Joyce in the Bardo
December 2020. Acrylic on canvas. 18 x 14 in.
My mother is dying, on hospice now at home. She was in the hospital for eight days, the first four in the ER because there were no beds available. Because of the covid surge no visitors were allowed, and because of her condition it was almost impossible to reach her by phone or to know if she understood where she was, or why.
Now at least she is home, with those whom she knows and who care for her. But how much of that she understands I don’t know, as she is in another bardo now, a twilit limbo of morphine.
Or perhaps it is me that is in the bardo. I couldn’t reach her in the hospital; I can’t reach her now. I can’t know what she wants, or feels, or needs. I can’t know if she understands what is happening to her.
Or maybe it is all of us that are there, trapped by covid, incompetence, and craziness in a limbo life of no real contact and of dimmed connection, where true knowledge of one another cannot happen and action is not possible or means nothing.
I do not know if my mother has the will or desire to press past this state. I know I do. Our nation, despite nearly 300,000 dead, seems determined to remain in it.