Two years? Can it be? Two years since my life changed forever and my mother died in my arms? It is so hard for me to comprehend. I still cry many mornings, but not every day now. I still ache deep inside for my loss of my dear, sweet, friend. I find Christmas especially hard, since she loved it so. Most Christmas songs can send me straight into a crying jag. I feel no Christmas spirit anymore and really can’t wait for the whole season to be over. Time has given me some perspective though, I can see how much pain my Mom was in over the last year of her life. I am glad that she is not around to endure any more pain. Life in pain, is not the way to live. I recently looked at a video taken about 2 weeks before she died and I can see that her end was closer than I could face at the time. I just couldn’t think of losing her then.
I miss her wit, her wisdom, and her smile. Each day, she lives on in me, but I am a poor imitation. I miss my friend.
Everyone has a different relationship with their mother. I certainly did. We were so much alike and we were always there for each other. We had lost so much together… My father to Alzheimer’s Disease, a sister-in-law to cancer, and my two brothers to suicide. With losses like that, it bonds the remaining family even tighter together, even if they were close to begin with. I find it difficult sometimes when I realize that I am the, “last one standing,” in my immediate family. I am moving forward… little by little, but today I step back more than a few steps. I miss my friend.
One week from today marks the death of my best friend, my protector, my fountain of wisdom, my champion… my Mom. I find it hard to believe that it has been a year. I still cry every morning… I call it my, “Mom Time.” I have adapted to my new daily routine as a non caregiver. My life does not revolve around doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, meal planning, and helping with dressing and bathing. I sleep through the night without having to help anyone to the bathroom. I have a full time job now that pays the bills and do not worry about how long I can go without bringing money in to pay for home health aides and medical supplies. I do not have the nagging feeling when I am out that I must get home soon, because my mother needs me to make a meal or help her get into bed. My back does not hurt, as it did from transferring someone from recliner to wheelchair, wheelchair to chairlift, chairlift to wheelchair, wheelchair to toilet, toilet to wheelchair, wheelchair to bed. I do not have the many arguments, about the least important things, that my mom and I would inevitably have. Wow! Sounds like my life is so much better now… it isn’t. I miss each and every worry, pain in my back, financial woe, and what I wouldn’t give again to have a full blown argument again with her. I would do anything if I could just see her infectious smile, hear her joyful laughter, or feel her tender touch again. We were always close, but our family triumphs, tragedies, and losses that we experienced together created an unusually strong bond. While I am stronger because of her, I am also weaker without her. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. She was a survivor, I am a survivor. The world is just not quite as sunny, or funny, or loving, or tender, or poetic, or special since she left us… almost one year ago.
Sunday marked the 6 month anniversary of my mom’s death. I find it hard to believe that it was that long ago now. I still think and cry about her every day, although it is for a shorter time. The feelings of sadness are now hit with an overlay of disbelief. I find it so had to accept that I will never talk to her again. There are so many things that I really would like to ask her. It is so hard when something interesting in my life happens now and I am not able to share it with her. She was always there for each “triumph and tragedy!” While we changed the house and have packed up much of her stuff, there is still much to do. I just don’t have the motivation right now to do it. What I find hard to deal with is all the knowledge, stories, and history that are now forever lost because she is not here. Thank God she wrote so many wonderful poems about her life that I can go to whenever I miss her. It is just that it is an incomplete picture, and I long for more. I think that is what my grief has turned into…a longing and ache for more that I know in my heart I can never have. The best two words to describe the feeling would be, “it sucks!” My friends and family have been so supportive and I am so grateful for that. I have had a lot of loss in my life and have managed to get to the other side of it. This one has been the most difficult, and while I am moving forward, the process is extremely painful and challenging.
It has been over four months since my mother and best friend died. I miss her terribly, but I am getting on with my life. For some reason, the last two days I have been missing her more than ever and feeling a little blue. Blame it on the rainy weather I guess. I feel her presence fading from the house. I really don’t like it. Time is moving forward so fast and yet I would give anything to go back to my old life. My whole day was scheduled around her as her caregiver and it is so weird to not have that responsibility. I know I am starting to move on, and I only cry every other day now, but I have to fight wanting to live in a world that can never be… now that she is gone. She was the last member of my immediate family and I can’t believe sometimes that I am the only one left. I have always been a “big kid,” and even though I have taken on big responsibilities in life, I could still feel like a child while my mother was alive. It is time to grow up, and I fight that with all my being. I know I will always be a “kid at heart,” but I am the oldest person now in my family. I miss my daily interaction with her the most. While my partner is so loving, he just doesn’t talk much! Even after Mom suffered a stroke she was always going on about something, or getting into some project around the house. The house is so quiet now. I don’t like being here that much now. It is hard to believe how much one person could actually do to fill a house. She filled it. We were so close and we had been through so much together. I talk to other friends and they just didn’t end up having the relationship that I had with my parents. I think that we were just a little different than most. It must be the caregiver aspect that somehow changes your relationship forever. I think I feel perhaps a little how a parent might feel when they lose a child. I don’t know how my mother survived losing two of her three sons to suicide. I know it broke her heart, and her death has broken mine. Time is healing…I can feel it, but I carry an ache with me that I think will never go away. She touched so many while she was here, and I wish that everyone could have met her. She knew how to brighten a rainy day. It is raining now, and she is not here.
It has been a little over two months since my Mom died while I was holding her hand. In some respects I am feeling better, but in other respects I am feeling much worse. As the time passes I become aware of the distance in time since she was alive on the earth. As I get further away from her death, I feel myself not wanting to move on. If I couldn’t keep her here alive, I almost want to keep the sadness then of her not being here. I cry every day, especially in the morning hours as I spent each day doing something with her. I miss her home health aides that would come on Mondays and Thursdays, both of whom have been coming to help out with my Dad or Mom since the mid 1990’s. I am sure my mother’s death has left a hole in their week as well. Since I live in her house, there are constant memories of her everywhere. We have started to change things a bit to make the house our own, but it is difficult. No matter what we change, it is still the house that my parents picked out for retirement and still the house that held so many memories of happiness and tragedy. I am not sure if any amount of new furniture or coat of paint can ever change that. I am not sure if I want to live in a place that forever will keep me locked inside with those constant memories.The house is comforting in some ways as it was the second home I ever knew, but can I truly ever go forward with a house that is so full of echoes of the past? Time and decorating will tell, and it is far too soon to even think of moving at this point, but I do wonder. I wish I could say that it was only the house that was full of memories. I pass a restaurant she liked, a doctor’s office we frequented in later years, or some beautiful landscape that she commented on, and I am missing her again. She was such a part of my life and daily routine that I would have to move from the area to not have constant reminders. I hope that in time, these “triggers” will not have the power over me as they do now. I think that I will probably be desensitized to them, or at least I hope my reaction will be one of fond remembrance, rather than intense sadness. Since my life was really about being my parents caregivers for 24 hours a day and seven days a week for the past 19 years or so, I have not been prepared for what a life changing event the loss of that role would be to me. I have been doing it for so long that I stopped imagining what a different life would be. When my Mom died on that dark day of December, my whole life, routine, and identity died as well. I think that I am not only mourning the loss of my Mom, but the life that I had and knew how to maneuver. Now that both my parents have died I must plan a new life for myself. I think that I might have been overwhelmed at the thought of it all in these past few weeks. I hope that in time I can see this as a time to really grow into new directions, rather than a time of mourning the loss of an old life. Everything good or positive in me is because of my wonderful loving, nurturing parents. I know that they would want me to shine and brighten up the world as they did to me and so many others. While I am having a tough time right now, I hope that as I move forward I can make better sense of it all and enjoy the precious life that they gave me.