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It’s Been Three Years…

Posted Jan 23 2012 11:27am

It’s January 23rd. Again. One more year has passed since Mom left. Another year of learning what it means to cope, to grieve, to thrive and to live. With each day that passes, the rawness of what has occurred dulls, but the pain never fully goes away.

It’s January 23rd! That means All Things Caregiver is officially one year old. I didn’t quite achieve my goal of posting one heartfelt, sincere and well thought-out post per week, but I came close. There were weeks when “life” won and the time slipped away from me, or (to be totally honest) I was in a funk and felt totally uninspired. The writing has been cathartic, and I thank those of you who take the time to read my ramblings. It means more to me than you know.

So what does it mean to have lived three years without my mom? I don’t know much, but what I do know is that time flies by faster than the speed of light; it flies by at the speed of life. If you had asked me four years ago how I believed I would cope with my mother’s death, I wouldn’t have an answer for you. There is no answer. You don’t know until you have lived it. It’s like asking a preschooler to explain the physics of a black hole. No one truly understands a black hole. Those who study black holes have theories and make do, while a preschooler (probably) cannot even begin to imagine the basics of physics, let alone the physics of a black hole. If anything, I probably would have told you “I will die the day she dies. I will not be able to continue my life. It is unfathomable. Period.”

Although a piece of me did die that day, most of me is alive and well. The mind is a powerful being and has an amazing way of protecting itself…from itself. I am always happy to share my experiences with others, in hopes of helping ease their situation. In my particular instance, in the days after my mom’s passing, her memory quickly disappeared from my memory. I couldn’t remember the sound of her voice, what she smelled like, or even picture her face. Yes, I was in “go-mode,” trying to make final arrangements; I had a house closing in escrow, and I wanted more than anything to get the heck out of Chico, out of California and out of the country. I would have flown to Pluto had it been an option. In the months that followed, as I came to terms with what had happened, her memory slowly started coming back. I carried pictures of her in my diary, and looked at them daily. I cried often and tried to talk about her to anyone who was willing to listen.

Having an amazing support system has been the number one key to my successful recovery. I am, hands down, the luckiest girl in the world. I have the coolest dad on the planet, a thoughtful brother, the most patient boyfriend (someone should give him a medal, ‘cause I am not easy), clients who come in for their “hour off” who are genuinely concerned about me, aunts that still include me in “girl’s weekend” and friends that call or send cards “just because.” I had a mom who loved life, loved her family, loved music and left a legacy I am honored to carry on.

I remember moments after she passed away; we were all at a loss of what to do next. I had confirmed there was no pulse. My brother noted the time; 8:27am. My aunt, dad, brother and I all hugged each other and we stared at my mom’s lifeless, smiling body. She had gone relatively peacefully and she was smiling. In that moment, I remember not fearing death.

My dad walked to the living room and turned on Eric Clapton. My mom l-o-v-e-d Eric Clapton; more than any sane individual should love a rock star (excuse me, Rock God!) I remember hearing Layla play and how comforting the song was. I don’t remember any other tunes, until Motherless Children began playing. Instantly I was upset and the waterworks started again. I was almost frantic to stop the lyrics from pouring out of the speakers:

Motherless children have a hard time when mother is dead, lord.
Motherless children have a hard time when mother is dead, lord.
They don’t have anywhere to go;
Wandering around from door to door.
Nobody treats you like a mother will when your mother is dead, lord.

Father will do the best he can when your mother is dead, lord.
Father will do the best he can when your mother is dead, lord.
Father will do the best he can;
So many things a father can’t understand.
Nobody treats you like a mother will when your mother is dead, lord.

Sister will do the best she can when your mother is dead, lord.
Sister will do the best she can when your mother is dead, lord.
Sister will do the best she can;
So many things a sister can’t understand.
Nobody treats you like a mother will when your mother is dead.

When your mother is dead, when your mother is dead.
When your mother is dead, Lord, when your mother is dead.

 My aunt quickly pulled me away from the stereo set-up (which was the correct move, because I may have broken it to make it stop), looked me straight in the eyes and said “YOU are NOT a motherless child.”

She was 100% correct; I am not a motherless child. Every time I find myself in a self-pitty-party, moping about missing my mom, I hear my aunts words, “you are not a motherless child.” However, the song is correct about a few things:

Father will do the best he can; So many things a father can’t understand. Nobody treats you like a mother will, when mother is dead, lord.

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