Disappearing sunflowers

My mother has been dead for six
weeks now.  I think of her often.  How is she and has she found
out for sure what she once believed and I long doubted, that there is a place
out there somewhere where she can finally be at rest? 
It’s a curious confusion because
although I operate on the belief that my mother is now no more, she lives on in
my imagination and memory and in some strange way she grows bigger on
One of my daughters intends to
write a short biography of my mother as part of a university assignment.  She tells me she plans to write from the
perspective of contested truths about my mother.  The differences between the ways my mother
represented herself and the perspectives of others who knew her. 
My mother the saint, as distinct
from my mother the manipulative scheming – I went to say ‘bitch’ but that seems
too harsh by far.  Not my view, never my
view.  Manipulative yes, but always as a function
of my mother’s impotence.  Her inability to ask
directly out of a belief that she should somehow do without. 
I put up a picture of sunflowers on
my Facebook page three weeks ago. 
Glorious, upright, full faced sunflowers.  
They are now ready for the compost bin, sad and dishevelled, an
embarrassment in a vase.
They put me in
mind of my mother’s body before she died and the direction in which my own body now heads. 
I check my hands from time to time
for signs of ageing, the tell tale liver spots, big brown freckles alongside the
bulging veins on my otherwise pink fingers. 
The rings on my fingers remain the
same.  They scarcely age, though the
wedding ring I first wore nearly 37 years ago is beginning to thin out on one
A friend, now in company with my
mother out there somewhere, made this ring for me.  He cast it in gold and shaped the image of a
man on one side reaching out one hand to a woman on the other.  The man is bigger than the woman.  His shoulders stand upright, the highest
point of the ring’s texture, while the woman, who tends to sit on the inside of
my hand, is much flatter. 
I wear my ring this way, with the
man visible, the woman underneath, not consciously out of any symbolic view, but out of aesthetics and comfort.  If I try to
put both figures on top and in full view they look indistinguishable and the
bulky man rubs against the sides on my eternity ring on my middle finger, or if
I push it against my little finger with the man it feels lumpy. 

I completed one of those inane
tests you find on Facebook the other day, one which tells you after you have answered a
series of multiple choice questions around your preferences, the type of person you should avoid. 
Turns out the person I should most avoid
is a comedian.  The person who spends his
time cracking jokes.  The person with whom
I can never be serious. 
Like all these quizzes there’s a
grain of truth here perhaps, though in such an absolute way as to render it almost
Still it set me

I had thought the person I might most
seek to avoid is a person like me, a person who talks a lot, who might tend
to dominate a conversation, a person who wants to be seen and heard, unlike the
woman on my wedding ring, who hides underneath and brushes up against the soft padding
of my hand.
Sometimes she rubs against hard objects out there in the world, this woman who wears away into a thin
semblance of herself.  This woman who