Wednesday, October 8, 2014
So here's the thing. When you lose a parent, and those of you who have lost parents will back me up on this, life is never the same. It goes on, you have happiness and laughter and fun and love and everything you had before, but it is never the same, ever. Lately I have reckoned it to part of my insides being crushed. Like picture my heart, for lack of a better organ that is closely related to love even though it has nothing to do with love, but it's in the middle of my body and I always tell my kid that her grandma is right here, and I put my hand on my chest and and on her chest, and I say that she's right in here forever. So picture my heart, except one part of it is just scrunched. It's not as filled out and bursting with life and love as the other parts. And it's always going to be that way. And I think when you have no parents left in the world your heart sort of feels like this. And I'm sure people will say the same thing about the loss of their partner or amazingly heart crushing loss of a child and I don't know about these things so I can't speak to them but I'm sure they would say the say the same thing. I can be going along with my business, either I'm at work or I'm at home and I'm watching TV being lazy or I'm hanging out with my beautiful daughter or I'm talking to Chief or whatever. And then for some reason it hits me: This grief that makes me feel as if I'm going to literally collapse, that everything will stop and that everything is horrible and will never be right again. I can be playing Words With Friends on my Kindle, the cool one I won at the work Christmas party, and remember how in her last weeks Mom would ask to see it so she could look on her Facebook, and only be able to hold it for a minute while her finger tried to move the page up, because she was just so tired and so very week. And I would take it from her and watch her fall back to sleep, knowing that her body just didn't have any nutrients or oomph but that holding that Kindle for a just a moment or two made her feel normal and I think she wanted to look normal to me, like hey, we're here, and I'm dying, and we all know it, but let me see what's happening on Facebook. It reminds me of her bravery. She never once said to me or to my brother, I'm scared. I remember when the oncologist first told us it was stage 4 cancer, with an unknown source, which just meant, I'm sorry, this has spread, and you're mostly screwed. We were all sitting in the office, Mom, and my brother and I, and I remember she looked at me, her eyes wide, like, are you fucking kidding me???? As if to say, they found this cancer, but we just lost my husband and my kid's father a year ago, are you fucking kidding me right now? I will never forget that look. I will never forget her telling the doctor in the ER, she was there over two months after that day with the oncologist, and after the scans had shown her mostly clear and that showed that chemo hadn't needed to start yet, when the ER doc said, so what if it looked like chemo would probably not help, would you still be willing to try it? And she was so weak, and so tired, and she said, I just want to keep fighting, we'll keep fighting. And I remember when I got off work at 9 pm and went to my brother's house to pick up my daughter and we got in his truck so we could talk, and he told me that the doctor had told him there was no way Mom would ever be able to eat again, that if anything they'd have to feed her with a tube, if that would even work. That conversation in the car is what I will always remember as the beginning of the end, when my brother and I cried and then pulled ourselves together so that we could go inside and hug our kids and act normal. And I will always remember a day in the hospital, when it was just me and Mom, and she was still strong enough to sit up in a chair for a little bit, and we sat there by her hospital room window, which looked out onto the roof. And watched these birds, I think mostly crows. And we watched them for a while like we were watching a funny nature show or something. And I held her hand. And I remember her smiling as we watched these silly birds do their thing. And what a strange thing to remember of that time but I always will. It will always remind me of her bravery. Of her desire for normalcy. Of her ability to find humor at times when so many would find no humor and would spend all their time crying. She's not here and part of me is crushed. Forever deflated it. There's nothing that can fix that. But it doesn't mean I don't laugh and find joy and that the other parts of my heart will ever stop being filled with love. Those other parts are just bursting with it. But I needed to cry for ten or fifteen minutes and write all of this down and I'm not going to read it or edit it so if you read all of this thank you, for letting me share and for letting it be one long rambly paragraph. But I just needed to tell you guys how much I miss both my parents and especially the one I talked to every single day, who sometimes seemed to exist so that I always had someone to say, "It's going to be okay. You'll be okay." And who would cheerfully say, "Hi, baby girl!" when I called her. I miss talking to her on the phone a few times every day. I miss silly chats with her while I'm at work. I miss everything about her. But I know that she's still here, that she lives on through me and my kid and my brother and his kid. But I miss her. So if reading this makes just one person call their mom or dad then all my rambling was worth it. Call them and hug them and tell them you love them. As often as you can.