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Location: Colorado, United States

I've found a place to be, here in Colorado. I am enjoying what comes my way while raising my children and writing my head off in this crazy, chaotic life.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Strangeness of It All

I flew out Monday.
My daughter and I got to see her.
She was talking! And lucid! There had been moments when she was a bit fuzzy. I am talking about her as though she is a child, and she's not, she's our mother.

It was a strange visit, in that we were told she was in the last 48 hours of her life. She stayed that way for a week.

She lit up seeing me and my daughter. My brothers were concerned about bringing a child to her, but she followed me around the house for days saying, you are taking me, you are taking me, she's my grandmother, and so I took her. And I'm glad I did. She saw Granny, even if Granny, at only 62, was very sick, and in bed, and unable to move, and even though 62 is frankly, too soon, she saw her and handled it well. Granny always adored my daughter, ever since at three she told my mom she didn't like her... the honesty is what did it. After that, they became close.

I was happy seeing her, but not her circumstances. Cancer is a horrible thing. You can beat it once. My mom couldn't beat it twice. Not this kind. This kind was hard, and it returned with a vengeance, and took her fast.

My siblings and I, for the first time in 16 years, gathered around my mother. It meant a lot to her I believe, I believe that was what she wanted, more than anything, but couldn't express it, because she 'understood' too much how hard it was for everyone to get there at the same time. But, hell, we were all there. She asked for cake, and got it. Coffee? Got it. Which, I understand, was odd because she hadn't eaten until she heard I was coming.

They told her Sunday I'd be flying in Monday. They told me her next words were "I'd like sausage and eggs' after not eating for two days. My dad said she was holding on and waiting. She did it. She saw me again, saw her ten year old granddaughter again...

We had an Irish Wake at the hotel restaurant, sort of. I call it that because I don't know how else to explain it. We drank dollar-margueritas and talked about how she was still here, still fighting, still living, how her spirit was strong. So much life, so much spirit, betrayed in the end by a weak body. It does make me angry on a level.

We left last Thursday. So many emotions, and so I haven't mentioned the visit until today. On Friday, she lost the ability to eat and needed pain medicine every two hours. On Saturday, due to lack of sleep and the fact my mom mostly slept except for really loud noises, my dad moved her to a hospice home. The doctor on Saturday told him hours to days. It is six days later. She is still with us, but not alert, mostly sleeping, not eating... my sister called my little brother to tell him it would probably be today, but I say tomorrow, because my mom never did do what people told her to do or what was expected of her... why start now? She has defied doctor's and family's expectations. It doesn't matter, though, she's in between. She's not alive. She's not dead. Technically, she lives, but it's not really life, she's not really with us anymore. Her mind is shutting down. Her body is beyond repair. She is dying slowly. Others die quickly. Sometimes in an instant. It is just how life is. She's been dying for years, we just didn't know it.

I know I'm angry, but I don't act angry, because on another level, I don't see how it could be any other way, because I've always felt something was wrong, on some level, I never believed she'd be very old, never believed the first cancer cleared away, never believed that all the health problems after her first cancer would be manageable... but still...

I missed her terribly yesterday. I ran down the stairs with a thought to call her and talk about something, something small and mundane, and realized, I couldn't call her, I couldn't ever call her again. My mom was my closest friend. I lost a mother, and a best friend, and a wonderful quick, funny witty mind, and her gifts... all lost to me, and to my sister and brothers, forever. And my children, my children won't get to know the best of all the grandparents. This wonderful woman, only my daughter will have known, and barely. It is not enough, I say that a lot lately, but it isn't. It never is. But it's all we have. C'est la vive.

I missed her tragically yesterday, I stopped, and suddenly, my good mood, my joy, was gone, because, I can't call her, see her, touch her, talk to her, because she's gone, because even before I visited her, I could call and just talk and hear a hi or a yeah or a small phrase, but it was still something. Now, now the phone will never register her name, her voice will never speak my name. She will never see the best of me, the things I've yet to do.

I miss her. There is a void, an emptiness. It's the oddest thing. I can sense the hole, I can sense the place she should fill with her words and laughter, and it's empty, and it can't be filled, and it just is there, and somehow, somehow I'm supposed to make that emptiness, that vacancy, a part of me, and make it mean something, and I've no idea how.

I can't seem to stop saying I miss her. It's the only theme right now in my life.

A child can wish her back, scream it's not fair, whine and plea, yell and demand. I am not a child. I know, I know I can't have her back. Screaming, whining, pleaing, yelling, being angry, won't do anything. So I must reconcile this emptiness to myself, somehow, someway...


Blogger David said...

62! I hadn't realized or gleaned that from your previous posts. That's so awfully young for this.

1:16 PM  
Blogger rennratt said...

I am so sorry.

I have been where you are; I understand.

I am so, so, so sorry.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

8:10 PM  

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