My body is reacting a little to this last week in August. I’ve been having a hard time sleeping.
Two years ago today was the last day that my sweet mom was present. It was a Friday. She said goodbye to Joe, who was leaving for college. Christy Parks was visiting. All the previous week, her health had been declining oh, so rapidly. Many of her dearest friends had visited. She ate a lot of strong, salty foods. She slept a lot. She hurt.
After Joe got in the car and drove away, Mom said she was really tired and needed to sleep. I don’t remember having any back-and-forth communication with her after that. Saturday she told me she was tired. She took her pain killers. Maybe we were still trying to encourage her to eat…I don’t remember. In any case, by Sunday it became clear that the end was fast approaching. On Monday morning, she was at the Hospice center. She (at least for me) had slipped below the surface. She fought that last week. She didn’t want to die. Really, really didn’t want to die.
My mom wanted to keep living. She savored life, and she so wanted our lives to go on together…all of us woven like a tapestry. We just don’t get to choose our path, though. Sometimes things, like pancreatic cancer, just happen. They just happen and we deal and everyone moves on.
Oh, but I miss my mom. I still want to talk to her so often. I want to share Sylvia with her. She would love Sylvia so much. She deserved to know her granddaughter. It makes me so sad to think of the Grandma Margot loving that Sylvia and Andrew don’t get because she’s not here. And the Andrew and Sylvia loving that my mom doesn’t get because she’s not here.
I don’t fret about it every day. I don’t feel sad about it most weeks. But this week is hard. It took me all of last year to process the fact that she is gone. To deal with the reality that she spent a month dying as we tried to ease her way. This year, for the most part, has been easier.
But Mom, as that golden late-August sun filters down through the maple tree in our front yard, I just wish that you were still here to see it too. Your family loves you, Mom. For we are your little bunnies.
I still think this poem does a nice job of capturing how I feel about where Mom is right now:
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there.
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.
I did not die.
PS. For those of you new to my blog, the back-story to Mom’s two-and-a-half year experience with cancer can be found at the beginning of this category.
PPS. My heart has also been heavy this week because we’re approaching the three-year anniversary of Allan Lerner’s birthday. His due date was August 27, and he was born still on September 2. To my dear friends Heather and Michael, I’m thinking about you.