Moving forward but not moving on.
When my Dad passed in 2001, Mom was there to comfort me. Life had changed a bit without Dad, but things still felt somewhat normal. I eventually moved in with Mom to keep her company and to save some money.
Then, in 2008 Mom was diagnosed with cancer, and life went from her and me arguing over what to watch on TV, to me trying to convince her to eat after yet another dose of chemotherapy.
My "rock of stability" may have been sick, yet she still listened to my complaints about work and my stories about my new boyfriend. When my sisters and I found out Mom's cancer had spread, I found myself constantly trying to get the Hospice nurses and doctors to give me some sort of an answer to my need to know how much time my Mom had left. I had been the one dealing with handling Mom's doctor visits and treatments and medications and side effects; so I guess I felt finding out the answer to Mom's mortality was just another piece of information that would help me deal with how best to care for her.
But in my heart I needed to know because I needed a professional to let me know this was either not as serious as I thought, or much worse. Hearing "some people pass within weeks of being on Hospice and some go on for years" did not help my constant state of anxiety. My mind knew there was a limited amount of time left with Mom, but my heart still wasn't registering the impending count down.
Even when Mom slipped into a coma, I didn't think of the conversations we still hadn't had; like who were the people in some of the pictures in her childhood photo album, or what were the exact ingredients and measurements for her Thanksgiving stuffing and Italian Christmas cookies (a “pinch” or “handful” written on an index card is no help).
All I could think I held her hand as she lay in the hospice bed we had in our living room, was "please God, make that terrible gurgling sound stop and stop her suffering."
When Mom passed on October 1, 2011, I did what most adult children do, I went into work mode. My sisters and I began the whirlwind of making funeral arrangements, playing hostess at the funeral, and handling the business of dealing with social security, Medicare, life insurance, home insurance, closing bank accounts, and finally, sending out thank you notes to those who attended the funeral.
And now, my childhood home, where my grandparents raised their children, my parents raised us, and I cared for Mom - is now being sold. I'm still dealing with my grief from Mom's passing, and now it feels like another loss. Rationally I know that this is nothing compared to dealing with Mom's illness and passing, but I can't help these feeling like I'm no longer on solid ground. All I can think of is a quote that keep repeating in my heart "Mom taught me everything, except how to live without her."