Every year I dread so much the week of the anniversary of my Mom’s death in combination with Mother’s Day. The two events will never be separated by more than a few days and have fallen on the same date in the past. Its a bit of forced grieving time and while I do appreciate it and often good progress is made- the lack of ability to escape it sometimes suffocates me in its sadness.
One thing I’m hoping to remember more often is the good way in which these two dates are intertwined. As my Mom was slowly dying, coming home from school each day was hard. To see the daily decline, the worsening of her condition, and her further inability to interact meaningfully with us was heartbreaking. There came a time where it was easy to see the short length of time we had left- something we’d known for months- but to be able to see it in the decline was really hard.
While all of this was happening my oldest sister was very pregnant with her 3rd child. With the stress of hearing of our Mother’s declining health, the pregnancy had been incredibly hard. Beth was on bed-rest and combating some intense feelings while trying to keep her body a safe place for baby Joe. She couldn’t fly in her third trimester. And she couldn’t fly with a day old baby- or so said the flight requirements.
But my mom held on. She waited. And on Mother’s day of 2003 Beth, Scott and their now 3 kiddos flew to Montana. I picked them up in Billings and my whole family spent two days together before my Mom took her last breath surrounded by my Dad, Beth, Bonnie, Doug and me.
Those dates are intrinsically linked because my Mom got her final Mother’s day gift, to see her brand new grand baby. And then she got to be done waiting, done being in pain, done fighting. And she really deserved that.
In the past eight years so much has happened.
- I graduated high school
- I got a tattoo
- I moved away for the summer
- I started college.
- I had my own first scary medical experience.
- My Dad had cancer.
- I changed colleges; moved states.
- I changed my life plans.
- I made new, better best friends.
- I became a pot head.
- I started volunteering in a field that would late direct my first career moves/educational paths.
- I was a leader at everything I joined.
- I got a kitten that I sillily named Spanish who now mostly goes by The Chicken unless she is in trouble 🙂
- I lost touch with my high school friends.
- I was raped twice.
- I held different jobs.
- I found a love for my frisbee golf hobby.
- Most of my friends left the town where I lived.
- I traveled to Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming.
- I graduated college with an acceptable GPA (over 3.5) and therefore with honors.
- I got and kicked ass at my first professional job.
- I had a major illness that went undiagnosed for over a year. I had two major surgeries, one still technically experimental. I advocated for my own medical rights.
- I stood up to my superiors based on ideals, even though it was not the best move politically.
- I met a boy who changed my life.
- I feel in love.
- I changed my life plans, goals for a boy- something I never thought I would do and have not regretted once.
- I was proposed to.
- I live(d) with said boy.
- I moved to a place I had only visited for a total of 40ish hours.
- I moved across the country with only a car load and my cat (the movers and the boy came soon later)
- I was unemployed and depressed.
- I am waging my way through a new professional environment and dynamic.
- I don’t talk to my family nearly as much as I did 8 years ago.
- I am an adult now. At 18, I was lost.
- I’m starting a graduate program for the love of the field, the work, and certainly not for the money.
- I have serious intentions of babies- something I swore up and down at 18 that I wouldn’t ever have
- I traveled to Illinois, Wisconsin (duh 🙂 ), and Washington DC.
- My worldview has changed. My religious beliefs have changed. My world it self has entirely changed.
So much has changed since my mom died that I wonder what is the same. The intangibles. I don’t even know.
This is the first time I have cried today. The sun shiny morning made me think that I could focus on celebration of her memory alone. And then the icefog at work chilled me out a bit (apologies for the pun 🙂 ) I opened this blog with the intention of posting a picture that now has no business being here, and this is what spilled out. Grieving is good, I keep telling myself. Even though I slightly feel that with each remembrance, the memories slightly fade and blur. We’ll see.
This is the week of the year I can’t escape, wish or smoke away. I can’t ever ignore it, celebrate it or wallow in my grief. Yesterday was Mother’s Day and in 4 more short days it will be the 8th anniversary of my Mother’s death. I just had to count it out to eight two times to believe myself. It certainly doesn’t feel fresh anymore, but 8 years seems like its been too long already. Not that one day wasn’t too long without my Mom… i don’t know. This is probably not a smart post to be writing at work with my office door open, as I’m already fighting back tears. But that’s just it. I don’t even know why I feel sad today. I mean, if anything, I should feel sad that my Mom has passed but I can’t say that is just it that’s behind the tears welled within my eyes. That is obviously horribly sad but not what I feel this week. I can hardly imagine what things would be like if she was alive today. I have no idea if I would be here, be with Greg, be doing the work that I do. I just can’t say. Her death changed me in ways that nothing else has and there’s just no going back. I can however, liken my life to those whom I am close to whose mother’s did not die too young at only 50 years old. I can liken my life to theirs, and imagine my Mom in the role their maternal parent takes, but only for a minute before I second guess. Because I truly have no idea what it would be like for her to still be here. I’m pretty sure that is the saddest thing.
Now I am officially out of kleenex at my desk and for that reason, along with a million others inside me, thats all for now.