Monday, November 07, 2005

In memoriam

I've been putting off writing this for weeks now. I've used every excuse I could find. I'm even thinking about dragging out this intro so I don't have to write these words.

My mom died.

She had a good sized stroke and collapsed in her living room. The neighbors found her and called the ambulance. She lasted a while longer, never woke up and died in hospice. She died five years and one day after my dad.

I've told that story, usually with a lot more details about 200 hundred times. I've cried, I've been angry, I've been depressed. It feels like there's about three hundred details I need to be taking care of, and I'm not sure I've done any of them.

The following thoughts keep occurring to me:

I'm an orphan.
I'm 47, so I'm not really an orphan but I may just be an a##h#l#.
I just want all go away.
I don't want any more sympathy.
I do want to feel sorry for myself.
I was probably an OK son.
But I still could have done more.
I'm actually sorrier for her (she won't see her grandchildren whom she adored graduate from HS or get married) than I am for me.
I'm not afraid of death anymore, but I'm pretty sure that dying sucks.
So I want to go quickly.
Between my wife's illnesses, my father's slow death over months and Mom's death I don't care if I ever see another hospital again.
That part of me feels guilty for hoping that she would die quickly. That's the first time I've acknowledged that feeling.
I probably still have a lot of processing to do about how I feel about this and what it means.

It means I'm the oldest living member of my immediate family. In days gone by that would make me the "head" of my family. Not sure I want that, and I'm pretty sure my brothers would have something to say on that matter. And that's fine. I don't feel like the eldest. I feel like a little kid.

A little orphan kid.

I love you Mom, and I miss you.



mindi said...

this is beautifully transparent and honest.

Gman said...

I was wondering when you would post. Don't have the words but know I'm praying and that you are cared for.

Steve said...

A month after my first sobriety anniversary, and three short weeks after she retired, I got the call from my sister that my mother had died.

It seeemed so cosmically unfair - she had looked so forward to just not having to work any more, yet her three short retirement were marked by a series of mini-strokes, and increasing terror about how she was going to manage to live. And now, all of a sudden, she was dead.

It's nearly 14 years ago, and I can still recall the anger I had - at God, at her God-forsaken job, at my father (for not believing in buying enough life insurance, you name it.

Trust me, brother: my dad had been dead for 12 years when Mom died, and her death really seemed to emphasize the single phrase: your parents are gone. You are not an "orphan," but you are now alone in ways you couldn't have imagined a month or a year ago. It takes time to grieve that.

Reading your list of thoughts took me back to all the wrestling I had with my mother's death - hating that it happened so suddenly, being grateful she didn't linger (like my dad, and several other family members did).

There's lots more I could write - but just know that your words in this post echo the voice of my heart, lo these many years ago.

I leave you with these words, which were one of the scripture readings at Mom's memorial service - may you find comfort in them as I did: The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.

In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace.

For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality.

Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of Himself; like gold in the furnace He tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering He accepted them.

In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble.

They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever.

Those who trust in Him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with Him in love, because grace and mercy are upon His elect, and He watches over his holy ones.

(Wisdom of Solomon, chapter 3, verses 1-9, rom the biblical Apocrypha)