As far back as I can remember, I have always jotted my thoughts and feelings down onto paper, in some fashion or another. I learned this from my mother, who always thought the sweetest gifts was something I made for her in grammar school. She kept every single thing I ever made or gave her. I have been blogging for a very long time now, and those blog posts were my feelings about books, movies and television shows. I do know that any form of writing is extremely therapeutic and so this will be my very first post about my personal life, and someone I love dearly. My mother loved my writing (still does) and she was my biggest champion, so this post is mostly for her.
My mother passed away a little over two weeks ago, and it turned my whole world upside down. I have been my mothers caregiver for the past eight plus years, and it was the most rewarding, and most important job I have ever had in my life. I won’t got into the details of her health problems, because 1. it did not define her, and 2. the pain is still too fresh to do so.
Every time she had been in the hospital for any extended period of time, she would always come home and say “I am so tired, as soon as I recover from one bout, I have to go back in with yet another one, and I have not yet recovered from this latest thing”. It is hard to watch your mother go through so much constant pain and agony, and not be able to take that pain away. I was used to hearing these particular words from her, and did not think anything about it when she again said “I don’t know how much more of this I can take, I just want to rest, but the doctors want follow ups, and I can’t rest ever. They don’t think about the emotional toll this has on me”. After having time to think about it, what she was saying felt different somehow, like it weighed on her more.
The day after she came home from yet another hospital stay, she was still not 100%, in fact she was nowhere near it. When I said good morning Mom, she said the same and it was her next words that I can still hear very clearly. It was something she has said before, but was said with more meaning and feeling, like she wanted to make a point. She said “Diane, I am sorry I have given you such a hard time, and been such a pain in your ass. You take such good care of me, and I thank you for that. I love you so much.”
I told her no need to apologize or thank me and that I can be a pain in hers as well. I told her that I loved her too. I can’t remember if I hugged or kissed her that day either, but I would like to think that I had and also done it a lot in the past eight years we spent together. It was later that night when she collapsed at home, and passed away at the hospital. I had lost the most important person in the world to me, and who loved me beyond measure.
I used to think that when and if my mother passed away, I would have something very profound to say about her at the memorial service. She was the best mother that any girl could every ask for, and yet I could not get up and share one thing about her to anyone. Anything we ever did together, words we shared with each other, and time we spent together, I wanted to keep to keep for myself. I did not even want to share it with my brothers. Is that selfish of me? Yes, I suppose it is, but that is how I felt. I still feel that way for the most part, so the really precious moments I will keep to myself.
I never once thought I would lose her, despite all her health issues, and I most certainly did not think about how I would feel living in a world that she is no longer a part of. I did tell her that I would honor her somehow, but I am still working on that. I know that most of my friends worried about me, when I gave up my dreams to take care of my mother, but I was not worried, much anyway. I always felt like she gave up many, many things to take care of my three brothers and I, and most of that was done as a single parent. Why shouldn’t I do the same? It was my choice, and I would make that same decision again, a million times over.
What I was not prepared for, but should have been, was how lost I would feel when she could not take the pain anymore, and left me all alone. I knew it would hurt like hell, but was not prepared to feel as if I had lost myself too. Me, without my mother, my rock, was not something I allowed myself to think about, EVER! She was always such a big part of my world, that I might have taken it for granted she would always be here.
Because I took care of her, I never once thought about what I would do with myself if I ever lost her. Now, I do ask myself that, because she is not here for me to hand over her morning coffee and breakfast. I can’t ask her what her blood sugar was, or if she was feeling okay ten times a day. That particular question grated on her nerves, but she always answered it, no matter what. She knew it made me feel better, because I could not take her pain away.
My mother raised a strong woman so I know I can get through this, but I never thought it would be this soon. She is not here for me to make breakfast, lunch or dinner for. She is not here for me to watch our favorite TV shows with, or work the Jumble and Cryptoquote from the local paper with. I never thought what I would be like without her. ME WITHOUT HER! What do I do with myself now? She was my mother, she was my rock, she was my job, what I did for a living, and she was my whole world. I loved taking care of her, and I considered it an honor to do so.
What do I do with my time now? Who am I now, without her? I know what she would say, she would say “You are my strong, sweet, loving daughter, who is capable of doing anything she sets her mind to, and you just have to find YOU again, and you will” I am trying Mom, I promise you that.
However, I am going to have my extremely bad days, for this will be my first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my mother, and the holidays have a way of making a person feel depressed. I keep thinking of the plans we made for the day after Thanksgiving, one of which always included watching the local Santa parade, and the other was watching the Gilmore Girls revival. We loved to watch that show, and we were both so excited for “Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall” to air.
I know why we loved the show so much, and that is because that mother/daughter relationship was so similar to that of our own. We won’t be sitting in the same room, but we will be watching and enjoying it together. I feel you with me every day Mom, and I will eventually be okay, in time, I promise. I miss you so much Mom, and while I will never feel completely whole again, I won’t let myself feel this lost forever. I know you would not want that for me, and I owe that to you. I love you to the moon and back!