The secrets of early widowhood, Part Three.
It would be so easy to run away from my children.
I know, as mothers, that’s absolutely the last thing we should confess with any seriousness. It’s OK to joke about it, but it’s always with an undertone of exasperated indulgence.
I’ve known mothers, a handful of them in my past, who chose to leave their children, either with partners, parents or state; who choose to run away and live a life relatively unencumbered.
I also judged them so harshly. Women without a womb or a heart.
I don’t judge anyone that harshly anymore.
I get it, now.
The human mind is a terrifyingly amazing thing.
I know, I’ve experienced the way your mind can conveniently disconnect from things when they get too much. The way your brain can cut off the emotional connections to your nearest and dearest, in order to protect yourself.
I think my mind would do that for me again, if I needed it to.
If I chose to run away.
It would be painful, at first, and the guilt of leaving my babies would eat and scald at me. But… I could be as self destructive as I liked. I could start again, and forget everything I’ve been, everything I’ve done, everything I’ve seen.
I know where I’d go.
With no hesitation, no complications, nothing to encumber me. (Us..?)
And I’d make occasional phone calls home, and send money and presents to my children. And I’d find a way to justify it, over and over to myself until it was solid- I could find a good reason why it was better for me not to be with my kids, better for them not to be.
We can lie and cheat ourselves, if we want. Eventually the brain puts up partitions to the guilt and those neural pathways I’ve talked about before, they reform so you don’t think so much about the things that hurt.
And in the short term scheme of things, wouldn’t that be easier? Stunted, muted pain that I can ignore, rather than swimming through it every day.
But I just.. can’t. It wouldn’t be fair. As much as I love the thought of being able to sleep for twenty hours a day, to read books and take heavy prescription drugs and eats lots of food and cry and hibernate and not have to worry about nappies and sticky figures and a little boy who is trying to make sense of a world that doesn’t exist properly anymore, that he just can’t bring into focus.
I can’t swap, one for the other. My desire for obliteration, as much as I can find, with my children’ desperate need for the only parent they have left.
The temptation, some days it’s so intense it takes my breath away….
And I remind myself, that chubby fingers, and lispy words, the scent of milk and innocence.. they keep my heart beating.