There was no time

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The far end of the VOA lake. October 8, 2013

When I walk around the lake at the Voice of America Park with Arthur, as I often do, I get about to the opposite end of the lake before my thoughts inevitably turn to Mom or Dad or both. Something about walking, or driving in a car, does that to me.

I never anticipated how difficult and painful it would be to lose my parents.

It’s been nearly nine months since they died and the pain of loss, when it hits, nearly knocks me off my feet. I had hoped to be better by now. And I suppose I am better if you consider that a lot of the time, most of the time, I am fine with no apparent pain and no tears. But the tears do still come, and often with surprise. I’m learning a lot about grief and loss.

The permanency of it all is starting to sink in and may be the reason I’ve backslid some on my grieving.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do when I can’t talk to you anymore,” I told my mom leaning over her Hospice bed with tears streaming down my face. “I’ll have to find another way to talk to you.”

“Yes. You will,” she answered.

December and the beginning of January were a blur of activities. Hospitalizations, legal paperwork, nursing home visits. Camping out on the hard hospital lobby sofa. Speech therapists telling me Dad wasn’t swallowing well enough to take anything orally. Questions. What now? Small notebooks with phone numbers. Larger notebooks with pertinent information that expanded daily. A couple baskets of Dad’s meager possessions labelled with his name. Dad’s first visit to the nursing home dining room. My parents’ bedroom with piles of clothes on the floor from frantic searches and chaotic packing. A cloth patch I hand-sewed on an afghan to label with Mom’s name. Dad’s visit to see Mom at Hospice. Wheeling my overnight suitcase through an icy parking lot.

By the time there was time to talk, Mom was under heavy medication for pain and nausea. And there wasn’t time.

So I don’t know what she thought about everything that was happening.

“I don’t know how you girls are doing all of this,” she said in one lucid moment.

“I’m going to be in that group of people who beat this,” she said shortly after her bleak diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, her indomitable spirit rising again.

“Sometimes you’re better off just getting through things quickly,” she told me as I drove her home from a doctor’s visit when her blood pressure was uncontrollably high.

We got through it quickly.  But somehow I don’t feel better off.

I miss my mom.

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21 thoughts on “There was no time”

  1. My heart breaks for you. My mother is my rock, and I can’t imagine life without picking up the phone and calling her every day. With the recent death of my father it makes it all so plausible that I will lose her as well someday.

    1. If our lives follow a normal path, it is something we all have to endure eventually. I don’t think it is ever easy. I think truly living in the moment and appreciating all the small things is probably the best way through life. And then we just have to go on. Thanks for stopping by Susan.

  2. Goodness this is a beautiful post– a lovely tribute to both of your parents and especially your mom. I’m sure she reads what you write and knows what you think. I suppose, that’s what parents give us when they die–a renewed ability to understand, even at a distance.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

  3. I miss Mom too ! This is the exact month, last year that I go the infamous “GO” written in the sand on Siesta Key Beach and made the trek back North to Ohio, not knowing what was ahead. This marks the beginning of the end. I think it is only natural to find ourselves still grieving the loss. I love you sis.

  4. Beautifully put, Christine. It really sums up what those of us who have lost a parent- or more than one- have to live with.

    I keep telling myself, one day at a time. Some days I don’t think about it. Other days it weighs heavily.

    1. Thank you William. I’m with you, although with each passing day, I do think it gets easier. I’m a little further along than you. I still have some bad moments, however.

  5. I’m sorry this has been such a painful time for you, Christine. I completely agree with you on this (that you wrote to suzikate): “I think truly living in the moment and appreciating all the small things is probably the best way through life.” It’s still hard but then at least you know you’ve had every moment. Sending hugs.

  6. I remember reading a book on grieving after losing my mom. It said grief starts to ease 6-18 months afterward. I was determined that six months was it for me. Ha!
    I’m sorry you didn’t get all the time you wanted with your mom. I felt like I had been cheated of time, too. How many times did I think of something to tell her–but there was no call to be made?
    All I can say is, it does get better. My mom’s birthday would have been this past week. I didn’t even get teary when I wished her a good day. Your day will come, too. Until then: Hugs!

  7. I’m catching up on some of your past posts, and this is so beautiful. I dread going through this with my mom. She has been my dearest friend and the loss will be unbearable. Thank you, once again, for being so transparent in your writing.

    1. Thanks, JoDee. I never had time to dread losing my mother. I never considered the fact that I might. I was always so worried about my dad. Losing Mom really pulled the rug out from under my feet. She provided such unwavering unconditional support. It’s difficult being in a world where that is gone.

      1. Christine, I cannot imagine being in a world where the unwavering unconditional support of my mother is gone. Your life exudes grace. In the midst of your pain you continue to inspire. Perhaps the broken vessel holds the sweetest wine. My prayers and thoughts go with you, my friend.

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