Strange viewpoint from a 50something

Posts tagged ‘Mom’

If only she could answer…

Hello?

Hi ya Ma,

Hi Sweetie,

I miss you! How is it there?

It’s wonderful! I’m with your Dad, he looks so good!! =]

You doing ok?

Oh yes! I’m off the oxygen and I can breathe again! I’ve even lost some weight!

That’s great Ma..

Dad and I have been doing a lot of dancing since I’ve been here…

I’m so happy for you.. you got a few minutes to talk?

 

 

3 years since I’ve heard her voice. I’ve dialed her number countless times. As it rings, I imagine words that will be said. All the things I want to tell her, those small victories to have her cheer about.. all the hurts I want to cry to her about.. all the love I felt no matter what I did or said.. all those encouraging words to lead me in the right direction..

If only she could answer..

 

 

 

 

 

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Is that the phone ringing?

Tomorrow is my birthday. And she is not going to call and sing to me.

Since the day I was born, she sang the Happy Birthday song. First, in my ear as a baby, next, over cake and candles as I grew older and later it was by phone. Last year was the first time she couldn’t make it through the whole song…. her ragged breathing made it so difficult for her. At the time, she apologized, and we laughed about it. In that moment, it didn’t occur to me that it would be the last time.

There is something about birthdays that only a Mom can understand. When you give birth to a child… that day is forever etched into your soul. That one day where you have that super strong connection to one person. The one day, and she never missed it, my ears would hear her sweet voice singing. For 55 years, she never missed it.

Tomorrow is my birthday. And the most awful year of my life comes to an end. I had no idea that on that day, one year ago tomorrow, when she couldn’t finish the Birthday song… that she had only a couple months left to live. Because of her death, I find that I just spin now…. in no particular direction. Not necessarily out of control, but with little purpose. So many aspects of my life have changed. I lost her. My career took a hit and changed dramatically. My relationship took a serious hit and I still feel the sting of that. I’ve had very little joy. I tried many times to write for this blog but I just couldn’t find anything upbeat enough to share. I have wallowed in this year of firsts… all revolving around the absence of my Mom. First Christmas, first Mother’s Day (by far, the hardest one… until tomorrow), first time returning to St. Louis to find that “going home”┬áisn’t the same. Many things happened to me, a few good but mostly bad things. I am glad it’s almost over…. this awful year of firsts.

Tomorrow I begin again, another year on my own road. Yes, I am aware that I must continue without her… but I don’t much like it. I’ve had many precious people die in my lifetime, as we all do, but there is always the absence of that one important person that will change your destiny. I lost my Dad suddenly when I was 28, it was such a blow to my family. And because I was young and all caught up raising my own child, I didn’t get the enormity of it. Since his death, I’ve lost many… all my grandparents, some aunts, some uncles, a few friends… and even a grandchild. But none of those losses prepared me for the loss of my Mom. I still have little girl issues, I still stomp around and whine about how unfair it is that she is gone. My little girl heart is broken and will never be the same.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I guess I will be sing to myself…..

Home now is just a house.

 

Very low key, this drive to St Louis was. I sat in my car outside her house a few minutes.. a little hestitant to go in. I might have sat there longer but little brother was inside waiting for me to arrive. He must have heard me pull up because he was coming out to meet me as I got out of my car. The sadness and relief felt by us both as we stood there and hugged.
After a couple hours of talking and crying and laughing, he asked if I was sure I was ok to stay here – you know – by myself. And I was. I hadn’t felt uncomfortable being in the house… except looking at the empty bed sitting in the dining room. Stripped and lowered, it was now just a piece of equipment. The first thing on my list is to call and have all of this stuff picked up. I want to get the dining room table back in there, so it’s more home than ‘Mom’s last stand’.
I went to bed in a very, very quiet house. Her air machines were noisy but once you were used to the sound it became soothing. So there I layed… in the quiet… going crazy!! I turned the television on and went right to sleep.

The guy came early, picked up the bed and things the following day. Now that the table and chairs are back in their spots, things ‘feel’ almost normal. This has been home for 35 years.. but there remains a vacancy. Her presence is missing. Strange, but when she was in the hospital and we came into this house, she was here, you could feel her. Walking around today I still feel little wiffs of her but there is such an emptiness now. ugh.
Tomorrow will be even stranger as Kenny and I will go speak to someone about her arrangements. She was very clear about what she wanted done and we are determined to honor all that she asked.
I’ve mostly been my adult self the last few days. Whenever the little girl in me shows herself that’s when her death is the hardest. The child in me cries. The child in me doesn’t want to let go… Momma…

Mom, we’re on our way…

8 hours of driving. Of wondering, speculating, crying, wishing and fearing the unknown. I went straight to the hospital where my brother met me. Never saw this before… the worry mixed with relief on his face. As we walked in, he talked a mile a minute, explaining what I was walking into. We got to her room and I peered in the window. Her frail frame laying in the bed. Angry looking contraption on her face. The tv was on and I kinda hoped she was awake, but she was asleep. Kenny and I decided to find some coffee and check in on her in a bit. Again, he filled me in on everything. Doctors, medical status, her paperwork… it went on. We cried and we laughed and we worried together for the first time in years.
Mom was asleep still when we checked on her again. I was tired. He was tired. So it was decided we would return in the morning. We got to his house and I think we were still a little wound up so we went through some of the paperwork, and the pad of paper he was reading all this overwhelming information from was in his handwriting. He has spent these last few days investigating all the medical aspects and all the legal aspects. The time he must have spent to have so much information! I was quietly impressed, and secretly relieved.
I am nervous as we drive there the next day… how am I going to handle seeing her in such a sad state? How will put on that brave face and not show the fear I feel? Every step closer to her room my feet seem to gain weight.
Deep breath, I walk through the door and there she is… sitting up, no mask with a surprised smile on her face… “well what are you doing here?” I was stunned. Kenny was stunned. Neither of us processing that she seems to be herself. Gosh I was so glad to see her! All that worrying about things unknown. It’s dawning on me, wait a minute, I had come to terms with this in my mind and now what’s this?? A reprieve? Hope? Please?
For a few days now I have seen two things… This woman, my Mom, is willing herself back to what she wants… to go home. But I also she the fear and acceptance of a life lived, of the reality of the end of her life. She knows it’s close.

My sister arrived Friday night from Switzerland. We had a telephone conference with Mom’s main doctor. Very thorough he was. With great respect, he delicately explained exactly where Mom’s health is. The beauty of the last couple days is my lovely Mom has been herself, joking and cuttin’ up. Being the sassy-self she is. The situation is very grim though, regardless of this wonderfully hopeful resurgence. Doctor tells us her choices are she goes into an assisted living facility and her medical needs will always be top priorty, they will use all means necessary to keep her alive, or she can go home with hospice, and ride out the rest of her days. Now, in either scenario, her time is (“I don’t have a crystal ball and can’t truly say how long”) really limited to just months.
After a long discussion between us, we will go in today, surprise her with Karen, and deliver the worse news anyone in any condition will ever be prepared to hear. This is where we have to be the strong adults she so diligently raised.