Today marks 365 days since I have seen my mother's face....365 days since I kissed her cheek...365 days since I touched her hands or stroked her hair.
One year later it's still hard.
Going back to that day....horrible...sitting in the hospital room, looking at your mom, someone always so strong, weak, pale and fighting to live. The Bible says "Time indefinite was put in their hearts" and Mom showed that. She fought hard...we wiped sweat from above her lip...she struggled to breathe...she fought as long as she could and then her body gave out.
I wasn't there when Mom died. I went to pick up Emil and the girls so they could tell her goodbye. In a way I am so thankful I didn't see her take her last breath. I think I would have died right there beside her. I never, ever in my 34 years of life thought I would be living with out her. Here I am one year later still trying to make sense of it.
I remember we went to her apartment later that evening and just sat there. Just sat. Took it all in. Her smells...where she left her housecoat, her house shoes, her crossword puzzles. We looked at all the life in that little apartment. It was begging for her, screaming for her to walk back in it....just like my heart was screaming for this not to be real. How could any of us have known that when I took her to the emergency room for coughing up blood, she would never again step foot in her apartment? How could we know that only 41 days later she would be gone.
I remember reading that broken heart disease is a real thing. People have died from it. It usually happens within two weeks of the traumatic event. I remember thinking to myself, willing myself to live, despite how badly it didn't really matter. I knew I had a family and it was my job to be strong for them. How could I? I didn't know how to live with out my mom.
For the next few months I told myself she was on a vacation...on a tropical island with big elephant ear plants and no allergies. I told myself she couldn't get cell phone reception there. That's how I survived. I couldn't allow myself to accept that my mommy was dead. That just wasn't possible. Sometimes I would get angry. Mad that she didn't want chemo, upset that she left us. Couldn't she understand how we needed her? How I needed her? She helped me through every aspect of my life. There was nothing too big that she couldn't handle. And now she was gone and I was left to make my way through the pain and hurt and trials ahead...make my way without her. I had to grow up literally over night. I didn't know how to be me without her. I still don't.
I hate to say this, because I know I have so much to be thankful for, but I feel that such a huge part of my heart, part of me, died with her one year ago. I feel that though I will be happy and will smile, it's not 100% of me in it, because part of me is gone too now. I don't know if that will ever change or if I will just learn to handle it better.
My first dream of Mom was just a week or so after she passed. I dreamed we were all sitting on my bed...me, my sisters, my girls and Mom. Mom got up and walked to the kitchen and I got up and ran after her and I said, "I knew it wasn't true. I knew it was all a dream. I knew it! I knew you couldn't really leave us! Mom it was so terrible...I had a bad dream..." I reached out to touch her and she vanished away like smoke. I woke myself up crying.
One night on my way home from work I was listening to a song and it hit me....Mom is dead...she is really dead...she's gone...this is real...she's not on vacation, she's not just gone away. Mom is dead. I cried like I've never cried before. I screamed out for her several times as loud as I could....screamed for my mom. beating my fists on the steering wheel. I tried to drive through tear filled eyes and a pounding heart. It was then that I slowly started to accept the facts.
My heart is so completely broken, shattered a year later. I miss her so much. There are still times when I grab my phone to call her or tell her something. Just a few weeks ago on my break at work I grabbed my phone and said, "I haven't talked to Mom in a while...I need to call her." I turned my phone on, went to the key pad...then the pain struck my stomach and my heart....it wasn't going to happen. I wasn't going to call Mom. Not that day...not ever. I'm never going to hear her voice again. That's MY mom...how can this be possible?
In my opinion, Mom was the greatest mother in the world. Perfect? No. But I know she did her best. We spent several hours, her crying, me listening...that she knows some of the choices she made were wrong, but there was no other way for a woman with six children and no education. Her hurting because others didn't understand or didn't care to understand. I knew her pain. I saw it in her eyes...heard it in her voice. She loved still. She didn't let that stop her, but she had limitations. She was often sick and couldn't do all that she wanted. When we were young, she worked odd jobs, cash jobs, doing what she had to do to put clothes on our back and food on our table. I can honestly say there was never one thing I ever needed...wanted maybe...but needed...no.
CC put this video together for her. Looking back I can see that she knew she was sick. I don't think she knew how bad it was. She started telling us about a year or so before she passed, "I'm not going to be here forever. When I'm gone, you're going to wish you spent more time with me." She started giving us things, little things. I should have known then. One night in particular, I remember she sat us down to look at old pictures. She was telling us who was in each picture and little stories behind it. She said she wanted us to remember.
I love my mama. I love her so much. I miss my mama. I wish she was here, especially with all this neck and back crap I'm going through. I want her back so bad. I just wish I could crawl in bed with her, lay on her arm and listen to her heart beat one more time. I wish I had my mama.
Norway donations for SIBOL.
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