I Lost My Beautiful Mother - So Confused Now
Hello, I just found this site, as I have been searching for answers since my mother died very suddenly and unexpectedly on October 28. That means five months ago and a handful of days. She was old enough to be ill and had had friends who had passed from illness already. So one might think I would have been unsurprised by this. But she was a very youthful 81 years old, so much so that I couldn't believe she had turned eighty. She had no health problems that she or we knew of, other than that she would tire more easily than she used to. I attributed that to her age. What she refused to do, unless there was something she had terribly wrong, was go to a doctor for a regular check up.
The way she died has felt to me like it was actually an accident. She didn't mean to trip into heaven. She had one full fatal heart attack in the kitchen of her home, after returning from doing errands with my father. He was waiting out in the car for her to come assist him to come into the house, as he was the one with the health issues and had a walker. But he liked to sit and read in the car after arriving home, and their routine was that she would head inside and then return after a short bit. He said she came out earlier than usual and took the library book she had just renewed for him out of his hands and said that she wanted him to come in now. She then went back inside carrying the bags and book. He waited for her for a while and finally made his way into the house himself. And a few minutes later, he realized that she was there on the floor of the kitchen, unresponsive.
I have one sibling, who is twelve years younger. Because my sister has a disability that can affect her sometimes, my parents did a lot for her and she tends to be very passive and waits for direction. The shock of my mother leaving has just immobilized me so much that I have spent my time addressing practical issues, instead of memorializing her. I was extremely close to her and we laughed about the absurdities of life on the phone almost every day. She brightened every occasion and was one of those people with the wonderful loud laugh and the wonderful expressive face who held the family together by her mere wonderful passionate presence and responsiveness. None of us left have this. Our gatherings are forever changed. The shock of her leaving has hurt so much that I couldn't even look at her picture for a long time. My friends seemed to retreat immediately and not talk to me about how I might feel. My father immediately had to move in with me, my husband and my two older children who live at our home. He was still needing assistance from having been in a rehab facility months before. He then had a health problem in December and I needed to rush to learn about skilled nursing homes and assisted living, since we are unable to accommodate him for what he needs at our house any more. I see him now every other day, as I found a facility very close to us. All this took up the days and months after my mother left us. The days connected, like on long day.
I am now taking care of his finances and now dismantling their home of 49 years. Suddenly I am going through my mother's treasured things and mementos. Taking them from special spots where she stored them so neatly and disrupting these things from where she put them. I try to honor each little thing she cared for so much. I also have all of his possessions to sort through and then the whole scene of the house that represented her - her beautiful living room, her paintings, her life - all there now just in the form of things - and she is not. And all of his things he cares about and hoarded. And all of his mother's things that he brought after his own mother died. But I treasure my mother's things the most. I don't want their fragrance to disappear. I hold them all close to me.
But there is one task I haven't been able to make myself do and I hope someone can understand this. But I fear it's considered awful. I wasn't able to make myself write her obituary. And I postponed her memorial service until the spring. First the memorial service was postponed so that all my three children could be there. Now I have a new date for the month in early summer that's close to her birthday. I bought beautiful photo albums for the purpose months ago. I bought a special pen for memorial service invitations months ago. (I had one planned for December and had announcements printed, but had to cancel it, as it was just too much with Christmas and a hospital stint for my father). I am almost feeling ready to start filling the books and planning now. But I am very worried about how to now go about writing an obituary and getting the newspaper to publish it so many months later. Most all of her friends and family have been told and sent cards and notes long ago. But she deserves a true obituary that can be traced someday by her descendants. Could someone advise me how I can still get a newspaper to publish one? Has anyone else found themselves the responsible one for writing it and then ended up postponing the obituary and still being able to make one? My mother had asked to be cremated, so there was no burial. Her ashes are tucked into a special little trunk we keep in her favorite room in my house. I adored her. I still can't believe I am writing about her in the past tense. I adore her. Can anyone relate to my procrastinated obituary concern and offer advice or experience? If people are permitted to comment on this, I would greatly appreciate it.
I am so grateful for this sweet kind site for those of us who have lost their mothers to post. I write from the perspective of someone who probably should be grateful that my mother lived a long life and didn't suffer a long illness. But the grief of losing a mother is a very deep, very confusing and life altering thing, no matter how old you are. To anyone reading this, I am so sorry you have also been going through this. And thank you for reading.