Two weeks ago my mom passed away. Since I am in my early 40’s and since she had been reminding me since I was a wee young girl that “she could die today or she could die in 80 years,” I knew that day would likely come if life followed normal order. Not that I was overly morbid, but I wondered what life would look like without her. Now I know.
Her passing was fast, but slow. Less than six weeks from the start of her symptoms until her last breath. A misdiagnosis, some life-altering breathing episodes, three hospital admissions, surgery, and two weeks in hospice and she was gone.
The last month of her life was the biggest gift anyone could ask for. I had always been close to her, very close, and after losing my oldest brother last year, she had seen members of my family that she never thought she would see again.
But while she sat in that bed, declining, I watched a lifetime of emotional pain and heartache drain from her body. My brothers came, my sister-in-laws came, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, neighbors, and friends, all came to see her.
She passed on the most gorgeous day that began with remnants of an ice storm that had our city on lockdown and ended with a spring-like afternoon where birds were singing and the sun was shining. She passed at the very moment that the streets had thawed enough for me to get back to her. With the hospice nurse by her side, she drew her last breath.
Now I know what it’s like for her to be gone. I have had more therapy in my lifetime than I care to admit. I have always prided myself on my ability to communicate my emotions — or the work I have done to get there. But now that she is gone, here I sit, unable to get the emotions out; unable to give them a name. I have been able to help other people bridge their emotions, but in this moment, I am frozen by my inability to free mine.
What do I do? What should I do? I must take each day, one day at a time and accept what I feel. Maybe go back to therapy; maybe not. What I do know is these emotions have to come out and this is my first step.
Update: Since originally writing that piece, I came across an incredible piece on another site that really sums up what year one has been line. Check out 9 Things I Learned In The Year After My Mother Passed.
Miss you every single day, mom.