Goodbye, My Sweet Mother
Friday, May 23rd, 2008
My mother died Saturday May 10th. She was surrounded by the people she loved best. I wrote these in the final days of her life.
My mother is dying.
She lies in a hospital bed in the bedroom she has filled with antique glassware, old jewelry, pictures, her favorite things that she has collected for at least 40 years.
The doctor gives her 6 months. I don’t think she will survive 2. How do I prepare for this?
How do I give up the person who; for more years than I care to admit; has taken care of me, kissed my boo-boos, snuck me her credit card to go buy clothes, made me love thunderstorms by dancing around during them, [I found out later she was terrified of them but never wanted me to be], fed me, clothed me, changed the color of my bedroom once a year, drove me crazy at times, called to tell me it was raining outside, woke me up every morning of my at-home life singing to me, called to tell me it was hot and I needed sunscreen, slipped me money, nursed the broken heart of first love, has been my champion, my biggest fan, my hero, my friend, my mother.
My mother has always loved her family. She spent her life taking care of us. She spent her life worrying about us. She spent her life teaching us. She spent her life loving us. If this was one of us, she would be fighting for us. I want to fight for her, but I don’t know how. Now she lays shriveled in a hospital bed…not even knowing exactly where she is most of the time.
I try to keep some normalcy in our lives, especially in Kei’s. But I cry often. I cry almost every night around 7:00 which is the time my mom would call me to say, “Goodnight sweetheart” I crave those words that I will never hear again from her. I cry for the grandmother that Keilee never got to know, I cry for the pain she is in, I cry for all the times I got frustrated at her, I cry for the guilt I feel for not making her go to the doctor earlier and I pray. I pray for strength, I pray for peace, I pray for mercy, I pray for miracles…
How will I survive waking up at 3:00 am and knowing she isn’t here? I am not ready to live in a world where my mother isn’t…
5.8.08 11:00 PM
Waiting for you to die.
With every breath you take I wonder, is this the last?
A bedside vigil.
Holding your hand.
Rubbing your beautiful face..
Laughing with my brother over a memory.
Sobbing quietly in the pillow.
What a strange time
Watching the person who gave me life.
Slowly leaving this world.
I am strong, I can do this. I am filled with peace. I am calm.
Wait! No, don’t leave me! Please don’t make me live in a world without you, I can’t survive this!
At night I dream that the phone is ringing and it is my daddy telling me you’re gone. I jerk awake and listen to the silence.
I want you to die peacefully, I imagine you taking a long, slow breath; a smile coming across your face and that is the end.
I don’t want this ragged, gasping for air. I can’t bear it. I can’t just sit and watch you struggle. How do people do this?
My daddy is falling to pieces; he can’t handle the pain of sitting with you. He retreats to the den. I crawl up next to you, not in the big antique bed that you have always slept in, but in a small hospital bed. I talk to you. I tell you I love you. I tell you thank you for being my mother. I tell you I will be all right. Of all the things I say, I know this is what you need to hear, because you have taken care of me all of my life. You would hold on forever if you think I need you.
Go sweet mother, go and run and dance with the angels. Laugh and twirl like you did with me so many times. Be at peace. We will be together again. I love you so very much.
Thursday, May 29th, 2008
I miss my mother so much.
It isn’t a “lay on the floor and sob and never get up” kind of missing.
Although I have done that. It is just an ache that is always with me.
People always say, ‘I almost picked up the phone and called her’ when someone they love dies. It isn’t that with me, it is just an immediate thought that pops in my head, I have to tell Mother that.
I was making potato salad the other day for the first time in forever. I couldn’t remember exactly how to make it and thought, ‘I have to call and ask Mom’ and I just cried. I can never call and ask her anything again.
No matter how much I know she is better now, she is free and in no pain, I miss her. I want one more perfect day.
I wish I had appreciated more perfect days. I am trying to do that now
We all should…. always.
Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
the amount of time for the moon to cycle,
One month today my mother has been gone.
It seems like so much longer,
it seems like only yesterday.
I am doing fine,
I am falling to pieces.
It still doesn’t seem real.
Or real in a surreal sort of way.
Grief is so strange.
It isn’t at all like I thought it would be.
Most of the time I am fine
Then, like a train hitting my body,
I am breathless,
With a voice in my head screaming, ‘I will never talk to my mother again!’.
She has always answered my questions,
How do I cook fresh green beans?
Kei has a strange red rash
How do I remove grass stains?
Now I have no mother.
I am motherless.
How can that be?
She has always been my one constant in an inconstant world.
One month today.
I miss you so much Momma.
Friday, July 11th, 2008
Yesterday was a very hard day for me.
2 months ago my mom died.
I asked my aunt, ‘Is it always going to be like this? Forever more, the 10th will be “The Day Mother Died”
She said it would get better.
For 2 months I have grieved but during that grief I have accepted.
Yesterday I just wanted my mother back! Now! This minute!
Yesterday I was angry.
Grief is so strange. Not at all like I imagined
Today is better
Tomorrow who knows.
I miss you so much momma.
I love you always.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
Today is my Mother’s birthday.
She has been gone for a year and 4 months and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. But the grief does get better. It eases. It softens around the edges. It isn’t crying uncontrollably grief. I guess it has to be like that or we would all just sit in a padded room somewhere.
Life goes on.†Life goes on..
I have reconnected with my Mother’s best friend. They were best friends since high school. Keilee and I have started going to garage sales with her. She and my Mother used to go every Friday. She has been telling me stories about my Mom that I never knew. She knows a different side of her. My mother and I were always friends, but of course, there were many things she shared and discussed with friends that she didn’t talk to me about. I always feel so close to my Mother when I am with Patsy.
Kei and I talk about her a lot. I don’t want Kei to forget her. Kids forget you know? When things are happening to you, when you are in the moment, you don’t believe that you would ever forget. But we forget.
My mother always signed my Birthday cards in the same way:
My daughter, my friend.
Happy Birthday my Mother, my friend; I hope you are dancing with the angels. I miss you so much.
Sunday, May 10th, 2009
Today is the day.
1 year ago my Mother died. I can’t believe it has been a year.
It seems like forever. It seems like yesterday.
There has not been a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought of and missed my Mother. Kei tells me that many nights as I fall asleep, I call for her.
I still see her take her last breath. I remember how I felt when I walked outside and sat in the garden. The sun was shining so brightly and I was motherless. I remember thinking that nothing will ever be right again. At times, I still feel that way.
Her death has changed me. I am more convinced than ever that homeschooling Kei is the right thing. I want to savor every moment of her childhood. I hug her more often. We dance in the kitchen more and sing songs at the top of our lungs. I stop and smell the roses more often. I try to make better choices. I pray more. I thank God more. I watch the beauty of nature more. I appreciate my Daddy more. I try to be kinder to people more.
Her death has changed my Daddy. He is calmer, more accepting of things that don’t matter. He doesn’t stress over things. How sad that the love of his life had to die, for him to finally understand that life is too short for quick anger.
I talk to her a lot, but sometimes I wish she could answer. Kei and I talk about her. I don’t want Kei to forget her. Countless times I have needed her, to ask about a recipe, to tell her something Kei said or did, just to ask her a “Mother” question. This has been a hard year financially for us; and I often I wish I could talk to her about it. I wish she could give me advice. When things were going crazy in my life, she always said, “Don’t worry babe, things will be fine”; and I would say “Promise me” and she would say, “I promise.”
I wish I had hugged her more. I wish I hadn’t ever gotten frustrated with her. I wish I had spent more time with her. I wish I had her voice on my answering machine. I wish I could hold her hand. I wish I could still smell her perfume, I wish she would call me and ask me to make her chicken stew,I wish I could hear her call me her baby. I wish she could call me and tell me good night.
And a year later, it still hurts so badly and I still need my Mother and she is gone.
Happy Mother’s Day,
Missing, Dog’s Life & Happiness.
The 2nd anniversary of my Mother’s death came and went. I laid in bed on the eve of her anniversary in the same room she died in. I thought it would really upset me to be in there and while I didn’t sleep much, it wasn’t a “freaking out” restlessness.
I remember that night. My brother and I spent the night here. We knew Mother didn’t have long. It was a horribly long night. They had hooked her up to a breathing machine and I spent most of the night on her floor listening to her struggle to breath. My 2 aunts stayed late. When they left it was just my Daddy, my brother and I. I finally got on the couch and spent all night back and forth from the den to her room. I talked to her and held her hand and touched her face. I remember looking at the clock at one point and it was 3:00 AM. That is such a lonely time. I remember thinking “I don’t know if I can exist in a 3 am that doesn’t have my Mother in it”.
We woke the next morning early, around 6:00. Eddie and I knew that she was almost gone. I called my aunts to ask them to come. They got here around 7:30. We all sat around her bed talking to her. All of us except my Daddy. He couldn’t handle it. It made me think of the line from “Steel Magnolias”, ‘I find it amusing. Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something. I just sat there. I just held Shelby’s hand. There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. Oh god. I realize as a woman how lucky I am.” My Mother breathed her final breath at 8:03 AM on May 10th. I walked outside and was surprised to see the world moving on. The sun was out, birds were singing, flowers blooming and my Mother was dead. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life.
But time marches on. We are living in her house. We are loving living here and I have discovered I actually like yard work. I have never done it. I grew up with 2 brothers who did the yard work. When I was married my husband did the yard work. Since then I have lived in apartments. But I enjoy it. I am learning, slowly about flowers and shrubs and just yard stuff.
I know she is happy that we are here, I know she is smiling down upon us.