Monday, January 21, 2013
I slept so hard again. Hours and hours and hours of it and I still feel half asleep. I dreamed I was on some small island and the whole thing seemed to be one street of commerce, the beach hidden from view and I rode a bicycle from shop to shop and wondered why I had wanted to visit there.
It did not, believe me, look like Cozumel.
Mr. Moon and my brothers were going to attend to Mother's business today but then they realized that today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day and so banks and offices are closed. So much for that plan.
It is beautiful and sunny and cool and tomorrow night it's supposed to get down in the twenties and I'll have to cover up the plants outside and today I need to water them. They are thirsty.
I drink coffee and I think about Owen and how you can be playing with him for four hours and he'll look at you and say, "What you want to do today?" as if you've just met up that very moment and are making your plans.
What you want to do today?
I don't know. Lay flat on the ground and think/not think. Feel/not feel. Boy I tell you what- I am going through the emotions like a hot knife through butter. Today is one week from the last time I saw my mother alive and conscious. I wrote about it and started out with these words: The visit with my mother did not go well. They so rarely do but this was on the horrible scale.
So of course I am thinking of that and how after an hour and a half I had to get out of there, had to flee, left her behind with that chugging oxygen machine, her nausea, her litany of complaints. She actually said this to me that day: "I am ready to die. Not that I think I'm going to see Jesus walk around the corner or anything."
Yay, Mom! No deathbed comings-to-Jesus for you!
But. Do I wish I could go back and make my words sweeter that day? Make my touch more comforting? Give more reassurance?
No. Not really. Can't see as how I could have changed much. I keep thinking that I should be feeling...something. What? Softer? More regret? Maybe. Not going to happen, I don't think. The grief and regret I may have is centered on two things.
One, the way she died which was one last example of my inability to make my mother happy in that her greatest fear was that she would die and be "brought back" which is exactly what happened and no, it's not my damn fault that her DNR form wasn't in her paperwork right there but I should have made sure it was. I just so strongly assumed it was, having spoken to every nurse in the joint about it and how she was ready to die and yes, was a DNR. I had TOLD them that and they understood. I could comfort myself and say that she was unconscious when they coded her but the nurse told me in that scrambled mess of phone calls at the very end that she had regained consciousness before the EMT's took her to the hospital so I can't believe that. If she WAS conscious when they were coding her she was pissed and it probably hurt like hell.
So. Yes. That makes me feel sick and horrible. We have spoken to the powers-that-be at the assisted living and they have already changed their protocol for the handling of DNR forms because of what happened but that doesn't help my mother one bit. And I'm not sure I'll ever get over that one.
Secondly, I grieve because I never did have the mother I wanted and needed. I don't know whether it was something that happened to her in her childhood or whether it was because the years in which I was young were so traumatic to her due to my father and the circumstances of that time or because I just wasn't the child she knew how to mother. I do not know.
But I do know I was a good little girl. I do know I loved my mother desperately.
And I do actually know when that love evolved into something far more jaded and realistic.
I keep going through her jewelry and thinking that there will be something that I'll find that I'll want to keep and wear but there just isn't. Anything that my stepfather gave her is immediately rejected. Okay, there is one pair of earrings that I gave her that I like and quite frankly, I don't remember that she ever wore them. I'd love my grandmother's pearls but I can't find them. I found my grandmother's slender wedding band and yes, I am wearing that and maybe Jessie would like it as a wedding band. I don't know. It just seems so damn sad that a daughter doesn't want one piece of her mother's jewelry after she dies. I mean, isn't that the way it should be? Instead, I just want these things out of here. I want the newspaper clippings out, I want the jewelry out, I don't even want the pictures.
When she moved into the assisted living we had to get rid of all the household items and so what we've got left here is just a few pieces of furniture and her clothes and the personal items. The concentrated remains of things, I guess.
The clothes are gone. Most of the furniture is back at her old house which we still haven't sold, and the personal items that no one else wanted are here. And I wish they weren't.
God. Mother's and my relationship was so odd. I moved away at a young age but then when Glen and I had been married for six years, his mother died and his father and my mother married and she moved here. He died shortly after and she stayed in Tallahassee. It was just so...weird. Suddenly my beloved father-in-law was my stepfather and my husband was my...stepbrother?
All I could think was, Will the incest never end?
And yet, when Glen's daddy died, I was sorrowful for her. What a terrible thing- she'd finally found and married a good man and then he died. My mother did not get the good breaks.
It's all so complicated and thus, my thoughts are complicated and my emotions are swooping and diving and whirling. No wonder I can't do more than one thing at a time. No wonder that when my husband couldn't find any clean socks this morning and we were out of milk that I cried. No wonder I don't want any of my mother's jewelry.
Well, I have said that I am not going to censure my feelings. As if I could. There is such a Hollywood-induced temptation to believe that I should now only feel and remember good things about my mother. To let all of the negative go. I think I'd have to be a zombie of some sort to do that.
And on top of everything else, there is just the plain fact that one somehow never believes that one's mother will die. Even if she has been telling you she wants to for most of your life. And yet, she did die and I was there when she took her last breath, my hand on her head, my other hand holding hers.
Which is a profound experience, no matter what. I think I was, on some level, completely aware that her time had come even though the nurses seemed to think that if we just got her pain meds figured out and her nausea figured out, she'd get better.
My gut knew the truth. Maybe because I am her daughter.
No matter what, I am indeed her daughter.
I think I'll go do the laundry. I think I'll go water the plants. I think I'll go put all of Mother's things in one place that I don't have to look at then every time I walk through the house. I want the comfort of my old funky junk, my gathered treasures, my camellias and madonnas and mermaids. And then watch our president get sworn in again which is something that I know my mother would have loved seeing.
It's complicated. And that's not just a movie title or a Facebook status. It's just the fucking truth.