Monday, November 06, 2006

Falling

Hi y'all. If you'll excuse me for a minute, I need to start this post with a quick message to my brother and sister because I know they read RSR sometimes. Mark, Sandy, if you're reading this at work, don't do it today. Stop and go away and read it at home if you want, but not at work, ok? Thanks. I love you. * * * * * Here's the thing. I've been having a rough time emotionally the past couple of days and I think it's worse because it's taken me by surprise. This coming Sunday will mark 5 years since my mom died, so you might think I'd expect it to be a rocky time of year, but it usually isn't for me. I've had problems with extra portions of grief on her birthday and on mother's day but for whatever reason, the anniversary of her death hasn't been one of the bad times for me - until now. But this year it's hitting me hard. Mostly when I think about Mom, I think about the person I knew most of my life, before she got sick. Sometimes I think of the years after her diagnosis, when she was fighting to beat the odds and living way longer than any doctor thought she would, mostly through sheer willpower. I rarely let myself think of the final days, the ones when both the doctors and Mom decided it was time to stop fighting and get on with the process of dying. But the past couple of days I've been replaying those days in my mind...thinking about where we all were five years ago this week, what we were doing. I remember my mom lying in a hospital bed in the middle of the living room of my parents' house and the stream of visitors who came to see her and tell her goodbye. I remember the last day of her life, and how all our immediate family spent most of the day there. Mom was so groggy and doped up, barely conscious, but I know she took in at least part of what was going on around her. I remember someone saying something about how much she loved her grandkids and how they had her wrapped around their little fingers and Mom opened her eyes - just barely, and smiled - just barely, and managed to lift one hand off the blanket and twirl her finger around. I remember at one point, after most of the family had left and I was sitting beside her bed, she opened her eyes and looked right at me and said "let me go, just let me go" and I told her it was ok to go and she should do what she needed to do, that we'd be ok. I'm not sure I believed it, but I thought it's what she needed to hear. I remember at some point during the night, hearing her calling out, and I remember what a struggle it was for her to get any of her pain meds down because she was having so much trouble swallowing. We finally got her to swallow a dose of morphine tucked inside one tiny bite of pie that one of her friends had brought over earlier that day. She quieted back down a little after that and I dozed off, although Dad never did. He woke me a couple of hours later to tell me she was gone. It was the early hours of the 12th of November, 2001, exactly 5 years and 1 day after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. What I don't remember is large chunks of what happened in the days after that. I know I made some phone calls and went with Dad and Mark and Sandy to do things like choosing a casket and flowers, a grave plot and headstone. I know there was a wake and a funeral. I remember bits and pieces of all that, but there's a lot that's just gone for me, or at least buried so deeply that it's as good as gone. I remember those days in flashes, like scenes from a play that didn't really have very much to do with me. From what people have told me, I think I was very efficient. I seem to have played my part well. Maybe it's good that this date is bringing all this up again. Maybe I need to remember this and try to really live it this time instead of retreating inside my head and playing at handling it while a scared little girl inside cries for her mommy. Maybe it's good, but I don't like it. My heart hurts. "Falling" (clickable)

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