When mum was dying, I lost my ability to concentrate. Reading a book was hard, writing seemed near impossible so I started obsessively taking pictures, drawing, and even painting. Around that time, I’m not even sure if it was before or after I also re-discovered the wonderful world of coloring. I’ve been really lucky coloring became “cool” again or I should say my niece was lucky because her coloring books were in danger. As we approach mum’s 2nd anniversary – Goddess I can’t believe it’s been two years already – I find that once again my concentration is slipping. I miss my mum but its more than that. Memories impinge regularly.
People tell me mum wouldn’t want me to be sad and I know it’s true but it doesn’t stop me from missing my mum, missing my best friend. We would have been on the phone every day talking about the election. It’s more than that though. Mum passed pretty quickly. She was diagnosed in May and died on 15 November. She was pretty active almost to the end but that was mum. She had an iron will and let nothing get in her way I wish I had a quarter of her strength, but it was not easy and there was a lot of pain and too much discomfort and doubt and questioning and…
Mum told me I was what made it all work. My Uncle said the same and so did my step-dad – in his own way. We had hospice but they were a passing ship rather than a constant presence. I tracked mum’s medications, followed her around with pills until she took them. Held her hand when she had to gulp something that tasted awful and made her sick as likely as not and followed her to the bathroom.
I’ve written already about how she told me at Uncle Jon’s that she loved me and she loved him but she was ready to be done. She wanted to die then and with the right to die she could have done so. She barely made it home to California and she was only there for a bit over a week before we lost her. As we get closer to her anniversary the memories are everywhere… the day I gave her something for anxiety in the hope that it would relax her enough so she could sleep. She hadn’t slept – so we’d all been pretty sleep deprived for a couple of days. That night she did sleep but it made her dizzy and she was really, really mad at me – her exact words were – I forgive you barely… Later she kind of apologized – she didn’t really remember it and she wasn’t sure how she felt about it.
My step-day and I had our few moments where our ideas of what was best for mum conflicted. He wanted mum to be conscious so that she could ask for what she needed. I knew that mum was close to her ending and after throwing up bile and not being able to do anything I knew she just needed to sleep. Of course, I knew she was very close to her ending and he believed the nurses who thought she was strong and might last several more weeks. Just by this talk you can see (maybe) why this is all just still raw as can be and it was just hard. He actually apologized later and said that I was actually on the right track for what mum needed a bit more than he.
Today, the View has been talking about ashes and what to do with them. One of the memories that still hits at me so hard is watching mum being wheeled out of the house. She was claustrophobic and I still hate the idea of her being alone… Mum was delivered to me on Christmas Eve… She didn’t want to be buried or interred. She didn’t want to be scattered into the wind or into the ocean or onto the ground. There was no answer that she liked so she’s in my house in the box that she chose for herself. She’s moved around a bit. Starting on a little alter I built for her – that didn’t work. Then I moved her upstairs but that didn’t work either and now, finally, she seems happy in my room and I’m good having her there. I wish on occasions that my brother hated our mum a little less and wanted to know where she was or maybe even wanted to share her but I’m also glad that he doesn’t because she belongs here with me.
We did everything together and before we lost Aunty D it was me, my mum, and her sister. We were the three Amigo’s, as it were. I went on my Aunt’s high school reunion cruise with my mum and Auntie D. We played hard together and we had a lot of fun. As we move into winter, even though it’s still warm as can be in CO, I’m kind of dreading the next days as we move closer to mum’s anniversary and then the days after – there are too many memories and not enough sunlight. I’m not saying that I’m depressed or in despair. I’ll have plenty of fun I’m sure but I’ll also have these moments where I just want to cuddle up and color or ignore the world or disappear into a book. The thing I promise to you is that I’ll try to write most days. Sometimes about politics and sometimes little bits of life and I’ll continue to work on Night’s Angel – my next series.
I continue to write and hope that it helps someone, that it helps to know you are not alone and that no one can tell you how to manage your own grief. It comes and goes in it’s own time and there are times that just hurt.