Nefertiti, moja umiruća majka, ja i moja još nero|ena ćerka. Šta iz svega toga da izvučem?
Teoriju relativiteta: bez slobodne volje, budućnost već postoji u paralelnom životu, kao i prošlost. Kvantna fizika: atomska teorija slučajnosti, neizvesnost u izboru puta…
Svest čoveka: ne znam da li vreme teče, samo ga osećam. Ljudski um, atom u ljudskom umu, svest povezuje ta tajanstvena dva dela ali ta veza još uvek nije vidljiva.
Veza između Nefertiti moje majke i mene.

Dan 2
Smrt je drži za jednu ruku. Prošlu noć je preživela ali užas se još uvek ogleda na njenom licu, u pogledu otu|enom od dnevnih zbivanja, od moje ljubavi prema njoj, od sunca koje sija napolju. Ona misli da samo ona zna šta joj se desilo noćas i želi da uspostavi našu staru dobru majka/ćerka distancu. Veoma je dostojanstvena i gorda: ne želi da vidim ponižavajuće trenutke koje sa sestrom deli. Tera me iz sobe: podseća me na umirućeg Prusta, Kafku, moje omiljene pisce a ipak i na moju babu koja me je čuvala kao bebu, na moju tetku, na moju predivnu sestričinu koja je u mom prisustvu umrla od SIDE. Sve te lepe i proklete žene iz moje porodice. Pretpostavljam da ja nisam jedna od njih: one su me prezirale i divile mi se zbog moje vitalnosti i mobilnosti. I obratno: ali nisu bile svesne da sam ja svojim unutarnjim okom sve vreme njih pratila, da im se nisam samo divila ili suprotstavljala. Moje žene.
Moja otac je autsajder, uvek je to i bio, čak i onda kad je sam umirao: pričao je o odgovornostima, nasledstvu, stanovima, dokumentima… i plakao je kao uplašeno dete držeći se za mene kao mamu. Moja majka se sama bori sa svojom smrću u svesti, u košmarima… Kako ovako ružne stvari mogu da se dese jednoj dami kao što sam ja, pita se? Da, bila je čelična dama, zlatna dama i ledi Makbet, ali ipak dama. Ne kao ja: u meni nije nikad videla damu, krajnje surovo, čak ni sada na umoru, a toliko se trudila oko mene. Nema štofa, valjda. Dame se rađaju, ne prave od plastike. Kao kraljice. Sada vidim prekor u njenom pogledu, prema meni, meni kroz sva vremena. To mi prija, konačno je sama sa sobom a mene pušta da odem. Konačno ću preživeti njenu smrt. Kritična je prema meni, ne želi da sluša o mom radu, o mojoj radosti s kojom hoću da i nju pridignem… samo je zanimaju moje obaveze. I ne želi da joj nežno kažem zbogom i hvala. Mi nikad tako nismo opštile. Ona je tako odlučila; govorila je, Mina je teško dete, uvek ćutljiva i kritična, s njom nema kontakta.
Uvek sam verovala da sam ja za to kriva. Držim njenu malecku ruku, bez venčanog prstena, dala mi ga je kad je odlazila u bolnicu. Sada smo opet svi zajedno kod kuće, otpustili su je, moja mala ali čvrsta porodica: bez žaljenja, bez reči, samo dela. Tako drugačija od porodica u kojima se stvari dešavaju brzo i sa rečima. Moja porodica je porodica iz filmova i mojih najgorih košmara. ]erku sam pustila da raste izvan te porodice, želim da bude drugačija, želim da bude slobodna, nisam želela da je moja porodica zloupotrebljava kao što je mene. Pa ipak, osećam se, posle svega, ne zloupotrebljena, samo upotrebljena. A šta drugo i može porodica: da obavi jedan dobar i jedan loš posao.

Dan 1
Muči se, sva drhtim od nervoze, ali bez bola. Možda bi trebalo i bol da osetim? Kriva sam zbog nedostatka saučešća. Kada je moja ćerka osećala bol, jednostavno više nisam mogla da podnesem, rekla sam sebi: baš me briga, ako umre, i ja ću. I tako sam sve prekinula, bol, osećanje krivice. Ali sada je drugačije, ako ona umre, ja moram da živim i dalje, zbog moje ćerke. Zato moram da delim njen bol. Ko je sada povre|uje: sistem, doktori, bolnice, njen nemar, ja? Previše razmišljanja ne daju uvide, samo još više pitanja. Želim da osetim njen bol, da sa njom patim, da se pora|am s njom dok je ona mene rađala. Sećam se kako je ušla u porodilište dok sam se ja pora|ala, izbacili su je, ali je ona uspela da probije instituciju da bi me držala za ruku. To ja nisam želela ali sada želim njen bol da podelim. Ona sada mene želi da izbaci iz sobe, nema deljenja bola, ona je majka, ja sam ćerka: distanca i granice. Divim se njenom dostojanstvu, ili je to možda hladnoća?

Dan 0

Danas ne osećam nižta, ne jedem ne pijem; slabim sve više, zajedno sa njom. Otac nas je napustio, počeo je da jede pošto je smršao sedam kila. Pa on je muškarac, rekla sam joj, Karen Bliksen je živela 20 godina na šampanjcu, zašto ne bismo nas dve na pivu. Volimo pivo, jeftino je, zdravo, i gasi smrtonosnu že| i smiruje rasturene nerve. Lepo se spava posle piva. Ona kaže da, i evo nas kako pijemo pivo: ona na samrti sa cevčicama u nosu a ja na terasi pušeći cigaretu. Kao kad sam se porodila i bila kod nje prvih nedelja, pušila sam i pila na terasi da ne bih remetila bebin hram svojim porocima. Zapravo u to vreme sam verovala da sam porok lično koga valja proterati.
Nekoliko umirućih sam negovala, poslednja je moja majka: prošle noći samo što nije umrla ali joj nisam dozvolila da ode. S njom će nestati i moji poroci i ja ću završiti pravo na nebu, isuviše slobodna da bih bila slobodna. Poljubila sam njenu prelepu lobanju i ispravila njenu bujnu kosu, polusedu. Ostala je sa nama i više ne pati: nema bola, nema temperaturu, ne seća se šta se desilo prethodne noći. Ni lekari danas ne umeju da objasne šta se desilo prethodne noći: kažu u pitanju je čudo, stari ljudi su takvi, prežive kao u nekoj bajci. Epa ja znam nešto o tome: đavo je bio ušao u moju majku, zapravo je uvek tamo čučao, ali je noćas uzeo njen glas i popovao je i vikao. Borila sam se kao svetica protiv đavola u mojoj majci: moje majke kao đavola. Sada bar znam, ona ima |avola u sebi, ne ja.

Dan 1

Naučila me je životu, dala mi je život: naučila me je smrti. Umrla je. Mirno, dobila je svojih pet minuta raja. Umrla je u snu i odmah posle toga je izgledala kao neka devojčica. U nekoliko minuta raja od jako stare dame – koja se bori sa nevidljivom snagom smrti iza le|a, sa prevrnutim belim očima – postala je mirna devojčica koja peva dečije pesmice. Da li možda deca izgledaju stara kad umru? Nisam htela da je vidim mrtvu, samo sam dala njenu omiljenu haljinu i cipele sestrama koje su je obukle. Poljubila sam je još dok je bila živa u toplo čelo, dan ranije, u nedelju. Ja sam se rodila u nedelju, ona mi je dala život u nedelju, bila je vejavica, a ostavila me je jednog ponedeljka ujutru isto na dan vejavice. Oba puta rano ujutru. Očigledno je njen život bio jutarnji, ali ona bi uglavnom taj deo dana prespavala. Dok je umirala nije baš bila hrabra, dok me je ra|ala tako|e. Tako su rekli lekari. Ali u svakodnevnom običnom životu bila je tvrda i hrabra, junakinja. Suprotno od mene. Da li }u ja zato umreti hrabro, mislim da hoću. Svima koji su oko njen plakali neprekidno sam govorila: saberite se, ajde dosta, kao da je u pitanju njihova majka a ne moja. Sećam se zato kako sam oplakivala jednog tu|eg oca kao da je moj, zato što sam mislila na ovaj dan kad ne}u imati taj luksuz da plačem, kad ću morati da se saberem i plivam dalje. U ime života, tako me je naučila ona.
Pa osećam se čudno, usamljeno kao da mi nedostaje neko drvo na drugoj strani hemisfere koje nikad nisam ni videla niti ću videti. Uvek je bila daleko od mene ali sada nije nigde. Nije čak ni daleko. Nedostaje mi njeno odsustvo, njena praznina. Ali vraća mi se moj duhovni život u kome zaživljuje više no ikad. Moj jedini i stalni strah je: da li je ona stvarno mrtva, da li njeno telo stvarno mrtvo: pokrili su je, zatvorili u sanduk, spališe je. Uvek se plašila gušenja, ja se sada plašim za nju. Želim da dobije svoju večnost, večan dah…
Sestre, lekari, svi kažu: mislili smo da će se izvući. Kako to da sam ja znala? Da nisam nešto videla što je njima promaklo? Njen pogled koji sam videla u očima moje umiruće tetke, zatim sestričine? Porodični umirući pogled po ženskoj liniji. Mi ga me|usobno vidimo, inače je nevidljiv sestrama i doktorima i drugim autsajderima. Moja majka je govorila, plašim se, ne ostavljaj me, ostani sa mnom, spavaj sa mnom. To nije bila moja majka, ona tako nešto nikad meni ne bi rekla: nedostaje mi njen glas i njen strog dogmatski pogled na moj raspušteni život. Ne mogu sebi da oprostim što ipak nisam legla pored nje kad mi je to tra`ila. Sela sam kod njenih nogu i pustila je da ode bez mene. Da li sam je tako ubila?
Kad je pao prvi sneg poželela sam: nebesa, dozvolite joj da proživi još jednu zimu, jedno leto, još jedan ro|endan i onda ću je najozbiljnije pustiti da ode. Obećala sam nešto što neću moći da ispunim i nebesa mi nisu poverovala. S pravom. I zato sam je odmah pustila i nežno je ubila. Patim, užasno patim i svi vi znate kako je to. Svako ima majku, živu ili mrtvu i svako me razume. Nisam imala pojma da je to univerzalna stvar, nisam ni znala da je ženskog pola. Bilo je isuviše očigledno da bih znala. Poslednje pivo i poslednji dah.

MATRIMONY

Editing and photos by Stephanie Damoff

For my mother, who turned into a fly…

Patrimony means inheritance, Matrimony means marriage: when my father dies he will leave me a Patrimony, whatever it is, a house, or a sack of shit. Patrimony in a patriarchal society means money, inheritance. When my mother dies, she will leave me Matrimony: in a patriarchal society , it means marriage. The second meaning of the word is a game played with cards.
My mother is dying, eventually will die, maybe tonight, maybe in a year or two: every day I am coming out of the hospital crying, thinking of how she took care of me, of my little baby body, of how now I am taking care of her little old body, crying and vomiting because of deep emotions, because of her beautiful skull that I finally recognize as mine. Because of realizing how similar and unique we are and how by losing her I will be alone. I never realized before that I wasn’t alone.
My mother will leave me alone with Matrimony. That loneliness, that fear of crossing the road without holding her hand nearly got me killed by a tram outside the hospital. And without her around, I guess nobody cares for my mere life. Everybody else who loves me loves something about me, not simply me and my sheer life as she loves me, and how I love her. We don’t get along, we never did, we never will get along… Oh, I only wish that the good old feeling of conflict would prevail. But no, the terrible deep fear of letting go of her hand early in the morning when she goes to work (I am three) is stronger. I don’t want to let go of her hand, I don’t want to be left alone, everybody else is somebody else’s mother, she, that small, decaying body, thin face, useless legs and crooked fingers gave me life and now, is leaving me alone. Will I be stronger, will I be happier, will I fall in love? Will I be a better mother, will I have more children? Some say it happens. But this is happening too, without a word. Walking down the road, trying not to be killed by careless strangers and trams , I thought, now it is happening to me. Whatever it is, I am in the midst of it. I must be strong, I must be brave, nobody among my friends has a mother anymore, I am a big girl now, I must be strong for my family…But instead I started crying and looking for a pharmacy to buy some pills. I never took pills before and I am afraid that they may change me, take away my obsession and love for my mother and her bare life. I am looking at the faces of the passers-by. Do they know something ?? Can they take care of me? Are they hiding something from me? A mother is bringing a small son hit by a tram to the hospital, she is crying silently but she is running through the corridors as if she had wheels on her feet. Blood is dripping and I am following the trail, that leads to death i guess.
We enter the trauma department, I seek her eyes, I want to be that passer-by who will help her, but she is not looking at me, she doesn’t want to exchange pain or information. She has better things to do. She knows something I have yet to learn: how to mourn. I never attended funerals, hospitals or religious rituals before. I don’t know how to socialize on matters of life and death. I always hated to socialize except to have fun and laugh and talk and drink wine. Maybe, that is exactly what I should do here in the hospital.
My mother asks me for a beer, the nurse says, are you crazy, but that is exactly what we both are, going crazy: we want to drink beer and socialize over her death. If it comes, we will take it more easily, if it misses her again, beer won’t make it worse.
She says one of her stock sayings: take care of your baby, children never stand still. I know what she means, I never stay still, but I never really moved. I was always tied by her double talk and double messages. Basically: don’t go. I never left but I was never there. She made this mess of me.
My psychoanalyst said: your mother was a cold mother and she passed on to you her load of mystery and pain. I yelled, not my mother. No mother can ever be cold because children don’t know what cold means, they know only of a mother, and the mother is all. And the load, well, of course, maybe that is what Matrimony is all about: a game of cards predicting turns of life and death. My treasure.

She wants to take me with her, to the other side, she dares not leave me behind in this cruel world. I don’t want to stay without her. I will go with her if she wants me, if she takes me. Mama, give me your hand. But she says, you have a daughter too, I won’t take you with me. But I scream, I want to be a daughter, not a mother, take me with you: we will make a beautiful life somewhere out there. I love you, I know that nobody ever will take care of me as you did, and that nobody ever took care of you as they should have, as you have taken care of me and everyone else. That is maternity and Matrimony, that is why the meaning of that word is opposed Patrimony. Her eyes are slowly closing, she cannot stand the light, the sight of me. Too much love, I know and she doesn’t want to take me with her, but I will come anyway, there is nothing strong enough to keep me here, on earth , among duties, criticism, love with boundaries.
Oh, that soft sweet smell of us together drinking wine and eating mozzarella with tomato on the beach in Italy. Yes, we will go there again some day, I tell her. All deaths are similar, maybe even the same, but not that of your only mother. It is always new and different and singular, as bad as the worst catastrophe on earth.

What hurts is the memory of how she took care of me, of everybody, and how even now nobody wants to take care of her. Everybody around her, me included, is sulking, is mourning, because she cannot take care of us anymore. And she too, she is not used to taking, only to giving. She doesn’t want me to wash her, to feed her… with a thin but stern voice she says: take the jam out of the closet, it is very good, much better than the ones you buy. I made it all for you and your family. It is a reproach, a reprimand, but also a huge invocation for love: to love and be loved, the way she feels it. My God, all the books I wrote against men, against my father, against women like her were not only wrong, but criminal. Will I, as St Augustine, burn my books and write The Book? I just cry and cry whenever I think of her and her life, of family life. That life is over: my granny, my aunt, my cousin, and now her. When she goes it will be forever. I will have to let her go. My friend Ana said, you must, and I know she is right. We must let our mothers go, even if we don’t have daughters, our mothers need free time and free space. They never had it otherwise in life, living with their men and children in a men’s world. Only when dying do they know that they never were free but they don’t mind, they don’t need anything but few more seconds of their old life: with our faces around. I will never forget her face. My daughter’s secret wish when she was young was to die together with me, her mama. Then growing up, she changed her wish so that I, her mama should die with her, so that we could live longer… But I must teach her, now that she is becoming a big girl, that she must let me go, by letting her go her own way first. My mother never let me go, she was with me as a baby, as a kid, as a grownup , living my life for me, instead of me… taking my life away from me, to protect me, to make up for her lost life in another time, another society. Oh, yes, I wrote books against my mother and women and men like her, but here I am dying now with them, with her. I still love them, and I will write about them. They deserve that , that will be my revenge for not letting me go in time, for not letting me live apart from them, even though they knew they must die first. Or maybe they didn’t know that? They were eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent as I imagined them, as I still want them to be.
My psychoanalyst said: your mother was a cold woman. I repeat, a child can never have a cold mother, nor a dead one, nor an invisible one. Mother is a space and a child is a hearth of life. As I have said in other death hours in my life: I wish I was pregnant.

Future, present and past coexist: time just is. Death lives in me with me in front of my eyes wide shut. I am dead Nefertiti, my dying mother, myself and my daughter, yet unborn. What can I make out of it?
Theory of relativity: no free will, the future is already set in a parallel life, as the past.
Quantum physics: random atom theory, uncertainty of the course to take…
The consciousness of a human: I don’t know if time flows, I only feel it. Human brain , the atoms in human brain, the consciousness links them, equally mysterious, to time, but is an invisible link.
The link between Nefertiti, my mother and me.

Day -2
Death is holding her by one hand. Last night she survived but terror is still in her face and a look far away from daily things, from my love for her, from the sun shining outside. She thinks only she knows what has happened to her, and she wants to re-establish the good old mother and daughter distance. She is extremely dignified and proud: she doesn’t want me to see the humiliating moments she shares with the nurse. She kicks me out: she reminds me of the dying Proust, of the dying Kafka, of my favorite writers and yet, she reminds me of my grandmother who took care of me as a baby, of my aunt, of my young beautiful cousin who died in my presence of AIDS. All the beautiful and damned women of my family. I guess I am not one of them: they despised me and worshipped me for my vitality and mobility. And vice versa: but they were not aware of my inner eye watching them all the time, not only worshipping or fighting them. My women.
My father is an outsider, he always has been, even in his own near-dying moment: he spoke of duties, inheritance, flats, papers… And he cried like a frightened baby clinging to me as to a mama. My mother is fighting alone with death in her consciousness, in her nightmares … Could these bad things happen to a lady like me, she wonders? Yes , she was an iron lady, a golden lady, a lady Macbeth, but still a lady. Not like me: with utmost cruelty she saw no lady in me, not even at her deathbed, and yet she tried so hard. Wrong material, I guess. Ladies are born, not made of plastic. Like queens. Now, I see reproach in her eyes, of me, of all of me, from all my life. I like that, she is on her own, letting me go, finally. Finally I will survive her death. She is critical of me, she doesn’t want to hear of my work, of my joys with which I want to cheer her , only of my duties. She doesn’t want me to tell her a tender goodbye and a thank you. We never had that kind of communication. She decided that: she used to say, Mina was a difficult child, always silent and critical, one could not get close to her.
I always thought it must have been my fault. I hold her tiny hand, without wedding rings, the ones she gave me coming to the hospital. We are all together, she is back home, my small but firm family: no regrets, no words… just deeds. So different from families where things happen quickly and with words. My family is a family from my favorite films and bad dreams. I let my daughter out of that family, I want her different, I want her free. I didn’t want my family to abuse her as they did me. And yet I feel, after all, not abused, only used. I guess that is what time does: a good and a bad job.

Day -1
She is in pain, I am trembling with nervousness but no pain. Should I feel her pain too? Am I guilty of a lack of compassion? When my daughter was feeling pain, I just couldn’t stand it anymore , I said then: well, who cares, if she dies, I will too. But then it was all over , no pain, no sense of guilt. But now it is different, if my mother dies, I must live on, for my daughter. So I must share the pain. Who is hurting her now: the system, the doctors, the hospitals, her own carelessness, me? I guess too much thinking doesn’t give insight, only more questions. I want to feel her pain, to be in labor with her, to be in delivery with her when she delivered me. I remember her coming into the delivery room when I had my baby. They kicked her out, but she managed to penetrate the institution to hold my hand. I didn’t want that then but I now want to share her pain. She wants me out of the room, there will be no sharing of pain: she is the mother, I am the daughter: distance and boundaries. I admire her dignity, or is it just coldness?

Day 0
Today I feel nothing, I take no drinks, no food: I am getting thinner and thinner, together with her. My father has left us, he started eating again after losing 15 pounds. Well, he is a man. I said to her, Karen Blixen lived 20 years on champagne, why shouldn’t we on beer. We like beer, it is cheap, it is healthy, it takes away the deadly thirst and calms broken nerves. You sleep well after beer. She said, yes, and here we are drinking beer: she on her deathbed with straws coming out of her nose and me on the terrace, smoking a cigarette. As when I had my baby and stayed with her, I smoked and drank on the terrace, not to disturb the baby sanctuary with my vices. At that time I thought I was vice in persona, someone to be banned.
I have cured several moribund patients, the latest one is my mother: last night she nearly died but I did not let her go. Along with her, my vices will disappear and I will go straight to heaven, too free to be free. I kissed her lovely skull and smoothed her rich hair, not yet white. She stayed with us and she is not possessed anymore: she has no pain, no temperature, no memory of what happened last night. Even the doctors today cannot tell what happened last night: they say it was a miracle, old people are just like that, they survive as if in a fairy tale. Well, I know better: the devil was in my mother, it always was there, but last night he took her voice, preaching and screaming. I fought like a saint against the Devil in my mother : the Devil as my mother. Finally I know, it is her who is possessed , not me.

Day 1
She taught me life, she gave me life. She taught me death. She died. Peacefully, she got her five minutes of heaven. She died in her sleep and she seemed a little girl afterwards. In those few minutes of heaven, from a very old lady – struggling with the invisible strength of death behind her back, her eyeballs white – she became a peaceful little girl singing nursery rhymes. Do children become old when they die? I didn’t see her dead, I gave her favorite dress and shoes to the nurses who dressed her. I kissed her still alive, warm face the day before, on Sunday. I was born on Sunday, she gave me life on a Sunday in a snowy tempest, and she left me one Monday morning, another snowy day. Early in the morning, both. Her time of life was early in the morning, but usually, she overslept.
While dying she wasn’t courageous, neither while giving birth. The doctors said so. In straight everyday life, she was tough and courageous, a hero. The opposite of me. Will I die courageously? I think I will. I kept saying to everybody crying over her: now, pull yourself together, as if it was their mother not mine. I remember crying over somebody else’s father as if he were mine, because I was thinking of this day when I will not have the luxury of crying, where I will just have to pull myself together and roll on. For the sake of life, as she taught me.
Well, I feel strange, lonely as if I miss a tree in the other hemisphere of the world, a tree I never saw and will never see. She was distant from me always but now she is nowhere. Not even distant. I miss her absence, her void. But I am recovering my spiritual life where she lives more than ever. My only constant fear is: is she really dead, is her body really dead? They covered her, they closed her in a coffin, they will burn her. She always feared suffocation, I fear for her. I want her to have her eternity of heavenly breath…
The doctors, the nurses, they all say: we thought she would make it. How come I didn’t? Did I see something they didn’t. That look in her eyes that I saw in my dying aunt’s eye, in my dying cousin’s face? The family dying look, on the feminine side. We see it among ourselves, it is invisible for doctors and outsiders. My mother was saying, I am afraid, do not leave me, stay with me, sleep here with me. That was not my mother, she would never have said that to me. I miss her voice and her stern dogmatic outlook on my loose life. I cannot forgive myself that I didn’t lie down next to her as she asked me. I sat on the bed next to her and let her go without me. Did I kill her by letting her go?
My wish on seeing the first snow was: sky above me, let her survive another winter, another summer, another birthday, and then I will seriously let her go. I made a promise I would not be able to keep and the sky didn’t trust me. Justly. So I let her go immediately and I killed her softly. I am suffering, I am suffering terribly and you all know how it is. Everybody has a mother, alive or dead and everybody understands me. I didn’t know it was universal, I didn’t know it had a feminine side to it. It was too obvious to know. Last beer and last breath.

About jasminatesanovic

Jasmina Tešanović (Serbian: Јасмина Тешановић) (born March 7, 1954) is a feminist, political activist (Women in Black, Code Pink), translator, publisher and filmmaker. She was one of the organizers of the first Feminist conference in Eastern Europe "Drug-ca Zena" in 1978, in Belgrade. With Slavica Stojanovic, she ran the first feminist publishing house in the Balkans "Feminist 94" for 10 years. She is the author of Diary of a Political Idiot, a war diary written during the 1999 Kosovo War and widely distributed on the Internet. Ever since then she has been publishing all her work, diaries, stories and films on blogs and other Internet media.
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