life stories

the center of the universe is the brain

Archive for the month “February, 2010”

The Speed of Change

Mom passed away two weeks ago today. John accepted a job at KETC in St. Louis. The car is prepared and packed and he’ll be on the road by 9:00 tomorrow morning. Here is more about our transition from Alaska living to … Missouri? Really? It Came from the North.

I told my boss I”ll be leaving. We established priorities but that doesn’t ease my mind.

I could really use a change of speed.

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Stopping to Breathe

On Monday John accepted a job at KETC in St. Louis. On Tuesday Mom died. On Wednesday I went to work and attempted to put things in order before we left for Seattle on Thursday. Now it is Friday night and we are in our hotel room after attending the rehearsal for Duncan’s wedding and having dinner at 13 Coins.

For the most part I am grateful to have a million things going on around me as I suspect it keeps the waves of grief at bay. I’m also grateful for the activity because if I stop, I may find out the waves of grief are not there.

This is not the first loss I have experienced in my life but it is by far the most complex. Years on the psychiatrist’s couch showed me the levels of sorrow and deprivation. I also uncovered some loving memories that in time will become the mother I remember.

Soon I may stop to breathe but for now I’m going to enjoy this swirling life.

Preparing to Grieve

My mother is going to pass away in the next 24-48 hours. She stopped eating well over a week ago and has survived on water and whatever it is within herself that is keeping her alive. I fear that the breakdown of the body must be horribly painful but they are giving her morphine and sleep aids (which actually seems like over-medication) so hopefully she is comfortable.

My sister is spending any time she can at Mom’s side. She has tried to comfort her, ask what she needs. Mom maintains her stubbornness in saying she doesn’t need anything, doesn’t want to see or speak with anyone. Then she goes on complaining. It’s an old pattern that my sister and I both hoped would fall at the end. These sort of ingrained patterns only because stronger with age and weakness.

Her pattern of pushing people away, making sure no one gets too close is certainly stronger than ever. I hoped beyond all reason that she would make amends to her dearest friend, Patti, for trying to drive her away. Could she maybe manage to show a little gratitude toward my sister for all the care she has provided? Her niece, Linda has shown her unconditional love that amazes me.

While I feel at peace with her passing, I assume I won’t begin to grieve until she passes. I feel like I’m saying, “Die already! I’m ready to get on with it.” We’ve been in this limbo for over a month and I’m tired. When my sister called today, I assumed it was going to be that call saying Mom was gone. No. It was that call saying Mom was still alive.

That felt strange, as if that moment I’ve been preparing for got caught in my throat.

Preparing to grieve I’ve stacked up the memories, trying to find the pretty ones, paint a special picture. Our relationship was complicated and Mom did a pretty good job of pushing me away. But we had some times when it was easy to be with one another, when we laughed together. Nothing can change the challenging times but right now, as I brace myself for the finality of that fact, I am filling my arsenal of grief with memories that will nourish me.

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