All the things we never got to say…did I really listen…
“Kathleen was born on October 6, 1937 and passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2015. Kathleen was a resident of Danville, Kentucky at the time of passing. Visitation and Funeral will be held privately by family.”
It has been four years…and I just now googled my mother’s name to see what would come up for her….a brief statement of her passing….aaaggg….
Where was my head? I didn’t even write all the wonderful things about her life!
It was just my mother and I in the end…my friends came and visited the last 7 days of her life to support me….did I forget to write an obituary for crap’s sake? Hospice wrote it….and they didn’t know what to say….they did their best and I could not have survived without them.
My friends pitched in for her request for a cremation…
Mom had cashed in her prepaid funeral insurance to supplement her social security and make the ends meet. Four hours before she passed, I sat holding her hand and posting a “Go Fund ME” request for cremation expense. Between four dear friends; within two hours, the $1700.00 was raised.
NOT ONE FAMILY MEMEBER…..only my friends….contributed….
NOT ONE FAMILY MEMBER VISITED HER IN HER LAST DAYS…just me and my friends…who cared about her too….
“Mom, my friends have pitched in and your cremation expense is covered..”
I squeezed her hand and she squeezed my hand back…sounded so blunt and cruel to say that to her. However, I knew it was something that was troubling her and it gave her permission to let go a bit more.
My brother had an estranged relationship for over 20 years with my mother. She never knew why…in her mind, she just tried to be there for him and felt she failed him somehow….
A busy Chiropractor with a family to support made it impossible for my brother to come visit….I pleaded with him to call her in the last week of her life. He cleared his schedule and called her once a day…she struggled to stay cognitive for their brief conversations over the phone.
“Mom, whatever was between us, we have a clean slate now…”
“I am so proud of you for becoming a doctor and your beautiful family.” The family she only was able to see through pictures.
“Mom, do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with me?” I heard my brother say….
“Have no regrets…” My Mother imparted her words of wisdom to both of us….
As fate would have it, the Hospice Minister’s name was the same as my brother. As the minister entered the room on the last day of her life, I said; “Mom, Brad’s here”….the woman who had been in one position for 7 days and heavily drugged on morphine for her pain, struggled to sit up and push the hair back from her face and smile. As her eyes strained to focus in on Minister Brad’s face, she realized it was not her son…not her “Brad.”
“My mother sunk down into the hospital bed and let out a big sigh...”
As I held her and sang “Amazing Grace”, mom fought for her breath and passed away after a series of us both saying “Please God, please Jesus…”
The nurses came….I couldn’t stay….”We will prepare her and you can come back in and spend as much time with her as you like..” Why? She’s gone?!!
I couldn’t bear to see her life less body….no more cups of coffee together…no more daughter-mother disagreements…no more…anything…
How well do you really know your parents?
Weeks went by as I sorted through boxes of my mother’s things for donation ..one box for my brother...one for me…
“Mom’s memory boxes of a parent’s pain, pride and forgotten dreams….”
Then came the box….of comic books and ‘get well soon’ cards that my brother and I hand crafted for mom. Letters we wrote to her when we were on visitation with my father. Bus stop photo booth pictures and a note “Mom, when are you coming to get me?” Summer time at grandmas house…
“I felt her pain, joy, lost dreams, past loves, sacrifices and realized….I didn’t really KNOW my mom…”
My selective hearing, selective memories and understanding of my mother’s 76 years on this earth…were just that….selective. All those stories she told were the same ones….and now I uncovered a box of the ‘unknown’ facts. She was to be a pianist…she gave that up to marry my father at 19. A camping trip that conceived my first brother who died only 7 hours after he was born…pain…dreams of a ‘married forever with the white picket fence’…gone…life happened…and it just kept rolling…on….
All those stories….you know the ones…embarrassing ones that Mother’s always seem to bring up at dinner about some childhood antic you pulled…
You never get to hear them again…ever…from your mother. She’s gone and a big part of who you are goes with her. A human record of your personal growth through memories are archived in her soul and travel to realms beyond a phone call…
I talk to her every day in my mind and her voice in my head repeats mantras of life.
Did I really listen?
“Could you just come visit me, when it is just YOU?”
I hear my mother’s statement and I wonder, how could she be so selfish? Husband number two and his son’s are a part of my life now…….and I have to divide my time on the weekends to make everyone happy! Two birds one stone…right?!
Wrong…there is nothing that can replace the one to one and heart to heart talks that cannot be accomplished in a restaurant with a large family.
“I’m sorry I’m not as perfect as you…..”
All my guru studies of personal growth and enlightenment, I shared with my mother. I tried to solve her disdain for my father, although they divorced when I was very young. She STILL carried the hurt, hate and disappointment of a dream lost. Clearly, I could ‘see’ that the past kept her from living her life.
It wasn’t my job to change her…just accept her and love her…unconditionally…
“I just wish the good lord would take me!”
I heard this statement from my mother on a constant basis…until I said to her…
“Mom, in heaven they don’t even allow a carry on…so you have to check your bags here on earth first”
I didn’t hear her say that anymore….for a couple years and one day at lunch she stated to me, “ I think I am down to a carry on bag.”
Bereavement comes in waves, ounces, liters and pounds and sometimes it is like a building is dropped on you…
It has been four years since my mother passed. It is getting easier to get through the day to day…I still send her emails and they come back “undeliverable”…I still talk to her in my mind…”Mom, isn’t that crazy that so and so did…this or that?” I can hear her reply .”Yes, ridiculous!” Then I give out a small little laugh. She comes to me in my dreams and she is playing piano and violin…that she always wanted to learn.
The physical body is gone…but their energy is everywhere…
In the smell of coffee….a solitaire game…chess boards…Calla Lilly flowers, little birds….leaves softly dancing in the breeze….there is no disconnect...only our perception of separateness…
Happy four years in heaven Mom…you are free of the human EGO and drama that comes with it!
But…why wait…to listen..to understand…to ask questions…to make a video journal….you only get one shot…why waste it?
My father and I have a lot of missing time due to an early divorce and growing up with my mother…now he is 84 years old…lives with an oxygen tank and a wheel chair. My step mother informed me that they will move this month to a home on the river….something they always have wanted to do.
“I have this one last chance….while my father is still here…”
Do I let life dictate the most important part of this human journey? I think not...who cares if work gets put on hold…I have some stories to catch up on…and sit next to my Dad…as the river flows by….
What is your story? I would love to read about it and how we can all vow together to not waste precious time on needless things…Elizabeth xxx