Wrote this a few months after losing my mom...
I wrote this a few months after losing my mom. It's been over a year now and it still hurts just as bad.
One of these days, I may want to stop talking about my mother. I may start to take more than a passing interest in the events consuming the rest of the country like I use to.
I may even start to think that much of it isn't superficial nonsense, irritating background noise that distracts us from the things that really matter in life.
But not today. Today I'm grieving like I have been for months now, which I realize is not a concept that fits neatly into our busy, modern society.
My mother died suddenly a day after Easter, one of her favorite holidays. She loved any excuse to get the family together. The funeral - a lovely one apparently, though my thoughts were too foggy from the weeping and grief to judge - is over, and life is supposed to return to normal.
My family and I are expected to have mourned her, dealt with our grief and moved on.
Modern life demands that you get the crying out of the way so you can get back to work and whatever constitutes normality.
But the reality is somewhat different. No one tells you about the overwhelming sense of loss and sadness, those feelings of devastation, anger, blame, guilt and regret. And the need to be able to talk about your loved one, to have that loss acknowledged.
You simply cannot understand the grief of losing a mother, especially one that is also your best friend until you have experienced it. As one person put it, it's like a club that you never want to belong to.
How long does this go on? Is there a timetable? A limit so-to-speak? Will there ever be a day when I don't notice something that reminds me of mom that puts that lump in my throat?
Grief does strange things. It almost blinds you and it certainly numbs you to the point that you almost feel nothing. I believe God knows our hurt and he gives us the ability to get through it by numbing our entire being.
But I think blindness and numbness are good defenses. It kept us emotionally sedated for long enough to cope with the awfulness of those hours at the Wake Forest critical care unit, where we were suspended between denial and acceptance, hope and resignation.
How else could we have coped after the life support was turned off and we waited for my mother to die? Back then we couldn't even say the "d" word.
It was the numbness and that sense of unreality, the feeling that none of it was real, that got us through picking out moms final outfit. The sadness of attaching the family tree lapel pin we had ordered for her for mothers day. The checking out the burial plot, choosing a casket, and then painfully deciding on the music and flowers for the funeral.
By the funeral we had entered a twilight zone in which the old world we had known and loved had ceased to exist.
Our mother had been the centre of our world, the glue that held our family together, our anchor.
She was the best person I have known. She was our Christmases and Thanksgivings, our birthdays and weekends. She loved us without judging us, and she was proud of her children, of her grandchildren and our achievements.
We spent time with her because we liked her, because she was fun, and exuded joy and a deep faith that warmed us and made us feel protected.
She loved animals, traveling, shopping and bargains. It was her dream to see NY and I thank God I didn't wait any longer to take her there. It is one of the many memories that I cherish, however, it is also one that brings both a smile and a tear. Will that ever change? Will there be a time when I can simply "remember" without the longing and sadness of wanting to go back? Only time will tell.
Ageing parents are supposed to die when their time comes, and it is assumed that their adult children, no longer emotionally or financially dependent on them, will cope.
But nothing really prepares you. Mom was only 68. I'm told it hurts just as much to lose a parent in their 80s or 90s, but my father, brother and I still feel envious, cheated of those lost years.
The last time I really saw my mother, she was standing on her porch waving until I was completely out of sight.
Mom always said "goodbye" as though it were the last time she might see us. I'm glad I told her I loved her, as I always did on parting. I'm glad I went back for that second hug, something I didn't always do. I believe it was a whisper from God that told me "you should".
I ask God every day to pick some flowers for mom and tell her they're from me just so she knows I'm thinking of her.
Life moves on, yes. But it doesn't feel as sweet without my mother.