Posted by : Wendy B Monday, 11 May 2015
This newspaper clipping was one of the many remnants of her past I found this weekend as I sorted through the junk under her bed, prepping my parents for the move out of our family home of 30 years. I've seen all of the old pictures before. My mom was a stunning woman.
The contrast between the photos I was looking through and the woman who could barely walk up two flights of steps this weekend was....
Mother's Day. The day I realized my mom was dying.
It's not surprising, really. She's suffered from a chronic, not-quite-cancer, blood disease for almost two decades. It's slowly been whittling at her from within, but, despite the constant pain and fatigue, she always rallies. Even as the medicines fail or the prognosis gets slightly worse. She rallies. We joke that mom is going to out live us all. This disease is a very real torment, but admit it, mom, you love the attention you get. ha ha ha.
But I looked at the pictures this weekend and at my mom struggling to speak and knew that the joke was over.
It feels wrong to write this. Like I'm saying good bye before she's even gone. The doctors have given her a few weeks. A bed is being organized for my brother's house. She's signed the papers. But her mother was a fighter too. She was given a few weeks several times and defied them until she was 98 years old. My mom could damn well do the same. If nothing else, but to spite us. Like that little magnet on her fridge that says "A parent's greatest revenge is living long enough to be a problem to their children." That would totally be a mom thing to do.
I left work early today. I have lots to do and the work would have been a useful distraction. But every moment since my sister called me has been peppered with tears. I didn't feel like having to explain that to anyone. But I did have to tell my daughters when I got home. I couldn't hide it from them. Their sobs wrenched my soul.
Still. I have to look at this as a blessing. They have a chance to say good bye. They've known her and she has been an important part of their life. Death is not new to them. They never met their paternal grandmother who passed away suddenly before my husband and I even met, though we visit her grave every year. This is hard for him too. When I met him, "mother" was an understandably difficult subject. Now he calls my mother "mum," as do many others not of her blood. That's just how big her heart is. Room for every child who needs to be loved unconditionally.
A few weeks ago, I was talking about Robert Munsch's creepy book, Love You Forever. That crazy mom who loves her kid so much that she sneaks into his house at night to cuddle him even after he's grown into an adult. But as much as it amused me to make fun of creepy stalker mom, I got what the book was saying. I'm 38 years old and tonight mom reminded me that I'm still her baby. As if I could ever forget.
We're going to go see her in a few days. And see my dad, whom I worry about far more. My mom, I know, is ready for this. Scared, but ready. I've never much cared for church, mainly because of my mom's preachiness, but I've never doubted her faith. She has her God and knows she is going to Him. I will not take that from her. And I'll do my best to keep my tears here so that she can have my laughter and in turn, make her laugh.
I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living
My Mommy you'll be.