Whoo boy, has it been a while since I posted. My last post went up the day before my daughter’s 11th birthday, and now she is on the downhill slide to 12. She wears larger shoes and rings than I do. My son, who will be 8 next week, is catching up to us both faster than I care to admit.
Last time I posted, my parents were still living in the same little house they bought in my teens. Now my father is in long-term care relearning how to walk since his stroke and my mother is gone.
Things started to go sideways in September, when my parents contracted COVID. We thought when they both recovered that we could breathe easier. We’d been told over and over that COVID would kill Mom, but she lived. Dad was over it in mere days. What unbelievable luck.
Mom was in the hospital for a couple of weeks in late November, but she recovered. Dad had a stroke the day after she returned home. While our focus was on him, she grew weaker and weaker; she eventually ended up in the hospital once more. But we were still caught off guard when the ICU nurses told us that it was time to shift to palliative care. Four days later, she was just gone.
Now I am recovering from COVID (which we contracted the day after Mom passed, so that was a fun week) and readjusting to this new normal, which involves being my dad’s legal proxy and sole support system, crying in the shower almost daily, and navigating the strange waters of being a suddenly motherless daughter.
This normal sucks.
When people ask, I tell them she passed after a long illness, which is absolutely true and also fails to capture the abruptness of it. She was so alert, so clear, right up to the very end. She barely had time to register that she was dying. I, on the other hand, have time in spades.
Having Dad in a facility and Mom on my couch was hard on all of us, but we loved having her here. It was heartbreaking to bring her home to die, but I wouldn’t trade our last late-night conversation for anything. We used to have long, late-night talks when I was a teen and young adult, and I am so grateful we got one more.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to talk to her about this. I’m so lost.
So now you know why I’ve not been blogging. I’ve been posting in my old LiveJournal instead. I don’t have time or money for therapy, so venting in an online journal everyone stopped using over a decade ago will have to do. And I’m chewing my way through boxes of this Turkish gum — I found it through a Google search for nicotine gum sans nicotine. It has no flavoring or coloring, and is small like Nicorette. It’s missing that kick of nicotine, of course, but I can pretend. I’ve already broken a filling, and will probably end up with a Zac Efron jawline before this is all said and done, but it’s helping me keep myself together. I’ve found it’s really hard to cry while you’re chewing gum.
Mom would want me to keep going, so I’m trying my hardest to do that. She would not want me to get stuck in my grief. She told me over and over in those final days that I was the best thing that ever happened to her, and as a mother I feel that. As a daughter, I am thinking ahead to what my own kids will go through when I am gone. I am even more determined to make sure they have a happy childhood and a solid relationship. Some day all too soon, all they’ll have left are their memories and each other.
It’s just not enough time. Just a handful of decades, if we’re lucky. Some of them feel long, but none of them ever are.