It was July 7, 1993. My maternal grandmother died three days before and I was now standing next to my dad in the Catholic church where services were being held. He was crying. My dad--a gun toting, Rush Limbaugh listening, pro-hunter, blue collar, rough-n-tumble, manly man was crying. It was an unnerving sight. Later that day he told me he'd cried because he had never realized how alone he would feel after losing his parents. Despite his wife, and children, and brothers--he felt alone.
I burst into tears at the memory. Standing there in the hot water, I just cried because now I know exactly what he means. And to be honest, I feel like I've gotten ripped off. He was forty-six when his mom died. I'm 31. His mom was upbeat and as healthy as can be expected (and watching Young and the Restless) up until three days before her death. I've been slowly losing my mom for a couple of years.
My mom is not dead. She is dying. S l o w l y. And it is heart breaking.
You see, when I envisioned my grown-up life it always included her. I imaged her giving me parenting advice and waking up super early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons with my kids. I envisioned family vacations to Alaska and Griswold-like Christmases (but with an awesome turkey because the woman can cook). What is hard to come to grips with is that these visions will only be visions. The nature of her disease makes her paranoid so I can't really ask her advice on relationship issues without upsetting her. Her lack of memory function has denied me the ability to ask her parenting advice. Her medicine makes her very tired so getting up early is really not an option. Holidays are spent somewhat joyfully but somewhat sadly as we all wonder if this one is the last one with mom.
Do you see where I'm going here? I feel like I've already lost my mom. I know that might sound selfish given that she is still physically on earth but everything that encompasses "mom-ness"--those precious memories, and inside jokes, and mother/daughter dynamics have changed. I wasn't ready for it. I'm not ready for it.
Realistically I know I'm not alone. I know some of my dear readers have lost a parent. My sister is losing mom. My kids may never have a firm memory of "Grammy." My dad is losing his best friend of 41 years (and this is NOT how they planned on spending their retirement). I'm not alone but I feel alone.
Right now Jan Arden lyrics are running through my head.
What I think is that losing my mom before I've lost her is nearly unbearable. I'd appreciate your prayers.Nobody knows me, no one will ever see
The distance between what is and what will never be
A bird will break his wings
Like a heart will cut her strings
And there isn't anything to comfort me