Tag: mother

As Good As It Gets.

I love the movie, “As Good As It Gets.” I’m using the word “love” here, about a movie. And if you love the movie, too, you’ll get that joke. Anyway, it’s a perfect movie about imperfect people without a single wasted line. Including this one:

As Good As It Gets

Remember? He’s trying to get in to see his shrink without an appointment and he turns to the waiting room full of the damaged, anxious and depressed and poses the question, “what if this is as good as it gets?” And there is a collective gasp in the room in response.

So. What if this is as good as it gets?

My mom’s birthday came and went. The anniversary of her death was December 15. The holidays are over. It’s a new year and my catastrophic loss is now 13 months in the rear-view. And I’m haunted by Jack Nicholson’s question.

What if this is as good as it gets?

I mean, it’s not as though I’m sad all the time. But definitely more than I thought I would be 13 months later. And I still think, no less than five times a day, of something I wish I could tell her or show her or ask her. And I still miss her every damn day. And now I’ve racked up a considerable number of days.

I’m sure it will continue to improve with time. But, after 13 months, I can tell you, it moves like molasses. Maybe because you’re trying to watch grass grow because you’re so anxious for it to be green again.

So, I’ll continue to focus on the good – while trying not to dwell on how much better it would be if she were here.

And I know that if this is as good as it gets – I’ve still got it pretty damn good.

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Dear Mom.

[Ok – consider yourself warned – this is going to be a sad one. If you aren’t up for it today – move along.]

You died six months ago today. And my whole world changed forever. It’s strange how surreal it still feels when I consider you’re really gone, even six months later. I’ve replayed that day in my head a thousand times and it never ceases to feel like science fiction.

And we’re muddling through the best we can. I wonder if you realize how much everyone relied on you. You were the sun we orbited. You were my sun.

with Mom and DadI never realized how much joy I got from sharing things with you. Things really got their meaning when I told you about them. Now, something exciting or interesting will happen…and it sort of dies on the vine. I think about telling you – and can’t – and I think about telling someone else…and nine times out of ten, I decide it’s not worth it. And I let it go. Even awesome things have been lackluster since I can’t share my excitement with you.

I got a book deal. Everyone assures me you know. Something I’d dreamed of most of my life…happened! And I cried all day. Because your absence was unbearable. You’re the only person who has read every book I’ve ever written. You gave honest, valuable feedback and I relied on your opinion so much. What do I do now? You are truly irreplaceable.

You said you were amazed by my drive…by my fearless pursuit of my dreams. Well, your fearless daughter has developed a new fear. I’m so afraid of ever needing someone again the way I needed you, because losing that person…is a killer. I can hear you telling me that isn’t the answer…that our lives are worth living because of the people in them. And I know that’s true. But I really feel like over the last six months I’ve been testing the theory of whether or not you can die of a broken heart. Because sometimes…oftentimes…it’s devastating.

But you knew this all too well. And I didn’t understand. You can’t understand until it happens to you. But I understand now. I understand that underlying fissure of sadness you had most of my life – that you got from the loss of your father who you adored and your mother who was your best friend. Who were both gone by the time you were 38.

And I’m not unique. I realize that. People have lost their most important people, just as young, younger, under all kinds of tragic circumstances. And people survive it. And I will, too. Just like you did.

I may not know precisely what I believe, but I believe that you are at peace. That death is only sad for those left behind. I believe that you are with your parents, who you spent decades missing. I believe that, even if you can see us, our sorrow is not making you sad because you now have that wisdom that assures that we’ll be together again in what will seem like the blink of an eye.

All the goals I had – being a published author – being an attorney. My goal these days is to be able to say “I miss my mom so much” without crying. It’ll have to be a long-term goal.

Apparently the only thing bigger than your presence in my life was the hole left in it when you died.

People tell me to focus on the good memories, the happy times. But that’s not what we were. We were the constant sharing of every thought and every feeling. Every day. Sure, there were good times – but I don’t miss being able to take a vacation with you. I miss the 20-minute talk on my way to work. And the 20-minutMome talk on my way home. And the phone call I would have made to you when I found out  about my book deal. (The very FIRST phone call I would have made.) And the phone call I would have made to you when I found out about the suicide of a friend from high school. And when I won that motion in court. And when that dog got into my yard and attacked my dogs. And hearing your input on the sequel to my book that I’m working on. And hearing what you thought of the season finale of The Blacklist. Or you showing me how well your apple trees were growing in your yard. How will focusing on the good memories ever be a replacement for the million things you and I would have told each other about in the last six months? Or the next 20 years?

But I’ll make it through, obviously. I get my toughness from you. And I hope my own fissure of sadness isn’t too big. And I hope that I dream of you. And that after I heal some more, I hope I’ll believe people when they say “she’ll always be with you.” And I hope that I make you proud.

I miss you so much.

 

 

12-Week Lessons.

Today marks 12 weeks. I thought, perhaps, my next post would not be about my mom. Well, I am happy to say that this post, much like my life, is not all about losing my mom.

So here’s what I’ve learned in the last 12 weeks:

  1. I like lists. They require little cohesion and no organization at all.
  2. There is a very fine, at times imperceptible, line between “grieving” and “crazy.”
  3. You don’t really get it – not really – until it’s you.
  4. I’m stronger than I thought. I lost the one person I talked to more, shared more, listened to more, relied on more, leaned on more than any other person in the world. And I’m okay. Despite my previous concerns, I wasn’t swallowed by the hole she left in the world.
  5. I like cemeteries. You can cry all you want and no one looks at you twice. Cause you’re in a cemetery.
  6. Death is arbitrary. My mom wasn’t even two weeks past her 67th birthday, she had low blood pressure, low cholesterol, ate healthy, didn’t smoke, rarely drank, got all her mammograms, colonoscopies, physicals, etc., stayed active, and took her vitamins. And she was literally gone in a matter of seconds. Be healthy so that you can feel good while you’re here – but all the healthy living in the world isn’t going to grant you longevity if it isn’t in the cards.
  7. The dead apparently do not haunt by request. No matter how much you wish for a visit.
  8. Apparently I don’t need to share every thought that ever pops into my head with someone. I used to have someone I told everything to. Now, I probably share 50% of those thoughts. Which, I guess, means I have a lot of insignificant thoughts. Or just no one that finds significance in them.
  9. Even on dark days, wine makes me happy.
  10. Getting my eye makeup tattooed on a year and a half ago was a sound investment.

The Two-Week Mark.

Not to turn my snarky, sarcastic blog into a sad place, but I’m not particularly funny lately. Unless I’m making some inappropriate joke at an inappropriate moment to make the sad people around me laugh.

The two-week mark is strange. Because when your 67-year-old, healthy, sassy mother’s heart suddenly stops beating for no good reason, people around you are still in shock as well. They can’t imagine what you’re going through. But the two-week mark is also the time when you’re expected to get back to the routine. Back to work. Back to normal. Well – the new normal.

So, I have this to report: I’m trying. I’m working. I’m hanging out with my friends. I’m taking the dogs for walks to the lake with my dad. I’m watching The Big Bang Theory reruns while making dinner and wasting time playing Candy Crush on my phone. And I have the uncontrolled fits of crying down to once a day. Usually.

The problem is that as the shock wore off, reality set in. And reality kinda sucks. My mom has left this void that is like a hole I keep tripping on. A dozen times a day. Every time I think of something I should tell her. Or something I need to ask her. Or something I want to gripe about. Or a decision I have to make. Or advice I need. Or if anything goods happens. Or anything bad. Or anything at all.

December 23rd, the day we were burying my mom, my parents’ sweet little dog died. (Cue the Depeche Mode, right? I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumors, but I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor?) Anyway, their older dog that followed my mom everywhere? Still alive. The younger one? Died, inexplicably, that morning. My father was devastated. But in his state, it was more like icing on a cupcake (because heartbreak when you’re already heartbroken and tears when you were crying anyway…seem to get washed away in the flood). So after the tragic morning at the cemetery, we all went over to my dad’s that afternoon to bury the dog in the backyard. And I made inappropriate jokes. And people laughed.

And then we went through all the motions of celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day like good little soldiers. Cause that’s what you do.

So, I’ll undoubtedly keep tripping on the void like an uncoordinated, three-legged dog. But, as I said to my dad Saturday, on our way back from picking out my mom’s grave stone, it only hurts this much because we had it so good. And that sure makes it hard to complain.

Erin and Mom

The Goodbye List.

I can’t get my thoughts in any kind of order except when I write things down. And I don’t keep a journal, I keep a blog. So it has to go here.

In no particular order:

  • I’m glad that my commute was 20 minutes each way and that I called you nearly every day to and from work to talk about absolutely nothing in particular.
  • I’m mad that you didn’t live long enough to be a burden. You know Jeff and I were fighting over who you and dad were going to go live with when you got elderly and senile. I’m mad that you didn’t live long enough to become elderly and senile.
  • I’m glad that you randomly called me Sunday morning and asked me to meet you at that store because you were having trouble choosing a Christmas gift. I’m so glad I rolled my eyes, threw on some jeans and met you down there.
  • I’m glad that my house got shown by a realtor on Sunday afternoon even though I wasn’t feeling good because I had to vacate my house so I went to your house and even though the realtor was in and out in 15 minutes, I hung out at your house for 3 hours.
  • I’m glad that I’m a 42-year old woman who’s never picked out a single house paint color without your input.
  • I’m so pissed that you won’t be here when I finally get published. You were my biggest cheerleader.
  • I’m so sick of saying “I just don’t understand.” It’s true, but every time it comes out of my mouth, it sounds repetitive and useless.
  • I’m so glad you didn’t suffer.
  • I’m so mad you didn’t say goodbye.
  • I’m so glad you and dad celebrated your 50-year anniversary this year. I’m so mad it was the last one.
  • I’m pissed that I’m writing this to a healthy 67-year old.
  • I’m so mad that now I’m a 3-legged dog. Sure, I’ll learn to run again, but my balance will never be as good and I’ll never be able to overlook what’s missing.
  • I’m glad you were my best friend.
  • Still pissed about the 3-legged dog thing.

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