>Observations on a Friday

>1. Thank God for Medicare (and supplemental insurance)! I am certain the devastation of losing my mother would have only been exacerbated had we been left with the $300k in medical bills she incurred trying to stay alive.

2.Thankfully, Obama (what a pompous ass) and Nancy Pelosi(wicked witch of the west) did NOT railroad their Gestapo healthcare reform too soon. My mother was at least able to access care vs. being deemed too old to waste resources on…(don’t even try to tell me this isn’t going to happen in the future)

3. It is good to believe in something. My father has seemed to avoid believing in anything for 78 years; Mom believed enough for both of them. Grieving my mother’s death, he is searching for answers and some proof that my Mother lives on. So can you only grow through pain and loss? I’m not sure, but it is heart-breaking and yet rather fascinating to watch. I have a friend who shared two of his favorite sayings with me (he has cancer): “Enlightenment is nothing more than the complete absence of resistance to what is” and “It’s as easy to gain enlightenment by falling off a bar stool as through meditation.”

4.I will leave letters and videos behind for my children.. After surgery in August, we lost pieces of my Mom’s lucidity, and she became more child-like with only glimpses of the funny, savvy, independent person she was before. During the last month of her life, she often was confused and scared, which haunts me still. It probably sounds stupid, but I longed for her to tell me that leaving us was going to be okay, that she had made peace with her imminent death. I wanted her to tell me how to grieve her, how to best honor her when she was gone. While she outlined her funeral plans and wrote some notes for her eulogy, I wanted a letter, a video, to hear her voice, her wisdom, and her love left for me in some tangible form.


>Meeting in the Mists of Grief

>He loved me before we ever met…at least that is what my husband tells me. He is a brave man, falling in love with me through an old-fashioned letter-writing courtship courtesy of a high-tech dating site, Match.com. Feeling safe enough to be my gregarious, opinionated, sarcastic self, I met my match in his super-smart, dreaming, tender heart. My mother said he was the best looking guy I had ever dated…”and that includes high school” and she knew before I did that he was the ONE. I think my mother must have sometimes been terrified that I would run him off (I had become quite good at that) and she was always an unabashed cheerleader for the relationship she knew would make me happy.

Now that she is gone, I wonder if my husband knows how much it meant to me for my mother to love him so. He can only hear my version of the relationship dramas that played out in the years before him. Thankfully, mom was never compelled to share with him the worries, disappointments, and frustrations she most surely endured watching me chase the wrong guys, all while being their wrong girl.

My husband’s parents are still alive, even though they are older than my mother…I am envious, with no one to blame for what feels like an unfair circumstance. Consequently, he isn’t in this place where pain and tears are constant companions; where days aren’t measured by sales made or tasks accomplished, but by how all happenings great or small, are so lonely without my Mother to share them with.

So he listens to my cries and my regrets. I can’t talk about the happy memories yet; those come later I assume. He tries to say the right thing, and I am quick to tell him when he has missed the mark. We are speaking a different language, living in the same house, on separate planets of emotion.

I love him for trying. I love him for the innocence he has that I no longer do. I know he has been with me for some of the worst days of my life, and that I won’t run him off. I am so glad he knew my mother, and that she knew him. It has been two months since she died, and I know I will never be the same woman he fell in love with….he loves me anyway.

>Listening for the Mourning Dove

>Spring is painful this year. It has always been my favorite season, It was my mother’s as well. She loved the symbolic promise of new beginnings, the rebirth of nature and the chance to once again work to beautify English-style flower gardens in her yard on the corner.

Through the dark cold fall and winter of my mother’s open heart surgery, and her doomed fight to recover, she and I talked about where she would be in the spring. On the days when she fought to breathe, or was having her lungs drained…again, or when the fear in her eyes made mine fill with tears, I told her that I believed she would welcome this most glorious season with renewed health and a healed heart. I shared with her my vision of seeing her walking briskly through her neighborhood. It seemed to help us both.

Before her surgery, we devised signs that, if she didn’t survive, would let me know she was still near. She immediately chose the mourning dove’s song. (She also told me that she would try to move objects in my home that were tied to her in some way).

Spring has arrived today. The birds were singing louder than before outside my window this morning, chasing away the last signs of a freak snowstorm, and heralding the tulips as their heads peeked out of the wet dirt in my front yard. Mourning doves? Not yet. Moved objects? Only a picture of my mother that I moved to the counter to greet me when I walk in the door alone at the end of the day.

Wherever my mother is, I hope for her a spring rebirth that is free of all the infirmities and indignities of her last months on this earth. She deserves a spring more magnificent than anything imagined in this dimension. I will try to picture her walking briskly there, maybe with family or friends that went before.

I ache for her, and I will keep listening for the song of the mourning dove…

>What Happens on Day 50?

>I watched my mother die…we all did. Gathered around as she took her last breath, we witnessed the softening of her face as her struggle subsided, and wept as the battle was lost. Like soldiers, we are traumatized by the ravages of what can happen to the human body and we are joined by our longing for a peace that may never come.

A breast cancer survivor of 31 years, my beautiful mother fought to stay among us, determined to win once again as she had so many times before. It was not to be. Over the next days, weeks and beyond, I will write about her, my heart-broken father, my sibbies, my journey into the valley of grief, and my hopes for what is on the other side.

I will write about my husband, my daughters, a new g-baby, and about what happens on Day 50…