missing mom

My mom’s dog Ellie on her perch keeping watch

For many months now my family has been struggling to understand why my seventy-four-year-old mother was so sick and what we could do to help make her better. She has a somewhat rare form of COPD called bronchietasis, the cause of this illness is not well understood and unfortunately the treatment for it has been limited and unsuccessful. For quite some time we have been walking that heartrending line that those with serious illness and their families must walk, that difficult path where hope and acceptance meet and retreat then meet again. My mother has grown weary of the dance. She has stepped over to acceptance and she is asking us to do the same and so we are going to begin hospice care.

I sit and talk with her about her death now. She wants to know how long it will take. I tell her I don’t know but we will do everything we can to keep her comfortable. She says there are things she wanted to do, get organized. I tell her that she is still here and we can still do them. She says she wanted to write each of her children a goodbye letter. I tell her that she can dictate the words and I’ll write them down for her. She says she wanted to clean out the desk and throw away old bills. I reassure her that my dad will take care of that. She told me that her little dog Ellie is going to miss her and I said, “Yes, you’re right mom, she really is going to miss you.”

I could add a few words of wisdom about now, something about it all being okay because it’s the natural cycle of life, or she’s crossing over to a better place, or she’s had a good long life. And sometimes that is how I feel. But the truth is, most of the time it’s not okay. My mom is dying and any way you look at it…it is simply unacceptable.

*I wrote this post the day before my mother passed away. It’s been two months now and I just came across it while cleaning up my draft files on WordPress. This Saturday we are having a big open house in honor of my mom and I really do look forward to seeing family and old friends we don’t often get to see anymore. I’m still searching for those words of wisdom that will make everthing okay, but the thing is I want to lay my head down on my mother’s lap, feel her stroke my hair gently, and hear them from her.

11 thoughts on “missing mom

  1. When I am sick I still want my grandmother…

    And these days as I prepare for the coming holidays it all seems so hallow and nothing anyone can say will make it any better. I will never understand any of it…

    But I do know that this earth is not our home. We are all strangers in a strange land and what happens on this side will never make complete sense. Its not meant to, its an earthly occurance and we are spiritual beings.

    My heart will be with you and your family through the holidays –

  2. I couldn’t comment earlier b/c I was sobbing. Guess I’m missing my family more this holiday season than I thought I was.

    I hope you do enjoy this weekend with your loved ones! …sending a big Thanksgiving hug your way!

  3. i do understand what you were saying–sometimes it feels like we could just wrap up the pain and put it somewhere else away from us if we could only come up with the right words. But sometimes only The Missing comes. And that’s what’s right for that moment.

  4. “My mom is dying and any way you look at it…it is simply unacceptable.”

    This was a very moving post. I’m just beginning to come to terms with the same thing regarding my mother.

    *Hugs* and I hope the open house in honor of your mom brings you some comfort and peace.

  5. Just chanced upon your blog..
    I lost my mother to cancer a year and a half back and you are so right..it is completely unacceptable..was then and will always be. I am still searching for words of wisdom too and do you know, there simply are none. You just want her back, nothing else will do.

  6. I understand how you feel. I too had to deal with my parents’ illness. We have no hospice where my parents lived and my father had 24-hour nursing care for three years at home. My sister and I both took time off from our nursing jobs and cared for our mother during the last three weeks of her life. She died in our arms, she knew she was loved. In the end, I think that’s what matter the most. Blessings to you and may your mother find peace and comfort.

  7. This made me cry. I don’t know how I am going to cope when the time comes for my parents to leave this world.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Your writing is lovely.

    Happy New Year!

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