Saturday, March 3, 2012

Missing Mum

Mum and aunties - Mum is in the red sweater

It has been over four months since mum passed away. It still feels weird. I've gotten used to it in that I no longer feel startled or stunned by how quickly things went once we found out how ill she was, and how suddenly she had died. In a sense, I'm in the process of getting used to the utter oddness of her not being here anymore. I think that it may always feel odd. I just have to get used to the odd feeling.

I was thinking about her last night. I had just gotten into bed, and was snuggled down in the covers with Jean-Luc wrapped around my feet, keeping watch. This is often when I think of her. When she first died, I was usually marginally okay until I got into bed. Then the pain and loss would hit. There's nothing like crying with a CPAP mask on. I went quite a few nights without it, simply because it was bad enough to be mourning my mum. The last thing I needed was a CPAP machine trying to suffocate me in my weepy sleep.

Last night, in the warm and close darkness, I realized how much I wish that I had had more time with her. Mum died on a Monday, and the Friday before she died, I had spent the day alone with her in her hospital room. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the last day of wakefulness for her. That evening, she went into a coma and never woke up again. If I had known, I wouldn't ever have left the room, for the whole day. If I had known, I would have watched her while she was sleeping instead of reading my book. Of course, I didn't know. I am not berating myself. I'm immensely grateful for that day. I don't think that there was anything else I would have said to her if I had known. I did know that she was dying, and I treasured every moment. My "ifs" are about wanting more. Maybe what I want is not to change that day, but to have it back again, to be with her again. It is hard to let go.

I feel the same way about my final good-bye, after she died. We were in the hospital room with her for quite a while after she died. We sat around her, talking, crying, even laughing. The kids got a chance to see Grandma, that she was there, and not there at the same time. When we left the room, and I was alone with her to say good-bye, I didn't want to leave. It was time, I knew that. There was no battle within me, no struggle about leaving. Just a deep sense of longing to stay. Leaving made it final. For me, leaving her there was the most acutely painful thing that I have ever done. Again, I don't even know that I want that time to have been longer. I just want it back.

I am so grateful for my memories of Mum, and even of those difficult times at the end. I have Mum's picture in the living room, on a cabinet that I inherited from her. A few weeks ago, Jean-Luc climbed up onto the cabinet, where he knows he is not allowed, and peered at over the top of the picture at Grace and I, who were on the couch. His chin rested on the top of her picture frame. I saw him, and pointed out to Grace what he was doing. We laughed, both because he was being cute and because Mum would have hated him that closer to her. She couldn't stand cats.

Ah, memories....


Anonymous said...

I can't express how similar my feelings are... As much as I am grateful for how everything went and mom didn't suffer too much and for too long I really would have liked more time... Leaving her for that last time was so hard cuz no matter what there are no do overs, its that kind of good bye... It was the first time I really sensed I had to make sure I did this right cuz I would never get this moment back ever ever ever... I know EXACTLY how you feel!! Love you, Erin {hugs}

Kelly said...

Thanks, Erin. It feels good to know that I'm not alone in these feelings. It's good to have company on this road...

I'm glad that you're not hurting after your accident. That must have been freaking scary!

I love you.

JTAdamson said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing your story. My Mom has been gone for 2 years now, but so far I've only had the guts to blog reflections about my Dad...who died 40 years ago.
Had many of the same feelings about my mom as you did, especially the strangeness of leaving the room for the last time after she is gone.
I'm glad you aren't stuck on the "if only I had know" traps, but so true that the longing is still there. So good to know the One who is the Resurrection...that the longing won't last forever.

Kelly said...

Thanks, JT. I wrote a blog series on grief and mourning right after Mum died, partly because I was uncomfortable with the idea of life just going back to normal without her. I guess it was my therapy. I'm looking forward to reading the post about your dad.

Kathleen Basi said...

This is such a beautiful reflection...I am so glad you were able to share these moments with the children too.

Kelly said...

Thank you, Kathleen. I am sorry that I didn't reply to this sooner, I don't know how I missed it. I think it was good for the kids. Too often we try to shelter them from the hard things, without realizing that those difficult moments at the end of Mum's life were still moments of her life...moments that are not shameful or to be hidden, but are normal, natural, painful and real. It was hard, but some of life's greatest beauty comes up from within the difficult times.

My Zimbio