Falling apart, and back together
My life has been a huge, complicated mess for about a month now. I’ve been lost and lonely, scared and confused. Angry and depressed. Some days, I didn’t know how I felt. Some days I just wanted to quit and give up.
Through it all, I’m still standing, but it hasn’t been easy, and I know it’s not really over yet either.
Just as a warning, this post may be a little wandering and confused, but I’ve been unable to really write anything since I lost my Mom and I think it’s mostly because I haven’t written about loosing her yet. So, here is my therapy post.
My Mom went back in the hospital around the beginning of June and by June 13th, she was gone. The last 2 weeks of her life, spent in the hospital, weren’t pleasant for her or for the rest of us.
Shortly after she was admitted, Dad called and said that he’d taken her back to the ER with a distended abdomen and that as him and my Uncle tried to get her out of the house, she’d begun having seizures.
I went up there to see her and she was in her first stint in ICU. They had just taken the respirator off to see if she could breath on her own and it wasn’t looking promising. When Mini-Me and I got there, though, she was mostly lucid and we were able to talk to her.
She seemed to know, even then, that her time here had come to an end. She had things she wanted to say to us and she was able to say them.
I will be forever grateful that I made that trip that night to the hospital. It was the last time I would be able to talk to my Mom and know that she heard me and knew who I was.
The hospital said she had a blockage, but she was too weak and not breathing well and they couldn’t really do much for her. She was in and out of ICU and CCU, on and off a respirator, for almost 2 weeks.
Finally, around the 10th or 11th, the head surgeon came to my Mom’s room to talk to my Dad. There was nothing more they felt they could do for her. She was dying and there was nothing they could do to stop it, only prolong it.
The decision was made not to put her back on a respirator or any other machines. She was listed as do not resuscitate. She would be moved to a hospice facility.
Early in the afternoon of the 12th, she was moved. Dad was supposed to let me know when they got her settled and I was going to come up there and see her.
Early in the evening, I received a phone call. My Dad had talked to a family member and somehow they had gotten the impression that Mom had passed already. After a flurry of phone calls, I finally found out that although she had not yet passed, they didn’t expect her to make it through the night. She was what they called “Active”, which meant that she was in the process of passing away.
Before I could get up there, my phone rang again. It was one of the nurses. Dad was at the hospice facility and they were concerned about him. Could I please come see to him ASAP.
When I got there, Dad was a wreck. I finally got him to go home and my Aunt and Uncle eventually convinced him to let them take him. I walked in the rain and in the dark back inside the hospice facility.
I noticed on my way back in that the hospice facility, while very nice, was some kind of weird mixture of a hospital and mortuary. It had that mortuary feel to it. I realized then, for maybe the first time, that this was a place where they sent people to die.
I was almost in a daze by this point. More on auto-pilot than anything. I sat at the nurse’s station re-signing paperwork my Dad had already signed, discussing what funeral home they should call and making sure names and phone numbers were correct.
When it was done, I returned alone to sit at my mother’s bedside. The only sound in the room was my mother’s labored breathing. I sat beside her, held her hand and watched her fight for her life and knew it my heart that it was a fight she was loosing quickly.
When the nurse came into the room to check on her, she said that it could still be hours yet and encouraged me to go home and get some sleep. She put her hand affectionately on my shoulder and said, the next few days are going to hard for you and your Father. Go and rest while you can.
I leaned over the bed, softly kissed my Mom on her forehead and quietly left her room.
I couldn’t tell you anything about the walk back to my car. It should have taken moments, but could have taken hours. In those moments after leaving my mother’s bedside, nothing had meaning. I don’t remember thinking anything at all. I was numb, in a daze.
The next morning, just before 11 am, a few ladies came to my Mom’s room before I could get back up there and offered to pray with her. My Aunt and Uncle were there and said that while the group of ladies prayed, my Mom briefly open her eyes, something she hadn’t done in 3 days. She seemed to look at something only she could see.
At 10:55 am on June 13, 2012, my mother took her last breath.
She was a force of nature, born to a family that would never understand her, she made her own life, her own way. When her way was blocked, she plowed through it as if it were nothing. She never allowed life, or anyone in it to stand in her way. When she wanted something, she made it happen.
She was not perfect. She was not always the mother I needed her to be. We were not always close and even went years sometimes without speaking over some disagreement or another.
But, in spite of her faults, she was my Mother and I loved her very much. I’m not sure I will ever stop missing her.
Unfortunately, I was not to have time to grieve. I went from handling my mother’s final affairs, to immediately caring for my dad.
I was a mess, my dad was a mess and my life was about to become a mess.
It was decided that Paul and I would leave our happy little existence at E’s and move in with my Dad because he was grieving so hard for Mom and didn’t need to be alone.
In the weeks that I was there with him, we did accomplish a lot. We were able to go through a lot of the stuff that was still sitting packed up in boxes. I was able to help him deal with Mom’s personal items. I was able to be there for him through the worst of his grief. I was even able to secure him enough of an income of his own to be able to provide for himself.
The whole time we were there, though, I couldn’t seem to think of it as home. E’s was home. It was where all my things were. It was where I had finally begun to smile and laugh and make some good memories. I missed it and wanted to go back.
I didn’t know it then, but I would be returning to E’s sooner than I would have thought.
Yesterday, Dad and I reached an impasse. There are some things I just can’t live with and there are some things he’s having a hard time living without. I put Dutchess in the car and drove away.
Today, the guilt has all but eaten me alive. I feel guilty about leaving him alone. I feel guilty that I couldn’t help him. I feel guilty for being relieved to be back at E’s.
I still haven’t grieved for my Mom. I need time to myself to allow myself to deal with it. I feel that I can do that here.
E has always been a good friend to us and I love her to pieces. She’s become kind of like a little sister to me and she was there, once again, when we needed her. She’s allowed us to come back for as long as we need or want.
We’re torn at the moment between getting our own place and staying here. We were happy here and I know we will be again. I also know that it’s been 3 years since we had our own place and it’s beyond time. But still….we would be happy here…
Anyway, that’s pretty much where I’ve been and what’s happened up to now. Maybe now that I have finally taken the time to talk about Mom’s passing, I will be able to free myself from this writer’s block. It’s not a great way to start a blog, but it is what it is, I guess.