This morning I was emailing my sister about this and that where mom is concerned. She's on her way back from Fredricksburg, a visit with friends, and wedding planning for her daughter. As I was emailing her about mom, I was telling her how I was ready to let mom go and that I felt like it was only her body that was still here--like I'd actually lost mom several years ago. And then I remembered what it's like to walk in mom's room, see her eyes light up and recognize me, and tell me how happy she is to see me, and then she cries. She'll tell me how much she loves me and how grateful she is for everything that I do for her, and then I know. I'm NOT ready. I'm NOT ready at all. I want to hang on to her with every fiber of my being. That scrawny little person in that wheel chair is still my mom and for whatever reason, God has seen fit to give me everything I have ever wanted from her, in the last inning of her life. I want to memorize every thing. Her laugh, her smile, her eyes...even her cotton candy hair. I'm caught between "Please God, don't take her" and "Please God, take her".
God did the exact same thing with my Dad. It wasn't until the last few months before my Dad died that I finally got that emotional connection with him, I'd wanted all my life. It started one day outside by the pool in our backyard, him in his wheelchair, bald as he could be, as my sister and I tried to tell him everything we wanted him to know, before he died. Once we'd told him everything, it's like his shell cracked wide open. Out poured all the things we'd wanted him to say to us, and hadn't heard. He told me he loved me more times in that last few weeks than he'd ever told me, cumulatively, in my entire life. It's like that Tim McGraw song lyrics "we laughed harder, and loved deeper" than ever before in my life.
Today, rather than be totally sad, I'm grateful. What a gift, at the tail end of both of their lives, to get everything I always wanted and needed to hear, from both of my parents. It doesn't make it hurt any less but it sure is a gift. Mom and I settled any of our unfinished business years ago, and that's another gift. None of this would have been possible had we not made that effort and that connection. I have memories of doing things with her, especially over the last three years, that honestly make me laugh out loud. Digging her out of our family home of over 50 years, her in her nightgown some mornings, dragging a trash bag behind her. Her ordering a margarita at El Fenix last year at lunch because she wanted one, and the pure pleasure she got from drinking it. My sister and I howled. Me bringing Wiggles over to see her because she adored him, and vice versa. Him claiming his rightful spot next to her on her couch, and her other dogs growling and barking at him. When we were leaving, mom packing him up a goodie bag of fresh boiled bones to take home. I think of mom's two pugs who taught Wiggles to sit by the freezer and bark, for her to give them each a spoonful of Blue Bell, and she did.
Those are just some of the memories I'll treasure. It's fun to look back and remember, even when it wasn't all perfect. That's just life.