So….it’s that “infamous” one year mark for a lot of things with my Mom. I’m doing so absolutely much better than a few months ago, even two months ago…but…I guess I knew deep inside that the one year mark would be difficult…and it is.
A year ago the beginning of this month, Mom was diagnosed with Wegener’s Disease. She came to stay with us from the hospital until she died in our home in December. I have to say that I can’t believe it was a year ago already. It doesn’t seem at all possible. When I think back on the time I am sooo sad. It hurts in a very different way now than it did a few months ago. I don’t know if it’s because my system has processed so much at this point? Before when I hurt, it was just totally engulfing…I don’t know how else to describe it. I guess there was no part of my being that wasn’t affected by the grief. Now, it’s a different form of hurt. I’m able to zero in on the “absence” of Mom…it’s not so much ALL of me…it’s now all of HER if that makes any sense?
I FEEL her gone now. I miss her so much and it’s so hard to know she isn’t here. Now is the time when I can sense her more and feel like if I could just drive to her home, she would be at the door, or phone her and she would pick up.
A year ago, we had our living room, which faced out over the park, set up as Mom’s room. Her hospital bed, a couple of cushy chairs for company, TV, night stand…she was all set up! One thing about Mom that you should all know…she NEVER complained. Ever. You couldn’t have hand picked a better patient to live with you!
I have ten siblings…and their spouses…and their children…and people were over ALL of the time and at all hours. You might think this drove us crazy…but truth be known…I miss it sooo much! I wish everyone could have the family I have been blessed with. This wasn’t a case of “I’m taking care of my Mom in her illness”. It was a case of “WE are”! Even though Mom was staying in my house…my family never left us to do anything on our own. We took turns taking time off work or switching shifts so that someone was always with her. Everyone cooked, cleaned, helped with Mom’s laundry, sat with her, watched movies with her, talked with her…just genuinely cared for her. And yes…we were all under a lot of stress, but we were all in it together and we will always have that.
We all grew closer as a result. I look back on one night in particular a few days before she died. She’d had a bad evening and so all of the family was called as we realized her death was imminent that night. It was about midnight, but all of my brothers and sisters and some spouses came. We sat around the bed in the dark with one tiny light on and watched and waited….and waited….and waited. Well…eleven brothers and sisters can only remain quiet for so long and pretty soon, one thing led to another and another…and we were telling stories of things that happened over the years and laughing and having the best time! I know it sounds crazy, but it was amazing! We swore Mom was listening and laughing too! The next morning found all of us sleeping in different corners of the floor, or a chair, or couch…wherever we could find a spot. Nobody went to a bedroom…we all wanted to be nearby and with each other. Mom didn’t die that night, but we will always remember that night because we were all together and it was our last time to share while Mom was still alive.
Tonight what I am thinking of are the times – and there weren’t many – when she cried. She was so brave and although she didn’t want to die, she accepted that she was going to, but she was human and so of course there were a few times she struggled with it. Even though it hurts to remember her sad like that – they are precious memories, because those were the times, late at night, I’d climb into the bed with her and hold her while she cried. That was the one thing I could give to her.
I miss her a lot…we all do.