Except, at Thanksgiving this year, everything changed. On the Monday of Thanksgiving week, I lost my mother. I know many of you have also been through this, so my experience is not unique. It was not unexpected, in that she had a chronic form of leukemia for eight years, that almost always ends in death, eventually. Except that it was a huge shock. We didn’t really see it coming. She had hopes for a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant in January, and then, all of a sudden, in November, she went downhill fast. She had gone into the hospital on November 20, a Friday, complaining of shortness of breath. On Monday, she was gone, and that was It.
Nobody tells you about all of the things that must be done when someone dies. There is no way to prepare yourself for the plans that must be made, the accounts and subscriptions that must be cancelled, and the piles and piles of things that must be gone through, to unearth the special memories, photographs, and mementos of a very full life. Nobody tells you that while people can, for the most part, empathize with what you’re feeling, they can’t really feel it with you, and don’t understand. Nobody tells you that this is when you figure out who your real friends are, and how many whom you thought were your friends, are miles away because they can’t stand your grief. No one can really explain what a lonely, awful process grieving is.
And yet, this is where I find myself now, with Christmas coming. I am looking forward to seeing family again, even though the one person I want to see most right now is the one missing. I am sure there will be laughter, and some good memories about this year, but I am also preparing myself for tension and sadness. It’s just that it’s so soon, and none of us have really figured this grieving thing out yet. We’re all in the throes of it, all lost, together, trying to figure out how to have Christmas without the one person who was at the center of it all for our family.
I will miss hearing her laugh at and with her grandchildren. I will miss all of the silly names she had for everyone, and I will even miss the ugly nightgown I won’t be getting this year. (Thanks, Mom; I actually have a drawer full of them to last me a lifetime.) Someday, in another post, I hope I can happily tell you what a wonderfully, zany person she was and what I learned from her. Today is not that day, though, and I hope you will bear with me.
In fact, I’m not quite sure, in the end, what I’m going to do with this blog. The fact that I’ve been so long without it maybe means that I can do without it. Then again, something urged me to write this today, so maybe the jury’s still out. I’ll see you again, in this space, before I make a final decision. If you find this after such a long disappearance on my part, thank you for reading.
Until then, whenever that is…