My mother could really drive me crazy. As she got older, I found myself having to tell her fewer and fewer details of my life. For example, she had no idea that I was a blogger or a podcaster. Both of these facts would have made her cringe. She was a very private person. If she knew I had blogger or podcasted about her specifically, there would have been hell to pay.
I also told her fewer details of the lives of my children because she seemed to have a PhD in worrying. She could take any situation and find the danger. So, I started leaving her out of big things. The kids went on trips she never heard about. One played sports I never told her about. In order to keep the peace and maintain the relationship, I was sharing less and less. Of course, I told myself all of this would stop once she was better.
Even with all of the stuff we never discussed, I still find myself, six days after her passing, finding things I typically would have shared with her and feeling a void because I cannot. I had fooled myself by talking to her the whole time she was unconscious. I never stopped talking. And then she wasn’t there to even talk at anymore. The permanence of her being gone is just now starting to sink in.
It sinked in further today when I returned to the hospital to drop off a thank you card I wrote for the staff of nurses and techs that took care of her in her final days. I am not sure if this is customary or not. I just wanted them to know how much I care that they cared. But it also meant I had to return to the hospice floor and relive the same steps I took back and forth while waiting for the inevitable. Now there is no reason to stay until 3am.
It just happened but it seems like it was weeks ago at the same time.
The cremation has been completed. I received the confirmation via email. Now I am just waiting on the paperwork so I can make one trip out to bring her and the paperwork home at the same time. I believe she would approve of this. She was not one for wasting gas. She used to complain about my habit of going to Walmart on my side of town and Kroger on the other side of town. Just get it all in one place! Whatever money you save you’ve wasted on gas and wear and tear on the car!
Six days. A week ago tonight was the last time I saw her. I feel sadness, then relief, then guilt, then forget for a bit, then remember. It’s this cycle that keeps going round and round. I assume the circle will get bigger over time so each feeling lingers a little longer before it all just blends in to normal life and it takes a seat beside the other regrets.
I wonder, in the guilt phases, if I wanted this to happen. I was thinking a few weeks ago, when things were not going great and I was having to fill out paperwork to permanently place my mother in the nursing home (she did not know this but I had to have things in order just in case and it was looking very likely that just in case was about to become reality) that my mother’s only escape from this situation was going to be death and that would mean that my only escape from it, from the guilt of what I was having to do behind her back, cheerleading to her face (You can do this! We will get you home!) but preparing in the background, would be the same.
How will she accept never going home, I was thinking day and night. And how was I going to tell her.
And then it happened and, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it at all. My main thought during her trip to the ER was how would we handle not losing her room at rehab if she was in the hospital for a few days and I was in complete disbelief when the ER doctor came to us and said that we were at the end. I’d heard that so many times that I even went home not believing it and spent Monday weighing options. 5% chance. I wasn’t thinking about the math, I guess.
Now here I am, at the Chromebook, typing away with no mother to call to talk about Doris Roberts or the primary in New York. It’s permanent, I keep telling myself, although she is the top entry in my iPhone memory and her brush and comb are still in the blue tote that has been in the trunk of my car ever since I emptied her rehab room out two weeks ago tomorrow morning.
The circle will get bigger over time, I tell myself. It just hasn’t yet.