Well the first week of May has proven to be quite a roller coaster of emotion. My baby, your oldest grandchild, turned nine years old this week. Can you believe it? Remember the day he was born? I missed your retirement luncheon because I happen to be in the hospital giving birth that day. Gee, I’m glad you understood! I looked at the pictures we took of your first introduction to him. Your eyes just beamed with love and pride!
He had a great time with his friends, got the present from mom and dad he’d been requesting, and managed to make the celebration span multiple days. His gift from Grandma was a date. She and he dressed up and enjoyed a grown up meal and evening together. It proved to be a memorable experience for both of them. Through all of this I’ve become keenly aware of “not assuming we have tomorrow.” I know it’s a cliché, but it is VERY true! I don’t, ESPECIALLY when it comes to my children, ever want them to have a hole where a memory SHOULD be, simply because I didn’t slow down enough to make it with them! So . . . . I took his birthday off with him. He happened to be off school, and we spent the WHOLE day together. It was amazing. I even turned my Blackberry off – that’s a first – and honest to god, it was the MOST freeing experience. “Thanks, Mom, for spending today with us,” was a confirmation that I made the right choice.
Then it was snuggle before bed time. He started to cry ---- Dad, it broke my heart! I asked (though I knew the answer) him what was wrong….. the answer, “I miss my Grandpa…why can’t he be here for my birthday. We had the best times when we’d go out to dinner and shop for my present. I miss him, Mom.” Then there was anger. ….. “He wasn’t supposed to die. He just had a cough. He just had two coughs….that’s all.” Then tears and tears and tears … from both of us. How am I supposed to explain this to a nine year old when I don’t understand it myself? You’d had pneumonia before. You’d beaten all the odds dozens of times --- WHY!? Why didn’t it work this time? And that set off my week.
I was "off" all week --- I couldn’t figure it out. Work was crazy, but fine. Home was normal. I was doing what I needed, but I felt tense. Not sad, not lost, just tense. A friend (who can read me like a book) and I were emailing and she said “…..I can sense you’re very angry my friend . . . .” I responded in my reply --- “I’m not mad … just a tough week.” Driving home that night, I realized she was right! That was the tension I’m feeling --- I’m MAD! I’m mad at the reality of the situation! I’m mad that life is SO real to my kids at such a tender age, and I AM THE ONE who has to make some sense out of it to them. I’m mad at the unfairness of it all!! DAMN IT!!!! You worked so hard, fought so hard for that kidney and had FINALLY realized some “non medical time”! YOU and Nanc deserved time. You deserved some realize your dream time!!!! The sit on the boat, fish whenever you want, relax and enjoy the lake! Yea, I’m mad! I’m really mad at the mess of emotions, logistics, and new reality! That’s where I’ve been at all week. I’ll process it – but it’s the raw emotion that’s in me at this time.
And then there was TODAY!!!! You know what, Dad? I miss my mommy!!!!! I miss her so much on this Mother’s Day. I know it’s been 25 years; I know it’s a lifetime ago, but my heart ACHES today for her in a way I’ve not experienced in years.
Now, I’m not talking about my mom (Nancy), the woman you married in 1986, the woman who took an angry, confused, moody teenage girl and molded her into a grown woman, wife, and mother. And, she is still performing that job to this day. I’m talking about my MOMMY! The woman who gave birth to me, taught me the alphabet, shoe tying, bike riding, sewing, cooking, and fought for life like a true champion. The woman who knows ALL those stories about me that I was too young to remember. I’m sure that’s why today hurts so badly. The reality is I’ve lost the only OTHER person that was THERE for those memories and could tell me first hand! Now it’s all heresy, stories passed down, pictures and videos. It’s that link that’s gone. It’s that affirmation you’d tell me each year, “Your mom would be so proud of you and these kids. She really would.” I have an “orphan” feeling today --- and it’s hollow. It’s very very hollow. I keep telling myself you’re not supposed to “not have your parents” until you’re in your 50’s or 60’s ….. NOT 30’s!!!!!
I remember feeling a little like this when Grama Halliday died. I was so regretful.. . . . SHE could tell me about my mom in a way NO ONE else could!!! I should have written it down, recorded it, and asked more questions. But, I always had you. You were still there to fill in the gaps --- and remind me of whom she was. Now that’s gone --- and I feel a huge loss. Today’s a mixed day. I’m BURSTING with pride over the three amazing children I’m raising as their mother, yet, as a daughter, I’m feeling empty and sad.
Feeling like this today has educated that I need to prepare emotionally for next month . . . .Father’s Day. I’d be fine this year if the calendar skipped that day.