So this wasn’t the best Christmas

My mother is dying.

If I needed further evidence of this, I need look no further than the photo of my grandfather’s last birthday. Mom looks so much like him in that photo. Only he was 10 years older than she is. It’s so unfair.

My mother is dying, and she knows it, and she is saying goodbye to the world. This fall brought her abundant birthday wishes, beautiful weather, vibrant leaves. We had a wonderful family photo session, and the photographer captured memories we will cherish for years to come. She has spent this holiday season immersed in wonderful memories from our past. Me as a child. Family gatherings large and small. During a recent visit, we went through all of her photo albums and she told stories about her childhood. Pointed out photos of me and Dad she particularly loves. She wants me to have the stories because she is the last to remember many of them. Some she has already forgotten.

I am glad she is remembering the good times. All I can think about are the bad ones. The Christmases I refused to spend with them as a teen because I was angry about the move. The times she wanted to hang out with me and I was too busy. The wasted time. So much of it.

She is as peaceful as one can be about it all. I…am not.

I am beyond burning the candle at both ends — at this point, I am basically a flaming ball of wax. That cup I am supposed to fill before I fill everyone else’s? I don’t even have one anymore. Every time I think I can’t possibly take on one more thing, life throws something at me I am unable to turn down. This is the place from which I am attempting to cope with my mother’s decline.

The logical thing would be to spend as much time with her as possible. We have the opportunity: She is close by. I work flexible hours, all remote. But there’s this pandemic. This disease that many people are treating as a joke. A disease that would assuredly kill my mother, probably in a matter of days.

So I am the virus patrol. We go almost nowhere. We mask, distance, sanitize. I have denied my children trips to parks, to stores, to restaurants, to parties. We have passed up parades and tree lightings and trunk-or-treats and playdates with friends. And they have coped with my haphazard homeschooling efforts for two years now. We are both closer than ever and weary of each other’s company.

I am growing extremely resentful of people who do not take precautions against the virus. It’s gone from exasperation to a white-hot rage. Perhaps they do not deserve this anger, but it’s got to go somewhere or I will burn alive.

Today at the garden, my son yelled out to a group of unmasked people: “You there! You just go the other way! You aren’t wearing masks!” And I realized that this tension I feel is filtering down to my kids. I hate hearing that part of me come out in their sweet little voices.

I am in the middle of my first vacation all year. I took last week and this week off both jobs. (Still freelancing. I mean, this is me. But I don’t have a bedtime right now.) I had hoped to spend time with Mom — playing games, putting together puzzles, baking, listening to her tell stories.

Only it looks like the kids and I are sick now.

I am just so damn tired.

13 thoughts on “So this wasn’t the best Christmas

  1. I’m sending you love and understanding. Although I lost my mother quite differently- it was very sudden and unexpected- and there was no pandemic involved, I can relate to so much of what you are saying here. Especially the guilt for all the time I wasted being difficult. I feel even guiltily when I observe or read about someone else not being a perfect daughter because it makes me feel so not alone. I wish there was more I could do to help, other than send words of encouragement and to keep you in my prayers; but if there is, I’m clueless. Please reach out and let me know if there is anything. Sending ((((((HUGS)))))) from Kansas.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can relate. I lost my mom last Fall. It was so hard. You are doing all the right things! Spending that time with her is the most important thing you can be doing right now. Hope you and your kids are well soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t find the words to console you. It’s so hard losing a parent, and this pandemic and its associated separations make it even worse. I am thinking of you, your children, your mother and your father. I share your rage of the people that do not take the simplest precautions to stop the spread.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds exhausting Nicole. And I do remember when my mother was terminally ill – I didn’t look after myself and eventually fell over. You sound as though you’re at breaking point, sending you best wishes and please try to take some time just to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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