"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Missing mom...

I have wanted to sit down and write for a long, long time.  There is a unending dialogue in my mind of all the things I want to write, but today I have one thing on my mind: my mom.  It has been exactly 18 months since we watched her slip away from this life.  I remember well those last moments.  Time stood still and there was a thick, rich heaviness in the room.  It is difficult to put into words, but the heaviness I am talking about was a deep sense of solemnity and immense peace.  It was powerful, but not overpowering.  It was richly comforting, and seemed to cover our grief like a thick blanket, although there was still so much sadness too. It was a day full of intense hours after a night of no sleep and many, many intense days before it.  It was painful and beautiful all at once, because we could feel mom's transition from physical life to the spiritual realm.  I know there were others there we couldn't see.  Loved ones who were there to greet her.  I could feel them close.  I hate that I had to lose my mom, but I am thankful for the peacefulness of her passing and the fact that I was there.  I cannot imagine how much harder it would have been to let her go had I not been with her as it happened.

For a long time after her death, I kept thinking about those last couple of days. I couldn't get the images of my mom on her deathbed out of my mind. I kept reliving the experience, wondering why I didn't say this or do that and just wishing I had been able to get there sooner. I forced regrets out of my mind, because my mom would never want me wasting my time on those.  For a very long time, the last day of her life felt recent. Now it feels foggy, like a distant memory...holding Sophie up so she could kiss her grandma on her face one last time, seeing my brother's and my husband's tears, asking my mom questions even though I knew she couldn't answer because she was unable to speak.
I'm glad I almost never relive those moments anymore.  But I hate that her absence has been so long now. Oh how long these two years have felt to me!


A while ago I had a dream that I was on a boat, on some kind of a trip.  The details are all hazy, but I was with my mom.  We weren’t having any kind of profound conversation in the dream.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we were just kind of making small talk about the weather and other such things.  In the dream, she had never died, so I just felt normal.  When I woke up, I was instantly aware of how much I missed her.  Not all the things she did for me or said to me…just her presence.   I miss her every single day in many different ways, but since I haven’t spent time with her in awhile, I forgot how comforting her very presence is to me.  A few days ago I was looking at the calendar to see what day the 12th is (because I always do that now), and I was shocked to realize that this month it will have been 21 months since she died.  21 MONTHS!?!?!  That just seems like such a long time.  That is longer than the time I was on my mission - which officially makes this our longest separation ever.
I think of her many, many times each day.  I felt like I was swimming in thoughts of her the entire month of December, which  brought me joy but simultaneously made me want to crawl up into a ball and cry my eyes out every single day. Right after losing a loved-one, you are inundated with concern and love (which is amazing). You are also conspicuously ignored by a few who probably just don’t know how to react, but that is a post yet to be written (seriously, I have pondered it for awhile now).  After a few weeks, people stop asking how you are doing.  We all have to move on with our lives, and frankly, that is good.  And really, in my case, I did feel an immense amount of peace and comfort, so I was okay.  I continued to push forward with the important responsibilities in life and sometimes I would even go a whole week without even feeling super sad.

The kicker for me is that life is peppered with periods of high stress.  In those highly stressful times, the grief and pain come flooding back. My mom was always the one to help me feel sane when I was overwhelmed with anxiety or self doubt.  She built my confidence and encouraged me in ways that no one else could.  I ache for her wisdom, comfort and voice of reassurance! I know that I have everything I need to make it successfully through life, but the stressful times are worse than they used to be.  I miss my biggest fan cheering me on!   

Also, strangely, many surges of heartache are completely unpredictable.  Sometimes when I think I should feel sad, I feel awesome!  Other times, when everything seems to be great, the sense of loss is suddenly palpable and I'm mourning all over again. This year we watched “You’ve Got Mail” a couple of weeks before Christmas.  I have always really enjoyed that movie.  It’s just cute.  Anyway, there is a scene when Meg Ryan is decorating the Christmas tree in her quaint little book shop.  She is narrating her email to Tom Hanks and says, “tonight I missed my mom so much I could hardly breathe.”   It is a simple line, but it struck me straight through the heart.  I knew exactly how she felt... 
Some things get easier with time, but I am not convinced that this is one of them.  


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Beautifully expressed, Michelle. I share many of your feelings, although as a good friend rather than a daughter. Your mom is so often in my thoughts....