Going there

If I were so inclined, I could cry five or six times a day. But I am not inclined. What a mess I’d be. I make this claim, though, because my eyes threaten to generate tears in response to a variety of stimuli: a moving radio story, cute pet photos, news of a tragic death (human or pet, which may seem ridiculous, but it’s the truth), a positive human interaction that gives me a warm feeling, my own rambling thoughts about Mom. Etc. I always stop myself, though. I kind of feel like if I let myself cry, I won’t be able to stop … at least for a long while. So I don’t go there. As my brother Jeff so aptly put it when I threatened to cry when leaving New York City last fall after our sibling visit, I suppress (it’s helpful to visualize here the lowering of hands as if pressing down on something. In this case, emotions).

I think of this as a lasting element of grieving. But I suppose it also could be that I am a middle-aged woman whose hormones are playing tricks on her. I really don’t know.

I do know that thoughts of Mom drift in and out all day, every day. I recently told a friend/co-worker about the emergency department experience we had when Mom fell and needed stitches. (That was five years ago. Seems like yesterday.) We were talking about our experiences with various medical staff – in this case, their shortcomings. I remembered the doctor was confident Mom’s stitched-up wound would heal in a cosmetically satisfying way. And that the automatic blood pressure cuff scared Mom. I can laugh when I tell these stories and she did some funny things on that day. But then I fret about how scared she must have been. And how, that long ago, she could not understand instructions or make sense of the world around her. The doctor asked if her neck hurt and she replied, “Bonnie Caldwell.” That is funny. But I shudder to think about her physical pain that resulted from that fall, and her inability to tell us what hurt.

I began writing this post on Aug. 24. Since then, two anniversaries have passed: Aug. 27, 10 months since Mom died, and Aug. 28, what would have marked seven years since she moved into the Alz center. Facebook memories from Augusts past have been full of reminders of her transition from assisted living to standard nursing home, being kicked out, and her improved mood upon moving to the Alz center. And also last August, when we had a family staycation in Columbus, and we were all together with Mom – including her two granddaughters.

The bumpiness of this post is a good representation of how I feel these days: scatterbrained, fretful, wistful, grateful, sorrowful, joyful, grumpy, peaceful.

Mostly I just wanted to check in. Mom is still a big part of my life.

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2 comments so far

  1. 2011days on

    Thank you for justifying (again) my everyday feelings since my mom died last November.. I recognize the 20th of every month as an anniversary of the day she chose to die. I’ve had surely over one-thousand questions that I berate myself for not asking her and I will likely add five or six more tomorrow. I ask myself daily, “Was I really so physically and mentally exhausted from caregiving, so focused in on the mechanics, that I failed to ask her for answers only she could give me?” A large part of me, of who I used to be, is gone forever. I have known all along that she would take much of me with her, that I would never be myself again. When grief is as raw as I feel, when it doesn’t give in, rebuilding myself from the ground up is something I simply cannot fathom.

  2. momsbrain on

    2011days, I feel terrible that I never responded to this. I have a different relationship with this blog now – am drawn to it and then avoid it, depending on how I feel. I’m sorry you are feeling that regret about questions never asked. The finality of death was really striking for me, no matter how long I had known it we the inevitable outcome. I am having strong reminders of Mom’s last days right now, and am feeling raw myself about the loss. I hope you are able to find relief from your grief. It is different for us all.


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