Chapter 86: In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

It’s the wee small hours of the morning.  Hours I always think of Sinatra when I am feeling sad and a little lonely….He had a classic album of this title.

There are hours in the morning.  Late in the morning when you can’t sleep.  Thoughts are coming too quickly.  You know you should be in bed, but your mind won’t let you.  You’ve had a few drinks.  You started smoking again…Still no respite.

Your mind won’t stop.

And the older I get the more I understand and relate to Sinatra.

Sinatra sang:

“In the wee small hours of the morning.While the whole wide word is fast asleep.  You lie awake and think about the girl and never think of counting sheep. When your lonely heart has learned its lesson.  You’d be hers if only she would call..”

He sang this song about his lost love, Ava Gardner.  My Mother told me that….

I’ll make this correlation on the grounds that all Southern boys have a special love for their Mothers.  They put them on pedestals.  It’s trained from birth and it makes it that much more challenging for both when they inevitably tumble down to earth.

And I’m still awake at 3:oo am, having had enough wine and out of cigs, but still not able to sleep. It’s just me and Frank still awake in the house…

My loving partner, who understands me so well,  has learned to give me space when I get like this.  Sometimes, you I need to be alone with Frank, a little wine and a few cigarettes….

I’m thinking about the women in my life and in my family in a totally different context.

My Mother, my feisty, complicated difficult Mother died last week.  I’ve been forced to deal with my very different, emotionally unfiltered,  totally unlike  me, unreserved sister-who is currently furious with me because I suggested she might show some reserve in her public behavior.  And I’m furious with her for many reasons, too.

Death is never easy, but families can make it worse….

Sinatra sang:

“In the wee small hours of the morning, that’s the time you miss her most of all.”

I don’t know if I miss my Mother most or miss what I wish she had been.  It makes grief much more complicated when you remember both a beautiful, ephemeral woman who floated through life in an unthinking cloud of Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass cologne and a woman totally unequipped to deal with any variance to the small town social codes.  A woman who would never really accept as I am once I found and accepted my own true self. She still loved me and I loved her.  And she also  understood keeping up appearances and making the best of differing views.  We agreed to disagree even on vital issues.  We just grew more apart, more distant….Don’t ask, don’t tell was born and raised in the South.

Growing up in a small town, we always knew how to adapt and follow the rules even when they weren’t published and didn’t make sense.  It was a ritual ingrained in some of us from birth.

But my sister has never understood the game that is life in the South-especially in small towns.  She has always thought she could ignore the rules she found inconvenient and do whatever she wanted.  She never realized that others still do recognize the rules and that the price that one pays for disregarding them is not always obvious.  She has never been big on subtlety.

I love my sister and, in my own way  have tried to do everything I can to make this loss easier for her.  I know she was the one who took Mother to Doctor’s appointments, the hospitals and moved her from nursing home to nursing home.  I’m the one who kept his distance, made occasional visits and wrote the checks.  A lot of checks.  That doesn’t mean I cared less….

“In the wee small hours of the morning….”

I  said goodbye to my Mother a long time ago.  I’ve always believed the mind, not the body, held the soul of the individual.  I said goodbye when my Mother stopped recognizing me and stopped making rational comments.  To me, that was harder than watching her last breaths at the nursing home….

But I was there as she took those last breaths.  Because it was part of the ritual and because it just might give her some comfort.  I was willing to do “the right thing” and check my emotions at the door- something I’m very good at.

And I wish my sister didn’t publicly judge my attempts or motives to make her loss easier and help her manageh ow others may view her comments and actions.  Frankly, you must be careful with blogging.  I’ve learned that.

I’m coming out of the closet yet again.  She is the one causing me to break my promise not write about those who are living and recognizable.  When I advised her, in a very private message,  to “dial back” her Facebook comments about her grief, but never her grief itself, she lashed out at me in a public way that I don’t know that I can ever forgive.  I’m too old to forgive an emotional recklessness that is only, possibly, tolerable in the very young.

My Father always said grief was a personal, quiet thing.  You sucked it up and went on.  That it was tacky and self-indulgent to wallow in grief too publicly.  It makes some people uncomfortable and seems, to some, self-serving.  Life has to go on.  People do talk and judge- especially in small towns. Maybe I was wrong to give that advice to my sister, but it’s how I was raised to get through the public rituals of death.

Maybe neither my Father nor I were made for the Jerry Springer world of the internet and the modern tendency to put all your emotions on public display.

Neither was Sinatra….

Some of us still struggle quietly alone through the “Wee Small Hours of the Morning” alone- trying to find out how to balance the old ways with the new. The small town upbringing with a wider world view and experiences we’ve gained since we left there…. Still trying to navigate the minefields of familial relationships and small town rules and games- even when we think we have moved on and left all that behind….

In the wee, small hours of the morning…

Writing on about our journeys and our thoughts on the internet.

With Frank, a little wine and an empty pack of cigarettes….


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2 Responses to Chapter 86: In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

  1. dara lamberson says:

    Scott, I am sorry that you are going through this. That is true that when someone dies who you had a difficult relationship with, it is hard in a much different way. I think while they are alive the child in you always has a hope that maybe, just maybe one day it will be different and when they are gone…well, they are gone. And along with them goes that child who wanted that loving parent you see on TV. So, it is almost like you have lost 2 people. I will deal with this myself one day with my mother. Hang in there….

  2. Scott M says:

    Thank you, Dara….

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