Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Four Years, a Lifetime.

Four years ago today my mother died. It is like a lifetime ago even though I vividly remember the day, events and emotions. But the pain has faded.

Here is an excerpt from my book, Far Edge of Seventeen:

"     The day my mom died. Every one has seen it in the movies, someone dying, but its not like that. Its not noble or dramatic or sweet sadness, its ugly, uncontrollable, and is like something is ripped away from you with hidden power you didn't know existed. And I think it is like that for the person dying as well as those who were close to them.
     It was just another day, mom had been having a rough few weeks, she had lost weight and was in bed a lot, but she would have good days when she was up and eating and hanging around in the house, and bad days when she was in bed and didnt talk much. On those days it was like she wasnt really asleep and resting, but just sort of out of it, not making an effort to do anything. We knew she was getting worse, but I still hoped that she would fight her way out of it. But today she was really out of it. She was awake sometimes and would look at me and I would know she was seeing me, but no smile of recognition, no sign of her being able to rest from what she was fighting. Her breathing had gotten sort of hoarse and she looked tired and cold.
     In the early afternoon dad called her doctor, who came by the house and looked at her, and then talked to my dad for a while. After he left Dad called my brother and sister and told them to come to the house.
    By late afternoon is was obvious that something was wrong, she had not been at all really conscious and aware at all of her surroundings since morning. She seemed to be awake, but not really.
     We were all in the bedroom, Dad on the bed with her, sometimes gently saying things to her and stroking her hair. Shelly on a chair on dad's side, my brother on the foot of the bed and me on moms side. She wasnt awake and not asleep, but it was like she was dreaming, and figgiting. Her eyes would move around, looking, sometimes open, sometimes closed, but not recognizing anything we were. Then for a while she was relaxed and seemed asleep, breathing deeply and calm. We all relaxed and just hung out in the room. It was good to see her calm, she seemed to have been fighting so much. We snacked and dad had some classical music on, Bach, moms fav.
     Then she sort of woke with a couple of quick breaths and seemed to be reaching for my dad, who took hold of her, holding her to him. She seemed to be fighting, tense, but breathing slow and shallow, not really conscious, and then she wasnt breathing.
    And in the next moment, oh god, I knew that all the things I ever should have said to her, done for her, asked her, were lost  forever in a way I had never felt before. I suddenly realized what was now gone from my life. A gigantic hole, or more like a gigantic place where nothing could ever be again. Mom wasnt anymore. I'm crying now writing this, but not the way I was then, so deep and hopeless and lost.
     Dad layed with her sobbing, we were all sobbing. There was nothing else to do.  I layed on the bed next to her to and touched her hand for a moment, but SHE WASNT THERE. Oh god.

   It seemed like hours or maybe minutes, it was like a dream you couldn't wake up from, but Dad got up and called the doctor again and called the funeral home. An hour later a van came and they put her in a bag and took her out on a wheeled thing. Mom in a bag on a cart, except she wasnt mom anymore, just something to be taken away. I remember watching them push her through the living room and out the door, and hearing the van leave. I felt like I didnt know who I was or where I was. We all went to sleep later without eating."

Yea. I remember. like it was yesterday....

And still it seems as if it happened to a different person, a little girl floundering through her teenage years. Not me, now.

The pain is gone. Not that there are not those moments when my chest tightens and my eyes leak in her memory, but it is a good thing, something strong still left from her, the memory of her.

It amazes me how life moves on in little increments and one day we look back and see the vast change that just crept up.

I have a long way to go before I could be a mom, but just that I think about it means I am a different person. There will come a time when it is my turn to be there for someone else, with the lessons of my mom to guide me. Not yet, but someday.

Dad's up at the house on the coast this week where we left what was left of her, her ashes. They are in the sea and the winds up there. The more important parts of her we have are in our memories, and in how she effected us and influenced us into who we are today.

I'm beginning to understand ancestor worship, we ARE the culmination of a long line of the people before us. Not that I would literally worship any physical representation of my ancestors, but to think about it and try to honor what they went through to put me here....Yes.

I wish real peace and real joy to all.



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