Early Sunday morning I got the call I had been dreading. My mom passed away after a 3 and 1/2 year battle with cancer. I knew it was coming. They had stopped treatment and she was in hospice care. This didn’t help at all. It doesn’t matter if you are expecting it, it’s still not easy. I’m having more trouble with it now that I am back home and not surrounded by people or thinking about traveling.
I just deleted two paragraphs I had written that was a weird account of what I did the days following the news. I can sum it up with I tried to do what I could to not dwell on my grief. Travel and getting ready to travel helped. On the visitation and funeral day the constant presence of other people helped even though they were all either random family members I had not seen in years and friends of my siblings. I did know a handful of them, so that also helped. I will admit I spent some time feeling sorry for myself because the side effect of living 700 miles away is that I was the stranger in the room who needed to be introduced to all but the handful mentioned above. I know it is self centered, but that made it harder for me. I felt a little alone. Of course, my mom and sister always joked that the reason why I never see anyone I know when I go home is that when I post that I’m coming they all flee. I’m sure she would have a similar thing to say about this as well.
Living 700 miles away also meant that my relationship with my mom was not as close as her relationship with the rest of my siblings. We didn’t have a lot to talk about. Many times when I would visit, we would sit quietly together and watch TV. I didn’t call her as much as I should have because we both hated talking on the phone. She didn’t know my kids as well as I would have liked because we only were able to visit twice a year. There are a lot of regrets on which I could focus, but that sounds whiny and I’m sure she wouldn’t like that. So, I will focus on good memories: coming home on a cold day when I was a kid and having coffee or hot chocolate, watching the soaps with her, the times we spent as a family at my brother’s house, her jokes even to the end about how she would take the pills that put her to sleep when she knew my older sister was coming to visit…
It will be weird this year to go home at Christmas and not see her. It will be weird to not get up the next morning and head to the OC to spend the day at her house. I’m sure there will be times that I will think I should call her before I realize I can’t. It will take time. It will be weird and hard, but I will try to focus on the fact that her suffering is over and she is reunited with my dad and maybe soon I won’t feel like crying most of the time.