Hardest week of my life

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.

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Coneflower and bergamont from the prairie last week

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.

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I got this shirt for Sylvia a few weeks after my mom died. Yesterday I found it at a resale shop in a bigger size. I think of it as Grandma Margot sheep with baby Sylvie lamb.

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.

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Mom gave this sunflower notepad to me when I left for college. She inscribed the first page.

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:

Hopi Prayer

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.

35 Replies to “Hardest week of my life”

  1. Typing through tears, I want to send you my love Althea. If you need anything right now please don't hesitate to ask. We are here for you.Love, Kathy

  2. I've been thinking about this week arriving for the last couple of weeks. Just know you and your family are in our prayers as you relive the events of 2007. I love you.

  3. Ah, what a very special woman! As little as I saw her day to day I thought of her as my kindred spirit. She lives on in her children and your children will know of your love for her.

  4. I've been thinking about this week arriving for the last couple of weeks. Just know you and your family are in our prayers as you relive the events of 2007. I love you.

  5. Me too. Such a time of sadness. I suppose some day it will be contrasted with the excitement of back-to-school for Andrew, Sylvia and Evie. (And maybe we won’t always have to move at this time of year:( ) I miss your mom. I miss Allan. I miss all that we have lost with their absence. Every night I sing a lullaby to Evie that my mom taught me and I sing a verse with Margot’s name in it and a verse with Allan’s name it.
    *hug*

  6. Ah, what a very special woman! As little as I saw her day to day I thought of her as my kindred spirit. She lives on in her children and your children will know of your love for her.

  7. The big rabbit and her Babler bunnies are forever. You will all never forget.
    This time of year is hard on all that loved her. Sleep tight dear sweet baby
    sister. May your rest relieve you of the pain and turmoil the cancer caused.
    Thank God for Andrew as he was the one that brought such great joy to her
    life and extended the days. Just look at any picture where she was holding him.
    May you all find comfort in that she was in your life as long as she was.
    DSGAK

  8. I’ve been thinking of you, and your whole family, as summer begins to hint at fall. And oh so often when I’m with Andrew and Sylvie (and you, dear) my heart just aches that your sweet mommy is not here to observe those amazing children of yours. I imagine what your mom might think of your firecracker girl… and how delighted she would continue to be by the incredible Andrew. And i think about how much you must miss her wise council, her listening ears and her active love.
    with much love, jessica

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