Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What I Think About--Losing My Mom

If I believed in nirvana, hot showers would be my nirvana.  I take a long, hot shower every night after P90X (if it helps, I generally feel guilty about the length when I remember that 1.1 billion people have no access to adequate water supplies).  Showers are my "me" time.  My prayer time. My "wash away the day" time.  Tonight I was standing in the hot water stream when a memory hit me.

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.
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
What I think is that losing my mom before I've lost her is nearly unbearable.  I'd appreciate your prayers.


  1. Oh sorry you are going through this. (((Big Hugs))). I'll keep you in my thoughts.

  2. I am so glad that I have you as a sister. You just said everything I felt but couldn't put to words. (I probably should not have read this 10 minutes before going to work because now I am a bawling mess). I despise when people tell me to "cherish the time I have with her." And although I can appreciate those words, she is no longer mom, just someone who vaguely resembles her. We are missing out on things to cherish.

    Thanks for posting this one, RJ. You always have the most perfect things to say. ILY.

  3. Reagan and Randean,

    I am so sorry you have to go through this valley. I was 23 when my mom passed away. I watched her go from healthy and independent to not being able to go to the bathroom or feed herself...that is of course we she would eat. She was 46 years old. I remember writing her eulogy a week before she died. I remember sobbing thinking of how unfair it was that my babies would never know their nanny. It was then that God reminded me that she was not going to be in pain any more. That she would be safe in His arms and at peace in His presence. I will be praying for you and family. Love ya girl.

    Heather B.

  4. I can't imagine what it is like to be experiencing this. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  5. I'm so sorry for your pain, and I'm glad you felt comfortable to put it out there. My Grandma has fairly advanced alzheimers, and it's really hard watching my grandpa and my dad feel the same way: like they've already lost her. I will keep you in my prayers.

  6. When she would eat not we...had a baby on my lap when I was typing.

  7. I thought I might be able to read this without crying, but I was wrong. I really feel for you and I am definitely praying for you. I am so sorry.

  8. Reagan - Your blog, as usual, is heartfelt and honest - I appreciate that. I am so sorry for your loss - and my heart is heavy for you and your sister. I can't even imagine what you must feel. You and your family will remain in our prayers.

  9. It must be terribly difficult to live in a constant state of grieving. I'm glad you have so many good friends and family to lean on as you go through this. While I can't know exactly what it feels like, I do feel for you.

  10. Thank you for all your kinds words and support. My family and I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers!

  11. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I know how it feels to watch someone you love slowly slipping away. You and your family are in my prayers. I'm here if you need anything.

  12. I can't imagine. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Love & prayers for you & your family!

  13. Oh R~I have tears streaming down my face. Sounds like our blog posts this week were very difficult. I wish I could fly through this computer screen and give you a huge hug!!!

  14. @Sarah and Shelly--Thanks!

    @Juliana--I'd probably take you up on that hug ...

  15. I am praying for you. And I would rather be without clean drinking water than be without my mom.

  16. Oh Reagan, I can only imagine! My Great Grandmother had Alzheimer's disease, so ever since I was a child I have had a special fear/ dislike for diseases of the mind. They seem so unfair to all involved. Not that loss could ever be easy, I suppose. You and your mom are in my prayers.


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