Mom in Heels

Dad
Mom circa around 1953

Mom loved wearing heels. I recently wrote about it. I think about mom regularly, but today, on Mother’s Day, I thought about her more. Partially because there were so many societal sign-posts reminding me to think about her. But mostly because it’s my first Mother’s Day without her. I feel a missing about that. And a gratefulness for the many years she had. She nearly made it to 89. That was a dang good run.

Big Mother’s Day wishes to you mommy. I love you.

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A pair of mom’s heels now in my closet.

Photo source: Dad


 

Saying No to Re-living Old Pain

Pixabay: Hans. Free for commercial use; no attribution required.I recently wrote about a friend’s suicide, an act that took place 21-years ago.  As I read a poem I’d written after his death, I sensed a character shuffling about the edges of my consciousness.  The character was carrying a cloak; a cloak of sadness, anger, guilt and despair, brought forward from those tumultuous days.

I realized this character wanted me to wear those emotions again.

It was as if this character believed there were proper responses to a suicide—no matter how long ago it had occurred—and knew the cloak carried within it acceptable ones.  Here, wear this, she said. In case of suicide, feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and despair are allowed. I was tempted.

The thing is, I didn’t want to feel those things. I looked outside my window and the sun was shining; flowers were blooming.

Donning the cloak-of-past-emotions would not change the past.

It would, however, overshadow a beautiful present with emotions completely unrelated to the now.

I didn’t want to relive those old emotions.

I had a choice. I said no to the character and her cloak.

 

Photo source: Hans on Pixabay

 


 

A Friend’s Suicide Remembered

126_SuicidePainPoemOn Memorial Day weekend in 1998, an ex-boyfriend committed suicide. We had lived together for three years and had broken up less than a year earlier. Three weeks after his death, churned by emotions, I struggled to find ways to express the turmoil I felt.  I came across a poem I wrote back then; an attempt to describe the indescribable.

Reading it, I have memories of those days, of multiple characters in my head navigating their conflicting feelings triggered by his suicide: sadness, anger, guilt, despair. They were all part of the chaos.  At the time, I fully submerged myself in those feelings; their presence defined me. I didn’t see my emotions as the response of characters, but as me. I was the pain. I was the anger. I was the guilt.  There felt like no me beyond the emotions.

And yet, there was.  There always is, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

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Mom’s Last Week

Dad photo

Mom arrived around noon to the room she would live in until she died. She knew the facility, although this was a new room. She expressed appreciation for the photos and flowers I had decorated it with. She thanked the two young men who had transported her by ambulance from the hospital.  She was weak, but knew how to be polite.  It was Friday, September 21.

Her arrival marked the beginning of the end. An end that came nine days later.

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Mom’s Final Hospital Discharge

Walk the Goats Photog

My mother died September 30th, one week and two days after being discharged from the hospital, terminal cancer her final diagnosis.

In early September we were talking about her possible discharge home at the end of that month; she was making great progress with her hip replacement rehab, despite continued pain.

We thought we had time ahead of us. She thought she had time.

Then, with a September 15th phone call, our world changed. The resident calling reported mom had terminal cancer.  A day-and-a-half later, I’m back east, meeting with dad, mom, doctors, nurses.

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Where Would Mom Be When She Died?

Cindy pictureMy mother died September 30th, two weeks after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. This was almost seven months from her first medical emergency in the spring, when on March 10th, dad rushed mom to the hospital. When they arrived, she was unresponsive. The medical folks revived her. The note I jotted down simply said: “pneumonia?”

That night was the beginning of many months during which mom faced a cascading waterfall of medical issues and curveballs, from surgeries delayed (low blood count) to surgeries accelerated (mom was suddenly a “trauma case”).

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32-Days

Vermont NY Sky cvc

I didn’t know when I blogged on August 28th that my mom would live for only 32 more days.

We didn’t know that until September 30th.

In the span of those 32-days, we went from expecting her to be discharged from rehab at the end of September, to suddenly being told she had a fast-growing, aggressive cancer. Get her home and comfortable, we were advised, and admitted into hospice.

It was two weeks and one day between her cancer diagnosis and her death.  The sudden flip in her story arc, and the speed with which the ending arrived, catapulted our world into a surreal state. The walls of the “real world” quickly got shut out and a single-minded focus grabbed hold.

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How Many Days Left?

Dazzleology on Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

“My mom will be alive for at least six more days. Now five.”

A countdown had begun in my head.

They were unsettling thoughts, this countdown to…what? A renewed chance at life? Or death. I wasn’t thinking these thoughts; they—and the associated fear—were just…there.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t want them.

My 88-year-old mom landed in the hospital multiple times this year, starting in March, when my 94-year-old father got her to the ER just in time.  By summer, after multiple hospital trips, doctor visits and medical tests, they had her scheduled for heart-valve surgery in June; told her she needed a new hip; and informed her she had a slow-growing cancer. It was a layer cake of issues.

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