About Me

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Wild Card, 2006. Winner of "best oral sex scene" - Scarlet Magazine. Amanda's Young Men, 2009. Excerpted in Scarlet Magazine; Juicy Bits. Sarah's Education, 2009. Hit the #1 spots on Amazon.co.uk adult fiction & adult romance best seller lists. Jade Magazine bestowed the best cover art, 2009 award on Sarah's Education. "Get Up, Stand Up!" which appeared in The Cougar Book (Logical-Lust) won me the title 'Story Teller of the Year 2011' at The Erotic Awards, London, UK. Sarah's Education took the #3 spot on a list of the 30 most titillating titles of all time, as reported in English Daily Mail ;Female; Nov. 12, 2012. Debutante, a petite novel for e-publisher Imprint Mischief, (Harper-Collins) pubbed in 2012. I tutor writing students and am a member of the WGC. D.M. Thomas said: Madeline Moore writes great sex without metaphor and that's not easy to do. Kris Saknussemm said: You're a good egg, Madeline Moore. I am a good egg who writes great sex without metaphor! Yippee!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Death Socks


The Death Socks are a pair again. It always makes me happy when I have both. I've lost one often, in the eight years since she died, and sometimes the lost one stays lost for a great stretch of time.

I've even turned that lonely remaining sock into a sachet, filling it half full of potpourri, tying it off with a knot and placing it in my lingerie drawer. At such times I admonish myself for my unhappiness at having lost its mate. I have lots of her stuff, I remind myself. Jewellery and china. I even have her mink. It's silly to mourn the loss of a sock.

But they were her favourites. She wore them to the end, I think. But that would mean I took them off her feet after she died. I don't think that's what happened but I might be wrong.

She died at home, with dignity, surrounded by loved ones. We read that a lot, at least the part about dignity and loved ones. I wonder how often it's really true. In this case, it's really true.


I was her primary care giver in an anticipated death at home. She was my mom. We were symbiotic. When she was sad I was sad and when she cried I cried. She cried a couple of times. When she was brave I was brave, and she was usually brave. When she forgot she was dying and laughed, I forgot and laughed, too. And when she remembered, I remembered.

She ate as long as she could hold a spoon. I said, "Mom, tell me what you want and if I can do it, I will."

"I want you to make your vichyssoise," she said, so I did. Her last few meals were home made vichyssoise. I was true to my word.

Thanksgiving Dinner, her final scheduled appearance, was a triumph. She had seconds! That night, I cupped her elbow from time to time, to help the slow motion progress of her fork to her mouth. But I never fed her.

This anticipated death at home was one of the few times in my life when I knew I was doing the right thing. I knew it was a good thing to do. That absolute knowledge was powerful.

We were a team, she and I. She said "I love you," to me a thousand times. I have siblings who hoped for one such expression from her, and hoped in vain. I was the lucky one.

She died on a Sunday. The funeral was Wednesday. I flew back to Toronto on Thursday and on Friday I started packing up the family home. I'd signed the sale of our house by fax. My husband and I were separating and I only had a month to organize the move.

People think I endured two terrible events back to back, but that's not the case. The death was a beautiful thing. We were successful. She showed me her strength and her weakness. She asked me to take care of her and I said I would. And then I did.

The murder of the marriage and the ugliness that went along with it, that's the tragedy.

The first loss of a Death Sock occurred shortly after I'd returned home. My best friend, Ted, had some of my art and I had some of his and I'd decided we should trade back before the move. It'd been raining so I was wet as well as miserable when I arrived. Looking back, I think the scope of my problems overwhelmed him. Anyway, for whatever reason, he bailed on our friendship.

My socks were still soaked when I left. I cried all the way home, not as viscerally as I had when my Dad pronounced my Mother dead, but close. When I realized I only had one sock on, I cried harder. I wanted both socks. I didn't really want the mink coat but I wanted those socks. I was sure I'd left one at Ted's place, a place I knew I'd never visit again.

But apparently not. The second sock surfaced and joined the first. Since then one has gone missing, often. I don't worry about it any more. When Felix and I moved, I paired them up again. Two Death Socks in a drawer.

They are short, cotton socks, white with a blue pattern. Similar to the ones in this picture.



I'm happy when I wear them and I do wear them (unlike the mink.)

I'm wearing them now, remembering her and me and us. I remember resting beside her dead body. I'd been sleeping with her for a few weeks and the fact that she was dead didn't deter me from curling up beside her and fiercely promising her still warm corpse, "I will never let a man crush me, again."

I was happy, curled up beside her. We'd accomplished what we'd set out to do. The cancer was her tragedy, but her exit from this world was our triumph.

7 comments:

Shanna Germain said...

Lovely, moving piece, Madeline. It made me cry. In that good way. It was just what I needed today. Thank you.

Best, s.

Madeline Moore said...

Thank you Shanna.

Anonymous said...

Madeline, I know how it was for you, and am often moved by remembering it. The inner strength that you showed is an important strand in the intricate tapestry that is you, who I am privileged to love.

Felix

Anonymous said...

Now how can I comment after reading Felix's lovely prose? :)
But Maddie, my dear, that was a beautiful, accurate and poignant account of our Mother's last days and your success in seeing her out in peace. It's funny how the oddest thing can be the most treasured - a pair of socks, a tiny crystal bowl that reflects rainbows in the spring. She will live on in our hearts forever.
MT.

Sherry said...

the line about never letting a man crush you again. wow! some people swear on their mother's grave but you were right there with her then. powerful stuff.

the other line about how she never said i love you and how lucky you were. that was powerful too.

Madeline Moore said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, sisters! The thing about being there for it all is that you know what's going on, which really isn't that much. A quiet wait for Death to appear and claim his prize.

If you're not in the thick of it, all you do is worry. Imagine drama, where there really isn't any.

After this experience I was reading the quiz at the back of Vanity Fair. Carrie Fisher was asked how she'd choose to die and she said, 'drug-assisted death at home.'

I thought about that. You know, there are a lot of positive things about it. I think I agree with Carrie Fisher.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps part of the reason I can be more nostalgic for places than for people is because I was not with Mom at the end. I let her go when I left, and although she wasn't one to say "I love you" a lot, I never felt I wasn't loved. I've been accused of being her 'favorite,' but I never felt that either.
We were all fortunate to have had such a supportive, non-judgmental mother and I for one feel I have been a better parent for it.

Roger (who else?)