As some of you may recall from a post I wrote a few weeks back, I have been dealing with the grief of my stepmom’s passing from ocular melanoma a year ago… It will be a year next Wednesday (weird how we keep anniversaries … our calendar is human-made, time itself is a construct we have created … but I digress). However, I’ve been dreading tomorrow – Feb 28th – the most because that was the very last time I spoke to her last year.
She called me from the hospital (she had been making frequent ER visits by that point – at least 2 times a month – due to low blood pressure) and the doctor said that it was best to put her on hospice care and “hope for the best.” She called me while my father was out of the room (he and I were not talking at that point in time – long, dumb story not worth telling) to have The Talk … a lot of what she said is personal about me so I don’t want to go into those details … suffice it to say that she knew she was dying, she knew it was not going to be long, she was at peace with it, and wanted to tell me all the things she had wanted to say but hadn’t before.
She then tasked me with making up with my father (which I begrudgingly did later) and with making sure that my brother did ok after her passing (which he is doing ok most of the time). She asked me to make sure my father didn’t go off on one of his drinking binges (which he seems to have gone in the opposite direction – refuses to even sniff alcohol let alone drink it) and make sure he finds someone to love when he is ready, because “your father is not happy unless he is taking care of someone.” She says she is only telling me all these things because “you are the only person in your family who is smart enough to not let your emotions run away with you” (little does she know… haha).
She then asks me to not tell anyone about our conversation, to keep it between us … I don’t know why she asked this of me, but I said ok, sure… and I haven’t said anything to anyone until today about our conversation (I trust you guys ).
The whole time we're talking I am crying without making a sound, so I can remember every single word … the whole conversation, which would take a healthy person probably 10 minutes, takes her 20 – she is so out of breath she has to stop several times …
Once she is done I tell her how much I love her, how much I miss seeing her every day, how lucky I am to have her in my life for all these years … then I ask her about her dogs Lily and Shatzi … she tells me funny dog stories until my dad gets back to her hospital room and she hangs up the phone quickly by saying “Remember what I said to you.”
Tomorrow is going to suck ass. This whole week and next week is going to suck ass. I’m not sure how much of a filter I’m going to be able to keep around people … what I need is to crawl into a dark cave for a good month … or maybe a hug from someone who understands … or a shot of whiskey … maybe 3?
Hi Evestrat. Just wanted to let you know that you’ve been on a lot of mind today and heartfelt concern for you all day. I know many of your friends and loved ones would love to comfort you through this time. Hell some of them may even send their thoughts and prayers (-: I hope you have found peace today.
As a mother of 5 children, I can't imagine giving any one of them the responsibility for a sister or brother or father (tho we are not together). I feel very strongly about that. I am fairly certain they would step up if at all possible, if their sibling was in dire straights. But, to your grief...it will lesson with time. My mother has been gone more than 7 years and sometimes I yearn for just one more conversation with her. Ever so often, i will note something of a supporting nature in my self and i remember i may have gotten that from her! It may very well be true, that some of us are going to carry a sad 'spot' for the rest of our life? That is just the way we are put together. It looks like we need to learn to live with some hurt. Not cultivate it...but let it be part of us in a good way. I realize the value of all life...mine included!
Thanks for sharing this. Having lost both parents now to different forms of cancer, I can relate to an extent. Clearly, you had a very special bond with your stepmom. I'm a bit jealous of that. I loved my mom, and cancer got her early. She died two days after her 61st BD after about 18 months of treatment. I hadn't lived near my parents for many years. That geographical separation, plus leading a busy life of work, raising my own family, etc., and, admittedly, my own laziness, limited "daily interaction." Facebook didn't even exist then and my mom had no online presence at all, ever. She never even owned an email address, so if there was any remote contact, it had to be by phone. I have regrets about that. I wish now that I had made more of an effort. I wish a lot of things though. Those wishes and $2.50 will get me a cup of coffee, right?
Sadly, my most vivid memory of her near the end of her life was during her last two weeks (literally) while on home hospice "care." I put that in quotes because, as you surely know, hospice means "go home to die because there's nothing else we can do for you." Anyway, during those last two weeks, she was a mere shell of the person she had been, physically. She was extremely thin, but still had her fighting spirit. My mom was a long-term smoker until she was hospitalized with pneumonia. After being declared "cancer free" (falsely), she quit smoking cold-turkey, that very day. I could talk at length about how her care was mis-managed, both by her doctor and my dad, but I won't. Back to the memory; I recall sitting side-by-side with her on the edge of her bed. By this point, she was constantly doped up on pain meds. She asked me if she could lean on me, and then proceeded to do so. This memory always brings me to tears. It was one of the intimate moments we had shared in a long time. I can't remember for certain now, but this may have been the night she died.
Thanks again for sharing. You have a large community of sympathetic ears here to whom you can vent, cry, or whatever. Hopefully, we can help you get through this suck ass time. =]
That's rough. I empathize with what your mother said if your father. It hurts when I don't have someone to love and care for. I don't feel complete when I'm alone.
Someone like him needs someone to care for deeply. Luckily for him that was your mother. It truly is a beautiful thing that she's there for him even on her deathbed. That's a beautiful relationship.
It sounded like your stepmom loved you very much and also that you loved her incredibly. It also sounded like she needed the rest from the trauma she struggled through. It’s really hard when we have to miss someone we can never see again. Here’s to the lives that we get have and share and have such wonderful memories, in you she lives on. A bit of red wine on hand might not be a bad idea, but I’m no doctor.
That's a lot to put on you but it also really shows how highly she thought of you and how much she loved and trusted you. I hope you do ok making it through this anniversary. I'm sure I'm not alone in offering any support you need. Do you have someone there in K-State land?
Probably not helpful... But when I get into my negative anniversaries, I try to remember that the sun is rising somewhere right now. We are still on that first sunrise. It has never stopped. That first sunrise is the first sunset and the last. I don't have anything else useful to offer you other than the idea that you are far from alone in facing down these things, but mourning is always a road we walk alone even when everyone who loves you is holding your hand. Good luck and if you ever need an ear, there are many here and mine is just one of them.
Be strong, and be happy you had her for so long, and remember the good times. You were so fortunate to have someone who loved you, and to have been able to tell her how much you loved her before she passed. If you stop by my house I'll give you a place to be safe to get it all out.
If we are made of matter, which is really energy, and if energy can't be created or destroyed, then we have always existed and will always exist in some energy form.
If you're open to it, you can do as I did after my mom died..I couldn't take it, so I continued to talk to her in my mind as though she was there.
Why not? We used to communicate by ESP anyway since we didn't have a phone between our floors and when she needed me to come help her.
I don't know if it was really her "self" energy that answered me, my own memories, or just my own Higher Self, but it doesn't matter since all energy is connected, and answers I got were what she'd have said if she were still here.
Over a couple of years I slowly stopped talking to her in my mind, without noticing, but the pain was gone.