Time Is Short
It’s July 2019, for the past few months, I’ve known that my mom is dying.
The impact affects everyone around her.
I dread the day that I have to go to her place and walk-in. See her body laying their cold and empty.
I hope I face that day without tears but relief because the journey towards her death has ended. The terrible trouble will be what’s left in her wake. Her mother, my grandmother, whom I call Granny, will have lost a son, a daughter, and a grandson. It’s a tragedy.
I’ve been from a distance caring for her emotions. Each day she’s connected with my mom checking in and seeing if she’s alright. The worry isn’t healthy. Maybe it’s all a mother can do when their children are hurting.
Maybe I’m less than human due to a broken emotional attachment to my mother. She’s almost died twice before and at those times, I mourned her loss, thinking it was final. In the years hence, we’ve made decisions that drove us apart.
I moved forward. I turned my attention away from my family and out to the world. I have seen more, done more, my perspective is broader, and yet I still love my mom. It is different from other people.
For those of you that have parents that cared for you, looked after you, and supported you. My words may sound harsh, and I would agree, but my maternal mother hasn’t been that.
She’s been a selfish person.
From the day I left at 17, she’s picked a bottle over a relationship with me. In the last decade, her mental capability and language skills have declined. Her ability to be a mother, reason, and human seemed to decrease. Instead, she sat in front of the television, growing older, being entertained, not caring, not learning, and not really living.
I’m not naive to the fact that she has feelings or emotions. I know about them, she wanted to be loved. She wanted my attention, but the truth is that she needed to love herself first. Forgive her wrongs, mistakes, and forgive others. This she may have done, but I’m ignorant of the fact due to our distance. I hope she did.
It’s now February 2020, I’m sitting next to my mother in hospice.
She’s in her final days.
You thought you were alone.
You thought we didn’t care.
You pushed us away to do what you wanted.
Once you started to let go, we showed up again. Your family was here for you in your early days and your latter days.
“Mom, we never gave up on you.”
Thirty years ago, you were a young woman, wed to your husband. You had an 8-year-old and a newborn. As you held your baby boy if you only knew what the next 30 years would hold.
The trouble. The tears. The sorrow. The sickness.
Through the divorces, and the diagnosis.
The habit of hiding your shame by grabbing the bottle and the subtle damage to your liver. If you knew then what we know now, would you have made different choices?
If you knew the people that surrounded you on your deathbed, would you have considered your words?
There was a group of us that mourned your loss. The mood, sad but understanding.
Is there life in death?
We live like one day it won’t happen to use. That it doesn’t mean much until we can set aside everything, focus on humanity, and focus on relationships.
The death of a mother isn’t a beautiful story, but it’s genuine, honest, and deeply linked to me.
First, my brother. Now, my mother. Here I stand by your dying side. Grief strickens my bones while I look and see our family by your side. Ones that existed before me, ones that have their own emotions, struggles, and their families.
The tears on our faces, stream, and glisten while communicating our pain. Our sighs of sadness, as we glance outside to the Florida sun that shines on us in this dark time. What a contradiction. Sunny and bright as we stare death in the face.
Better to be in the house of sorrow than of joy.
Death is a sobering thought. One that connects and bonds us together. Forged stronger than steel, even when our demeanor is even keel.
Your love for butterflies will be a symbol. Your time here was as a caterpillar and the last years, your cocoon. I hope now you can spread your wings.
I love you, mom.
I share with you my journey because I hope it can bring you to realize that life is happening around you, and love comes in many forms, tough, tender, and sad.
Though my pain as a son, I hope that other sons and daughters will take the opportunity to speak up. Please communicate your struggle and your reality. I wish I knew other people with similar stories and situations to mine, handled this.
When we start sharing the real us, I believe we can discover that we aren’t that abnormal. We can realize that we silently carry these burdens with us in our day to day lives.
Finally, take time out of your day to call your family. Take the focus off of you and give it to others who need it. It’s better to give than to receive.