March 10th was my mom’s birthday. It was also, one year ago, the last day that I talked to her. Not long after, I can’t remember the date exactly, I got the call that she was gone. Thus began a very steep downward spiral for me.
If you’re looking for a beautiful – I miss my mom – kind of post, then you should stop reading now. This one isn’t it. It’s far from it, actually.
I guess I could start with the good.
When I was younger, my mom was a brilliant nurse. She was so smart. People admired her. I admired her. As cliche as it sounds, she is the reason that I have always wanted to be a nurse.
Cardiac was her favorite. She could spout off information about your heart like she was saying the alphabet. It was natural to her.
It’s ironic, really. Medically, she could fix your heart. As a mom….well….it was just the opposite.
I chose, at seven years old, to live with my grandparents (yet another story, for another time).
Throughout my life, I sought her….her love, her approval, her attention.
I was thirty years old when I finally chose to stop. My kids were seven. SEVEN!
God, I was tired. And angry. And….did I mention TIRED?! Who does that? Who chases something for that long without ever even reaching a point where you can imagine catching it? Who gives away that much of their happiness? That much of their life?
I had a heart the size of the universe….and a brain like a grain of sand.
A few years back, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It had spread to her lung and her bones. She was miserable. She had so much pain.
She had a mass on the outside of her breast that had been there for years. She had never told anyone about it….because she was scared that it was cancer.
After her diagnosis and release from the hospital, she came home with me. She lived with me through her treatments. I, and my husband at the time, took her to doctors appointments, chemo, radiation, scans….we took care of her.
She was, probably, the healthiest and happiest she had been in years. She laughed and smiled. She functioned in a family. She thrived in ways that I had never seen her thrive before.
She hugged me.
I know someone is making that – What the hell???? – face….but it was one of very few times in my life that it happened. And, I guess that’s when I knew. It was so awkward. I didn’t want to hug her. I didn’t know exactly what the hell I was supposed to do. It was like hugging some random stranger on the street. Someone I had never met before. Someone I had pity for.
Although I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life, at some point, I had become the stronger one. This person that I had spent so much of my life giving power to was so small. The one that I had always thought that I needed, now needed me. It was a pivotal moment, really. It’s when you ask yourself….Do I be me? Or do I be her?
I chose me.
And so began this transcendence.
Things didn’t end bad. I don’t have some fairy tale to tell. Our last conversation was good. Maybe the best one we’d ever had. She was afraid she was going to die. I helped ease that fear. She laughed. We talked for hours. She called me”baby”.
For so much anger and turmoil, we ended on a good note. The best one we could.
For the most part, I don’t even miss her.
For the most part, I really don’t even think about her in everyday life.
Until now….the last couple of days….and just like old times, when you were here and could call or I would see you at work….
I’m tired….and angry….and, did mention?….tired….