Sunday, May 19, 2013

2 months

2 months has gone by since I talked to my mom. 2 months since I called her on the way to Target. 2 months since I worried about her cancer. 2 months since she badgered me to send a picture of Owen. 2 months. 2 months that have been the longest, shortest months of my life.

One of the things I loved about my mom was that she always bought all the magazines- ALL the magazines- and she saved them for me. Magazines are something I rarely got to splurge on when Ryan was in PA school so I always looked forward to the stack she saved me. I miss her- and her magazines.

This last week I splurged on a People and in it was an article about a mom who lost all three of her girls in a tragic car wreck. She had written a book about her loss- and her girls. She talked about how terribly hard it was to write- how hard it was to remember. She said she did it because she wanted people to know them. She wanted people to know their life and for them to be remembered.

A thing that scares me the most is that Owen won't remember. He won't remember how he was the light of her world, how she wanted him to love the Rangers, Cowboys, and Mavericks more than most things, how she sang 'My Only Sunshine" to him as she rocked him. He won't remember- and it kills me.

I realized as I read that article that even though it hurts me to talk, write, and remember. I have to. I have to so that he will know her.

I felt this way about her funeral too. I didn't want it to be a generic funeral. I wanted it to be her funeral. I wanted people to know her. This is the letter I wrote that was read.

Dear Mom-
One of our last conversations, you told me you regretted not ever going to back to college to be a teacher, but as I reflect back on your life. I realize just how much of a teacher you were. Over the years, you taught me a lot of things, things that you realized and things you didn’t. I’ll probably never be able to recount all the things you taught me, but a few do stick out.

You taught me how to be brave. Over the past two years, I held your hand through numerous surgeries, procedures, blood draws, and scary talks with doctors. As I think back on those times, I think you held my hand more for my benefit than your own. You faced so much with such a courageous spirit, it made all of us brave too. 

You taught me how to find humor in situations, and that its ok to laugh through the tears. We had a lot of smiles and laughs during the hardest times, and most were jokes you made at your own expense. Your “cancer jokes” were just another way you took care of us.
You taught me how to make a bed- the right way. I didn’t appreciate this until much later in life, and I’m hoping one day Ryan might learn too. 

You taught me how to be selfless. Over the years, I have witnessed you help so many people, and there’s likely many I didn’t witness. It’s not that you helped that sticks with me now- it’s how you helped. You helped immediately- without weighing the options for yourself first. You just helped. No questions, no thoughts of yourself- just helped.

You taught me to love to read. My whole life, you told me of the great adventures in books. You taught me to appreciate the ’smell’ of a good book and the joy of a library. Oddly enough, the only 5 minutes of the day Owen sits still is while looking at books and it makes my heart smile that maybe he got this from you.

You taught me you don’t have to be on the birth certificate to be a mom to someone. Anyone, who walked through that door, you loved as your own. I complain a lot about being an only child, but the truth is that you were a mom to many.

You taught me how to love without abandon. When you loved someone or something – you loved fully. You loved without expectations.

Mostly, you taught me how to be faithful. I watched as you were so faithful to people, even when sometimes it wasn’t reciprocated. You were faithful to your word and someone on whom countless people could depend. You were a faithful employee for 18 years. You were a faithful wife for almost 30 years. You were even faithful to the Cowboys, Rangers, and Mavericks though they failed you often. Most importantly, you were faithful to God when He let you walk such a tough road.  You were faithful during the marathon chemos, the sickness, and the fear. You even remained faithful when you knew He was taking you too soon, and encouraged everyone else to as well.

These lessons, although no substitute for the teacher, will be my guide as I try to walk out the last thing you taught me- how to deal with the loss of my mom. You walked this road before me, and knew how hard it would be. So you knew your last lesson for me had to be to take it-one day at a time. Every one of those days will be spent loving and missing you, and hopefully teaching Owen some too. 

Even though writing it was terribly hard, people left knowing her better. I want that for Owen too- and for her. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Writing

Tonight I looked back on this blog. I looked back to get information for the baby book I am just now filling out for my 16 month old son. (Slacker mom of the year, I know) I looked back to be reminded of his happy moments, milestones, and pictures. ( The whole 2 months I recorded.) I looked back for joy, and instead was slapped in the face by my anguish.

The last blog I wrote was on anguish and joy. I wrote it during what I thought were some of my hardest days- days of uncertainty and fear.  I wrote it on January 25th, and less than 2 months later- I lost my mom.

Writing has always been somewhat cathartic for me. I'm not someone who can write well or even correctly. I'm also not someone who can write off the top of my head. The last time I wrote in this blog, a friend sent me a text about it and my response was that I apparently can only write while in super emotional states.

To say that I am in a super emotional state right now would be the understatement on the year. To say that I am wrecked- a mess would be almost close to covering it. So it would make sense that writing should bring me some sort of peace or calm, but instead I have avoided writing like the plague. (Its even one of my assignments for my grief counseling- whoops!)

I have avoided it for all kinds of reasons like- fear of being judged. Grief is this funny tightrope. I spend half of my time worrying that if I am a crying mess, I will alienate those closest to me and people will tire of my dramatics, and the other half worrying that if I smile or laugh too much people will wonder how I could forget so soon. I know this is all crazy, but so is grief.

 I think another reason is because the state I am is so personal and vulnerable and messy. To be honest, another reason is blogger drives me nuts.

But I think the main reason is because it hurts.

I hurt. My heart hurts, and writing about how much I hurt- hurts.

But I'm slowly learning, that avoiding the hurt doesn't make it go away.