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Archive for the tag “mothers”

The Journey Continues

Photo by Valette

The memorial service for Mom is planned for April. My sister has really run with the event and has things well under control. I feel badly because she really doesn’t have to do everything but she seems energized by the process and excited to see people who will be joining us from near and far.

I’m looking forward to seeing John. Living apart has been a traumatic experience. If the timing had been different the affects of the separation might be softer but not by much. Six weeks will have passed when we see each other in Boston at Logan Airport in April. We have a history with airports.

When people ask where we met, I tell them Chicago O’Hare. That’s the truth, really. We had been corresponding via e-mail, chat and phone for five months before we met in person. After that we took our relationship to the highways and airways traveling between Pittsfield, MA and Louisville, KY.

For five months we traversed I90 and, Albany, Manchester and Louisville airports. We may have given some others a test run. At that time, being together had an urgency and being apart had a yearning both of which obstructed moving on with life as it had been known.

Now that we’ve been together 10 years, being apart is more pained and knowing we’ll see each other in a couple of weeks provides a comfort along with a sense of adhesion that, if I was a romantic. I’d call completeness.

I’m making this part of the journey with some apprehension. Concerned that my separation from John is usurping my grieving process over Mom’s death, I wonder if the timing of these events will haunt me once our living situation has settled and we reach a sense of normalcy. I wonder but when I ask myself what that means, I can’t say that I know. But I don’t think it will be my doom.

So I’ll focus on the joy of seeing John and try not to be rude to others who seek our time and attention. I might even let John talk to other people.


Days of Darkness 3

The saddest part about losing Mom is that I never really had Mom. I had whatever part of her that she was able to share with me. Or whatever feelings she chose to project onto me. The years I spent in the same house with her I searched to uncover her secrets.

Secrets I could never possibly find. What she thought or loved. Did she like to dance? Who broke her heart? Her real secret is likely much darker than what I was looking for but keeping it secret made it darker and more powerful.

Only my morbid curiosity is interested in knowing what dark secrets Mom kept all her life.

I would rather know who she might have been without that burden…

Maybe she would have dared to wash dishes without wearing gloves. Allowed the house to get dirty while she played outside with us. She would have laughed more and played music loudly and not been afraid of what other people thought.

She would have enjoyed Dad and let him be the odd, theoretical math geek he was instead of wishing he was someone else… someone who wore a suit and went to society parties.

Maybe she would have gone ahead and become a doctor instead of a nurse – that’s what she did because that’s what it was okay for a woman to do. Or maybe she would have at least been brave enough to continue working after she got married. Maybe she would have been brave enough to break a few rules.

If Mom had been free of secrets, she probably would have let me keep all the stray dogs and cats that came around the house. Even if she hated them, she could enjoy my love of the little creatures.

That strange, dark house would be lit with laughter. The rooms would be painted in bright colors. The floors would be scuffed from children and pets and friends. People would share ideas and music and art. It would be a place of freedom.

I never wanted kids but I do kind of wish I had a daughter to whom I could give this life. We would have Play-Doh fights in dress-up cloths and write math problems on the walls. We would make up rules so we could break them.

Letting go of Mom means letting go of her secrets. The one last rule… the rule of keeping secrets… is the only one left to break.

Days of Darkness 2

In writing this post I am trying to be open, expressive and helpful while still respecting my mother’s privacy. Certainly a difficult balance but both aspects are important enough for me to give it a try.

Over the last few weeks, Mom declared that she wanted to die. She refused food, fluid and medication. She had conversations with my sister, the nurse and the social worker expressing that she was sorry for the mess she was leaving us in but she didn’t have a choice. When pressed, she couldn’t express why she wanted to die or what mess she was leaving us in. She went on about the financial mess and how it would ruin our marriages but she couldn’t explain further.

Several caregivers agreed with my opinion that this was not Mom talking. Finally, we all came together and my sister and I agreed to the decision to try to have Mom hospitalized even though we knew she wouldn’t agree. The doctor found a hospital with a qualified geriatric program that would admit her once she had medical clearance.

Mom went somewhat willingly.

Now the wait begins. Either we’ll have Mom back and she’ll live many more years with some level of independence, in relatively good health, perhaps even find some peace within herself or she will need institutional care at one level or another and we’ll all make adjustments to accept this new lifestyle.

There is not an experience in my life that I can draw on in order to comfort or inform. I am in the dark but mostly at ease. I am confident that we did the right thing and hope that my confidence will remain strong until it is confirmed.

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