Neil Young – Winterlong

I hate live versions mainly because people tend to sing along. I sing along too but on youtube videos I find it obnoxious. In this follow letter I capitalize my father’s moniker not out of respect for him, I have very little admiration for him but out of respect for the audience which really is not you originally (no offense, just the truth.) This song reminds me of my Mother. I hate to admit that I love anyone as much as I love my Mother. As uncomplicated yet complex a love as the one I have for her (even now,) isn’t something that would ever be duplicated in my life. I feel it goes without saying but really all the energy, pain and passion that even thinking of her brings up could not exhaust a tome. I can’t explain to you or anyone else how devastated I am. And that doesn’t describe the loss her death has created in my life and heart and soul. I hurt so bad.

This is a letter (e-mail,) I wrote to a co-worker of my Mom’s who I used to see at the Graduate school of Oceanography when Mom and I worked there. I hadn’t seen him for about 5 years when he approached me at Mom’s Memorial. Every person that my Mother knew was decent and honorable. I wish I could say that about many of the people that I came to know in my travels. It’s lead me to believe that some people tend to collect like people around them. It has also made it hard for me to believe that I am a “good” or decent person since I seem to attract some true scum bags.

On to the letter…

Hi E,

Thank you for writing me. I felt conflicted at Mom’s Memorial when you wanted to talk to me about your experience. There were so many people there and in reality I had left the reception line because it became too much for me.
I was curious to hear what you had to say. I’ve been staying with Mom and my Father since 2008 mainly because Dad was really going down at that point and I was afraid for Mom’s safety and mental health. As you know it takes much energy to be a caretaker for someone you love.
It is difficult to be here presently. This house and the 40+ years of our family’s life has accumulated over time. I felt very close to Mom and in many many ways she helped me stay stable by giving me a job, helping me with my kids and just being herself. Saying that I will miss her doesn’t even cover what I feel about her. I feel so lost.
 While staying here with Mom there were times I didn’t agree with her decisions concerning my Father. Some of my siblings and I felt he should have been in a nursing home earlier. Out of respect I didn’t force my views on her. Still I planned to move to Philadelphia where I have a good friend who already lives there in case the situation at home became too much for me to bear. And I became more involved with some personal plans that I had been working on before I ever moved in with my parents. I knew when my Father passed on that Mom would have her science interests to carry her onward. She had so many wonderful, intelligent friends who cared about her.
I am still involved with my ongoing interests. I’m taking it slow right now because the loss for me is great. These changes, they are overwhelming. My Mother was a small woman but an exceptional force. And her absence is something that can not be restored or replaced so I feel it ceaselessly. It is not a wounding, it’s a dearth. I could write line after line not really explaining what she meant to me and means to me still.
It sounds like your Father and and my Mother were similar people in some respects. It also sounds like you had a deep respect and love for your Father. Do you have siblings?
I am lucky to have a small family that tries very hard to be civil with each other. Mom’s appeal was her ability to influence respect in other people. She would be happy that each of us are being considerate of the other. Right now is a particularly difficult time because of the material things and the childhood home. I am having a difficult time staying here as it is full of our family history. At the same time I’m hoping that spending time here will help me to be comforted by the remains of my Mother’s essence so that I can maybe gently let go of her. I don’t know if that is realistic but I do know for now it is helping me keep it together. I cry too much as it is and for small things as well as memories and the fact that I can’t share anything with her anymore. I do feel lost and like an abandoned child at times. I don’t really know what is the “right way” of grieving or if there is a right way to grieve.
Since I have unloaded such a personal and large amount of emotion and information on you I will try to end this soon. Thank you for sharing what was on your mind with me. That meant a lot to me especially right now when I feel like I am in a maelstrom of confusion and feelings. I rather things be easier but I think if I am able to handle what is going on and learn to manage this horrible year I may be able to handle serious tragedy. Not that I want to invite tragedy but more so I can learn how to manage pain.
Please, if you think of something that can help me, I would appreciate hearing about it. I really can’t imagine 6 months from now never mind 20 years without my Mother. For now I am living day to day and making plans in the hope that my head won’t explode with the loss. Dramatic I know, but she meant that much to me. I never really thought about how lucky I was that G M Ph was *my* Mother. I never wanted to imagine how much I would miss her. I hurt right now so I’m going to stop writing.
Thank You For Writing E,
The following link goes to the Pixies version of Winterlong. Listen to it, it’s really good.