I’ve begun to suspect that things are about to get even harder. My Mom is declining in health more and more everyday. It’s incredibly hard to face her impending death, wondering if it will happen today or tomorrow or the next day, never knowing how long she has left. I feel angry that others have not taken any interest in actually helping out in the care of Mom. It breaks my heart to see her get upset when they don’t visit or even call her on the phone. Yet, I am reminded of all the times in the past that I didn’t answer her when she called. I feel guilty for not being a better daughter to her. Mom has always had a youthful energy about her and I didn’t really know how to accept her until I became an adult and mother to my own children. Once I understood the circumstances surrounding her birth and childhood, I began to have great compassion towards her and my attitude changed. I accepted her “as is.” I guess I should feel grateful that I have been able to reconcile all of those feelings from way back in my own childhood. I wish I could do more. I feel like I am doing too much, but not enough at the same time. Why is this happening?
I feel so alone. I want to pick up the phone and call my Mom, talking about nothing in particular. I want to tell her about my day. I want to hear her tell me to worry for nothing and live one day at a time. I want her to reassure me that I will be okay. I want to hear her animated voice on the phone and imagine her facial expressions that I have memorized forever in my head. I want her to tell me that I worry too much and that things are not as bad as they seem. I want to hear the fieriness of her very practical advice in her matter-of-fact manner, her incensed indignation for all the wrongs going on in the world. I want her to remind me of what is most important in my life – being the best Mom to my boys. I want to laugh with her over all the silly little things that we’ve seen other people do or say, not in a mean, maniacal way, but a lighthearted and inoffensive way. People do and say some crazy stuff. I want to reminisce about times in the past, the funny moments, and the sad ones, too. I want her to encourage me to keep doing what is most important in life and that is helping people in need. It’s the small things, the seemingly insignificant things that matter the most in life.
But all of these things that I want are selfish. What I really want for her is to not suffer. I want to her breathe deeply and evenly. I want her to be able to enjoy drinking coffee, her “half cream half coffee” coffee. I want her to be able to taste the richness of butter and the sweetness of cake icing. I want to see her happy, with a smile on her face, as she decorates a freshly baked cake or the look of anticipation as I taste her latest dish after trying a new recipe. I want to see her fair Irish skin ruddy with the vitality of health. I want to see her mischievous smile as she is plotting a prank on someone. I want to see the excitement on her face as she shops for and finds the next bargain at her favorite thrift stores. I want to see the pride in her eyes after finishing another quilt. I want her to maintain her fierce independence and relish in taking care of everyone else. I want her heart to beat in a regular rate and rhythm. I want her walk circles around me with her infinite energy she has had all of her life. I want her to enjoy again all the years that she had without being sick, not so much as a cold. I want to hear her excitement about planning a get-together with all the family. I want to hear her ruminate about what food to fix. I want her to NOT suffer. When the day or night comes for her passing, I want her to go the way that she has always hoped for – peacefully in her sleep. I want to keep her with me always, but I know that she has to move on just like I will one day, too. I will have to remind myself that it’s not “goodbye forever,” it is simply “goodbye for now, I’ll see you soon.” Each day afterwards, the pain of losing her and missing her will never fade, but it will lessen a little until it is bearable to get through the days and nights to come. I will miss her terribly. I already do.