( disclaimer – I found this picture of the ducks on the internet. I am only using it due to relevance.)
I woke up at 5am this morning…. I don’t know if I woke up because I have a job interview this afternoon, or I woke up because I can’t breathe. Or, maybe both….
I have been sitting here in bed drinking coffee for an hour, I can’t help but think of Mom, in th early hours all alone, that’s always the only thing on my mind. After my first cup of coffee I went back into the kitchen to get another and I looked across the den to the big red chair where Mom had her morning devotional…. Sometimes, it’s more than I can handle.
Mom was diagnosed with cancer over 3 years ago. ( give or take a month). She went into remission after a year of chemotherapy. That alone spoiled me into thinking we were done with cancer. Then it reappeared in her kidneys, and I thought, ” She beat it once, she will beat it again.” She was in pain this past Christmas, it just got worse. ( but I keep thinking that everything is going to be ok) My left brain knew that Mom’s body was failing, but my right brain was in such denial that it would not allow me to fulling understand. I didn’t want to loose my Mom, I didn’t think I could live without her, So, I immaturely “believed” that she was going to beat this thing.
My Mom’s mother, ( my Nan-Lu ) lived to be 99. Mom’s grandmother, ( Momma Dorough) lived to be 111. So, you can probably see why somewhere inside I would talk myself into believing she would be ok. I just knew she had at least another 20 years with us.
I have come to believe that denial is a bitter enemy. I understand that it doesn’t matter if someone goes suddenly or it takes a good long while. The pain of a loved one dying is traumatically devistating. I know and have talked to many that have lost their mothers in years past. No matter how long ago it happened, they talk about the death painfully and sad. I realize that I must get to a place where I can live with it tolerably, but maybe I will always have to live with the sadness. I’m trying to figure out a way of making it a little more tolerable.
I have so many happy, wonderful memories. Ha! I have a lifetime of them. Except for the years between 13 – 18 I had the most wonderful and loving relationship with my Mom. I will focus on remembering the love, the compassion. I will remember all the advice, all the prayers. I will try to understand. I did say “try”.
You have to stop and rearrange your thoughts, your attitudes, your visions, dreams, wishes….. home, possessions.
In 2010 my Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was a very traumatic experience for us all. I watched as my Mom courageously accepted her chemo as a way of life. She held her head high, smiling and being as lovely as she ever was, and she always was very lovely! Once the diagnosis of remission occurred we all celebrated. Every month that she went in to have her status checked, and they reported more remission, we were ecstatic!
These great reports continued for a good long while, then around November Mom started to complain about how bad she felt. The bad feelings grew and by Christmas she was saying that she knew something bad was happening. I just thought, that no, it couldn’t be….. She had been given a clean bill of health…..
There must come a time in one’s life that they admit to themselves that they are too old for fairy tales. Too old to not understand that life happens, times change. Well, there should be that time, but it never happens until something else happens first.
After many different doctors visits, and many visits to the emergency room…. Mom & Dad were finally told that Mom had cancer cells in her kidneys.
How could this be? There was great sadness.
I spent Spring break in Georgia with my parents. It was obvious that Mom was not feeling well. She wasn’t eating and I didn’t think Dad was either. Everyone cried so hard when I left that I felt so guilty going back to Tennessee, I thought hard about staying with my parents.
I guess I could be more detailed with dates and times, but I just can’t remember and after all in the final analysis, what does it really matter, I mean it happened! What else matters!
My family in Georgia, me in Tennessee. I had so many stories, from different people, different angles, different attitudes, hopes and realizations…. I wasn’t truly sure what to think. I decided I must go home. But, school would not be over for another month. So, I told everyone that I would go home on June 1st for a time. A time to spend with Mom, and help my sister and father. ( Yes, I thought I had all the time in the world)
I got a call from my Dad the last week of April. Mom was not benefiting from the chemo that she had taken twice after discovery of the cancer cells. The doctor was discontinuing any further treatments. She had been sent home. The doctor told Dad and my sister that hospice had been called.
“Hospice!” “NO!” OMG!
Needless to say, I went home to Georgia. As, immediately as possible.
I got home on April 29th, Mom was sitting in her recliner with a blanket that I had given her from Christmas around her body. My sister told me before I even left TN that she didn’t even look the same.
I walked over to Mother and knelt by her chair. The very first thing she said, “Becky, I’m dying.” I swallowed a sob, and said “I know, Mom.” ” I Love You, so much!” She said she loved me too. I continued to stay with her for a time. Then I went into the kitchen and made a grocery list and went to the store. When I went to the end of Mom’s chair, she said she was glad I was going to the store. That is the last lucid conversation we had.
My Mom passed away on May 4th.
I guess even as an adult, I still could not accept the inevitability of my parents mortality. I was the baby, did I mention that? Mom referred to me to the end as her baby. Well, when she talked to me she did.
The following Monday I went back to Tennessee. I went to school the next day, and it wasn’t too hard to see that wasn’t going to work. I luckily had enough vacation time left to take the last 3 weeks of school off.
At the onset of Mom’s kidney failure the one thing that I had discussed with Mom & Dad was the chance that I could come back to Georgia to be with them permanently. I had said that I thought that would be a good idea, especially since I didn’t think that Dad was taking care of himself, even though he was taking very good care of Mom. There was just a part of me that never truly thought rationally about Mother dying, just kept telling myself that it would happen later. After Mom’s passing, Dad asked me when I would come home to be with him. I packed up and moved as soon as I could. I don’t think I could live with myself if I didn’t.
As of July 1st, I am back in Georgia with Dad. I will miss everything I left behind in Tennessee, my kids, my friends. But, I am glad to be home with Dad.
I am working on setting up my studio downstairs, and as soon as that is done…. well, I’m gonna try to get back in the swing of being creative as creative as possible. I am in a bit of a slump, but I think just the act of doing will get me back in the spirit to creative expression.
Mom has a plaque hanging in the kitchen. It says, ” Life is what happens, while you are making other plans.” It is true, the only constant in life is change. And, that’s not always good changes.
disclaimer: I am terribly sorry if there are typo’s or askew’d grammar malfunctions. I wrote this mainly as therapy and so I don’t want to have to read this again. Forgive me! And Thanks for taking the time to read this.
In a previous post from October 7th I showed my progress with my very first portrait of my grandfather. Just as a beginning place, I wanted to remind you of the progress from beginning to end.
My completed piece was a much better portrait than I began with.
Since drawing has always been a passion of mine, it startles me now that I allowed myself to have such difficulty learning to draw a portrait. As a girl, they just scared me so bad, so I stuck with still life, and architecture.
Now, on to Daddy….
Oh, just as with Papa, when I began Dads portrait I miscalculated and came out with this…. (don’t judge me….)
but, I caught a deep breathe and started over…….
this is what I have so far……
I would really like to get all the kinks out before I start on Mom.
Practice, practice, practice……