“You know you’re just a mama’s boy”
Persons under the shock of genuine affliction are not only upset mentally but are all unbalanced physically. No matter how calm and controlled they seemingly may be, no one can under such circumstances be normal. Their disturbed circulation makes them cold, their distress makes them unstrung, sleepless. Persons they normally like, they often turn from. No one should ever be forced upon those in grief, and all over-emotional people, no matter how near or dear, should be barred absolutely. Although the knowledge that their friends love them and sorrow for them is a great solace, the nearest afflicted must be protected from any one or anything which is likely to overstrain nerves already at the threatening point, and none have the right to feel hurt if they are told they can neither be of use nor be received. At such a time, to some people companionship is a comfort, others shrink from dearest friends. One who is by choice or accident selected to come in contact with those in new affliction should, like a trained nurse, banish all consciousness of self; otherwise he or she will be of no service — and service is the only gift of value that can be offered.
-Emily Post “Funerals” Etiquette 1922
she is dead. she is never coming back and i will never see her or have contact with again. i did not get to tell her how much i loved her or appreciated her. i went to see her when she was at St. Anthony’s and i think she had gone for a lab and would be back shortly and i didn’t want to wait so i went home. i have no last conversation that i can look back on. my sisters went to see her the day before she became unresponsive and i didn’t go with them because i was on my lunch break, but it wouldn’t have mattered if i was late. i just didn’t want to bother. when i was unemployed i didn’t move back in with her or make any sacrifices. she paid my rent with my dad’s benefits and her social security. i still had cable. i still had internet. i couldn’t move in with her for a lot of reasons. it would have been hard for me to go to interviews because she wasn’t driving at the time. and of course neither was i. the main reason though is because i didn’t want to deal with it. i didn’t want to take the responsibility and i was allowed to slide again and again from any responsibility. and i pat myself on the back for being the one that would call her. i would ask her to get meds for me from her doctor and then find a way to get them to me. i drained her money. when she moved into Midwest City i could have moved in with her and still worked at SoonerCare but i didn’t want to because i didn’t want to deal with it. i waited for nine years straight to get a phone call telling me she had died and then she just died out of the blue. there was no time to say anything to her. i didn’t go up there and sit with her on saturday before she died because i didn’t see the point because she wasn’t talking anyway. that is the thought that ran through my head. i have not paid my sister back for the funeral. i could have done more but i was too selfish to do anything. i could have gone and seen her on my days off when she was at the rehab nursing place but i didn’t. because i didn’t want to be bothered. i was selfish. i could have done more. i miss her everyday but a part of me also miss the money that i could take out of her account. i am not a good person and i do not need anyone to tell me that i am. i am a user of people. i use my mother’s death as a crutch and cudgel to get make people feel sorry for me. i hold against people who didn’t contact me about it. i use it as a way to explain everything that’s happened to me since. i have had a breakdown of sorts tonight. and the realization i took away from it is she is dead she is not here. she is not coming back and if i had helped out more i could have made the last few years of her life better. do you know how many jobs i had after i quit the library? five. and i quit all five of them in the first week. and my mother was okay with that. because she was okay with everything i did. she let me get away with murder. i could have sucked it up and worked those jobs but i didn’t. i have never sucked it up. i have just waited for someone to come around and fix the situation. and now there is no one to fix the problems. i used her to death. and i think of warm recollections if i like but i feel that right now it seems very false
I wrote that a few months ago — I was very angry at myself and probably completely inconsolable.
Waitin’ for Superman
That they should try to hold on
Best they can
He hasn’t dropped them
It’s just too heavy for Superman to lift”
My mother passed away a year ago today. You don’t wake up in the morning — no matter how sick someone might be — and think by the end of the day, they’ll be gone. But that’s how it went. She never woke up. She had been unresponsive for days and her body was shutting down. And I didn’t want her to make it through. I couldn’t take it anymore. She had been so sick and it was making me insane. I said weeks before that i had wanted her to just die so it would be over with. I didn’t think it would really happen though. And then it did. She was in ICU on a ventilator barely able to breathe and around 6 or so in the evening she took one last breath and i was there and i shouldn’t have been. During that day, i didn’t go into the room alone to really spend time with her. I went in and saw her and told her i loved her and then i would start crying and i couldn’t do it anymore and i would leave. I regret not being in there longer or staying with her more while she was in ICU — but i just couldn’t take it. I was watching my model for God die and you can’t do that.
A couple of days after she passed away I got the new iPhone. I had ordered it months ago and it finally showed up. It’s a weird experience still deep in the grieving mode to go to the ATT store and pretend to be okay to get a phone set up. When I got it set up, I noticed that the voice mails I still had on my phone were gone. The ones from my mom. When I called them — and they told me they really couldn’t do anything, very nicely I should say, that was the first time I sobbed. I wouldn’t get to hear her voice either.
Then the funeral service — and when i got home the realization that it had all happened so fast. more sobbing. i had a mother a week before and i didn’t anymore.
I could talk more about the events of that week but i don’t recall them all that well. I remember the day itself well. We went to eat at Louie’s there in Midtown and we got a call telling us that she had passed away. My first instinct was to hug my sister and tell her it’s ok it’s ok. We drove back to St. Anthony’s and she hadn’t died. We joked that she wouldn’t let us get off that easy and we’d be haunted by her complaining about us not even being there when she died. It’s weird in the immediate moments afterwards or the soon afterwards how you go about normalcy. And how easy normalcy is for a few hours.
“For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.”
The months that followed were not good. Things were rough in every way. Relationship, work, human relations. I still hold on to some resentments but i shouldn’t. The people i resent have their own personal battles to deal with regarding decisions made and it’s not my place to hold them accountable.
This job that I am working at now — which for so long i hated — has been one of the stranger saving graces i’ve had. It’s taught me that what i need to do and what i am good at is helping people and listening to people and not judging them. People just need to be listened to now and then. That’s why i want to be an elementary teacher because i want to do good and be helpful.
My dog saved me. Jimmy Pardo and his podcast saved me. Learning how to cook saved me. I wish i could have cooked for my mom but i didn’t get that chance. I love my dog so much and she loves me so much. I saved myself. I have gotten to the point where in the stages of grief i can see acceptance from here. I didn’t think i ever would. I am stronger than i ever thought i was.
“Strength and courage overrides
The privileged and weary eyes
Of river poet search naiveté”
I appreciate things much more now. Small things. The cool breeze and the pretty flowers. Children and their wonder. I think i told myself that i did that before but i didn’t truly. We don’t have a long time here, but we do also have a long time here. It’s easier to be hateful and cynical and i don’t begrudge that. But i’m not to be that anymore. My philosophy is that things happen for a reason because we infer something from them. Everything can’t be random because if so, wouldn’t we act in random ways to random events. But our actions have a logic to them. Things happen for a reason because they have to or you would go insane.
Moments are fleeting. But notice them more often. Each small connection can become bigger.
I felt her presence a week or so ago for the first time since she died. I had not experienced that and did not believe that I would or that it was something that happens. But i felt it.
“Don’t be scared
You are alive
You are alive”
I was listening to that song. Electrolite by REM. And i could tell it was her telling me that. That it was okay. That I’ll be okay. That I’m alive and she is not but she is here. I miss talking to her more than anything. I loved going out to our house for the weekend and just watch TV with her and joke around. I liked her calling me and telling me that someone had called looking for a person named Vince. This happened several times and she called me and told me almost every time.
It was so hard in the last few years to see her decline. I don’t wish that on anymore not the decline but watching someone so strong someone that you depend on for so much to start to decline. I would call everyday after my dad died to make sure she was okay — because if she were still answering the phone that meant i could call and tell her about my day or something i read or let her know some celebrity had died. Mainly though it let me know she were still alive and that I wouldn’t have to worry again until the next day. And i did worry so much. But I don’t know anymore. Which is a good thing even though it came about in a horrible way.
She was a good person. She had her problems. Her and my father had their problems. But they were happy and I don’t believe people who say they weren’t. I am now amazed she made it as she did after he passed away. I wish she had taken better care of herself but she didn’t. I accept that. I got to know her for 36 years and I am so grateful for that. She was my favorite person. She really was. And i miss her. But she’s here. She’s in my mind anytime i need her.
I have asked myself over and over again what am i to learn from this. I still don’t know. That i am strong? That eventually things even out? I don’t know. The learning continues. It will never stop. Love who you can while you can. Live your life. Try and be happy and if you aren’t that’s okay too. Just don’t give up. And enjoy it. All of it.