July 30, 2012

It is hard to believe it has only been four year since I lost my mother. It feels like that void has been there for so long. . . so long since I have been able to call on the phone, chat, get advice, talk about how things are going, tell her about her grandchildren. How is it that she never met Erik? That Lilly only has a few memories? It must be more than four years – but it isn’t. In this area time has just moved so slowly.

When I got that call four years ago to come home, that my mother had gone downhill and didn’t have much time left, I was surprised. I had been down visiting just days before and although she wasn’t doing well, I had thought we had more time. That Tuesday, those who could make it to her bedside did. We talked about our memories – fun times and sad times. We sad quietly with her. We cried. We laughed. We felt anger, numbness, emptiness about what was to happen, what the last 5-years fighting cancer had been like, losing the battle. We felt thanks, joy, gratitude for this wonderful yet complex woman who made such a mark on our lives. We laid our hands on her, taking her hand in ours. We said goodbye.

That night I sat next to her for a long time silently listening to her breathing, wondering if it was her last one – if it would stop – wanting to be there if it was her last – wanting her to not feel alone. But it didn’t stop. Finally logic prevailed upon me to go to bed because it would only be more difficult to do what I must the next day. There would be a list of to-dos, people to call, a funeral to help plan, all while being a daughter, sister, wife and mother. Being without sleep would make it so much harder. I left her next to my dad, who was already asleep, to die in peace. I went to bed knowing that when I woke up, she would be gone – and indeed she was.

Despite the sadness in the days to follow I captured moments that have brought me joy when I look back on them. My oldest daughter who had a deep connection with my mom was simply amazing at her funeral. During the visitation, she walked right up to the casket, held my mom’s head and talked with her for such a long time. And then during the service when people were invited to speak about my mom, she did in front of 200+ plus people, telling them exactly why she loved her grandmother. It was amazing to witness and a testament to their love for each other.

Another happy memory from that day. . .of all things – playing cow racing on the Wii. Watching my Aunts trying their best at such a silly thing as racing cows . . it gave all of us that much needed hiatus from reality.

So four years. . .it has gone quickly. . . it has inched along. I am relived she is out of pain yet angry and sad she is gone. It simply sucks being without a mom, my mom, but somehow we are finding our way. Somehow.