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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Saying Good-bye

My mother and me. She was proud of my writing, no matter the genre, and encouraged me to do what I loved to do.


I can't believe March is almost here...

    I haven't written a word since well before Thanksgiving. As most of you know, my mother had been in failing health for some time, and I expressed how deeply the fact bothered me. Alzheimer's is a cruel disease, much like all others, but the deterioration of the mind is so terrible that it is hard to put it into words. My mother was my best friend, my everything. Watching her slowly drift away before my eyes has been devastating. I knew all along that she wouldn't have wanted to be like that or end up that way, because she was such an independent person, a person full of life who could brighten a day with a smile.

    I've been mourning for well over two years now. Watching my mother forget how to do the most simple of tasks has been awful. Worry and grief took over my day to day existence. Being separated by miles only furthered my pain. Memories constantly plagued me daily and without regard. If I dropped my kids off at school and was driving home, I'd think, once upon a time I'd be calling my mom to say good morning. Then it would remind me of the state she was in, only randomly with the knowledge of who she was, having momentary,and often fleeting memories of her family.

    With every trip home to see her I could see an enormous change and decline in her. Each visit became harder than the previous. I was helpless to help her and I think that's what hurt the most. To know a soul that was once full of life become helpless is a pain that I can't even describe. Toss out dignity and pride, the two most important traits she had, and I was swimming in a miserable soup of depression.

    I can't lie, it consumed me, consumed me to the point I was just living. I wasn't trying hard at anything. I just continued on, did what I had to do, what I needed to do, and nothing more. My imagination took a vacation, my desire to write or accomplish anything just sort of got put on pause. I truly hate feeling helpless. Worse, I hate not being able to help those I love.

    Like I said, my day to day life became routine, overshadowed by an overwhelming amount of sadness. I have been in the middle of a never-ending chapter and haven't been able to continue on until that chapter was complete.

    To be honest, it took seeing my mother in a state that I would never wish on anyone. It took me putting aside my selfishness to say good-bye. I wasn't ready, none of us are, but I wanted peace for her. I wanted her to be free from it all, because I know she wanted to be free from the pain and misery of it. Watching her decline to nothing more than a shell of a person hurt, but not as much as knowing she was enduring it, and without the ability to change it. I've had to put aside my anger, an anger that has simmered for nearly three years. The injustice of Alzheimer's is horrible, despicable! I couldn't put that torch down, but it was useless.

    When I was able to make amends and accept that this was her time and her burden to carry, I was able to say good-bye, and hope that the end was peaceful and without pain. My mother said so long this cruel world February 21st. Although painful for me, I know she was more than ready to go. She is now free of the disease, of her worn out body, and of all the other misery that came with it.

    I'm sad, because I'm a selfish bitch and I just want my mother here, but I couldn't ever have her back the way she was, the way I needed and wanted her to be. She was done with this world and all that it had to offer. My tears are only selfish, but the relief, and finality of it all has brought some peace. She is not here to endure one more day of the hell she was given. No more indignity. See, the worst part of it all for me was wondering if during her coherent moments she suffered because she realized the terrible shape she was in. When your mother tells you many years previous, "If I get to where I can't do or take care of myself, do me a favor, push my wheelchair down the on-ramp of a freeway.", you sort of know she doesn't want to live that way. My mother did not.

    Now that I've said my good-bye, I'm coping, knowing I'm selfish because I miss her, but I'm ready to begin anew, because I can almost hear her saying, "Don't cry for me." She would want me to. She would want me to continue to reach for the stars, no matter how distant they seemed.

And here it is, my first piece of writing in months. The days are getting longer and the sun is shining bright. I'm turning the page of one hell of a chapter, and beginning a new one.