Saturday, March 4, 2017

My New Reality



It's a funny thing about Moms. You don't have a first memory of them. They've just always been there. Then they're not, and the shape of your world is forever changed.

These past days I've been trying to get used to the idea of a world without my mother in it. Since she's been with me for almost 62 years, and only gone for a little more than a week, I'm expecting this to take some time before it feels at all normal.

The past several years with her were a real struggle, and the last few months were exhausting - for her and for me. She was living in a state of constant confusion and anxiety, and I was keeping my phone close at hand for the inevitable calls from the nursing home where she lived. Declining health, I've learned, isn't very pretty.

Now it feels strange that nobody is calling about her. It feels strange when reminders pop up on my phone to facetime with her, but she's not there anymore. I'm sure this is a very normal part of the grieving process, but so far I keep waiting for someone to tell me she didn't die after all, there was a mix up and my world hasn't actually turned upside down.

She's been on my mind almost constantly, and especially late at night when I'm about to fall asleep. So many memories float to the surface, and the sound of her voice still comes through. I imagine that will fade with time, so right now I'm enjoying that I can still hear the ring in her laughter, envision her putting her hand up over her mouth as she giggles over something. "Hey guy" or "hey lady" (how she greeted just about anyone she knew) keep coming through.

I never actually liked Bruce  Springsteen, but she sure did. Right now the memory of the two of us driving through Glenwood Canyon, headed for Grand Junction, sun roof open, and the CD player turned up way too loud, two gray haired ladies singing the lyrics to 'Born in the U.S.A.' off-key - well, that's my definition of priceless right now. Seriously, if it was up to her, I bet she'd want that song played at her funeral. I'm expecting we'll go with Amazing Grace, or something similar, but if she was allowed to choose...... there's no telling.

There were years when we didn't see each other very much. We never lived closer than 1000 miles apart from when I was about 25, and sometimes life situations and finances kept us from visiting as much as we'd have liked to. But once in awhile we got it right, and took off for adventures. For the next week or so I'm going to re-remember those adventures and share them here. My mother was a writer at heart, so there's no better way to honor her memory than to write about her.

There's the story of her and her sister dragging a dead alligator out to scare people. And when she wore that raincoat and stood up in the Maid of the Mist to see Niagara Falls, and the road trip we took across Texas to see every beat up house we'd ever lived in, drinking margaritas by the Riverwalk in San Antonio, while singers serenaded her with Yellow Rose of Texas; the road trip where I drove right into the woods in pitch black night.....

And maybe after I work my way through a few of those stories, I'll have come more to grips with the fact that she's really gone. It's quite okay with me if the sound of her laugh still rises to the top now and then. 

10 comments:

Gretchen said...

Yes...do all of the remembering, Bev, exactly at your pace. We'll be here to remember along with you. Xxxooo

Bev said...

Thank you sweet Gretchen, I know you lost your mother years ago and can sense, in your writing, that the void is still there, where she used to be. I've heard we all have a God-shaped hole inside us, and maybe, just maybe God puts a mom-shaped one there too, that nobody else can fill.

Gretchen said...

Linda said...

This is so poignant, Bev. At 70, I still have my Mom. It isn't the same - her memory is failing rather quickly - but she's still here. I can't quite imagine life without her. I think this is a very wise thing to do. Praying for comfort and even joy as you remember.

Kelly said...

I love sharing in the tales of your Mother. You truly bring her to life as you write about her and make it seem as though we knew her too.
Praying the memories of good times and laughter float to the top of your heart and comfort you.

Sarah said...

Mom, I'm so glad you put your comments back up! I love hearing your stories about Grandma. Les was telling Pace the other day about the car accident she, Grandma and Danny were in, and I love that all of our memories about her make us laugh. She was a fun, quirky grandma, and I imagine heaven is a much happier place with her! Can you imagine her conversations with Paul?!! Hahaha!!! xxoo

Bev said...

Linda, I read several books on communicating with someone with a failing memory and they were very helpful. One in particular told me never to say, 'do you remember?' because they often don't. Rather to say, I remember when you/we/they...... and I'd re-remember for her. That generally got the most smiles from her. Days with our aging parents is surely a fleeting gift that we have to grab ahold of. xoxo

Bev said...

Kelly, I'm thankful God brought to mind that the best way for me to work through this time of saying goodbye to her is to recall the memories we made. She was such an interesting person, and had a delightful sense of humor. Hopefully I can capture that here. Thanks for saying hello.

Bev said...

Oh Sarah, that car accident! Dan swore he'd never ride with her again! She was turning left at a street corner with no light - something difficult for any of us, and moreso for her as she was already starting slow down in reaction times. I'll have to tell the story of her teaching me to drive a clutch in her Gremlin - it's priceless! And yes, I'd love to see her and Paul discussing submission of women.......

lauriannjane said...

Bev, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. It sounds as though she was a very dear friend as well as a mother. She was lucky to have you in those last difficult months of her life. You are so right - the loss changes the shape of our lives. Mom mom loved to "sit on steps and talk." It was our special thing. And that's the picture that's on my fridge - her and I sitting on steps. I'm so glad that my mom comes to me in dreams. Cherish the memories. How glorious it will be when we are reunited in heaven.