It’s been a long time since I have sat down to write, not from lack of thoughts or commentary but the famous excuse “I don’t have time”. But now I find that it’s time to find time and get some thoughts on “paper” or a screen in this case. My topic, isn’t about politics, social media or societal issues; it’s not work related either. Today I decided to express my thoughts on losing a loved one and how you are just never ready.
The reality is all the education, preparation and studying etc never really prepare you for life altering moments; like getting married, becoming a parent or losing a parent. I have now experienced all 3 and I am here to unequivocally tell you – you are never ready.
Our mom (I have a brother) was diagnosed with endometrial cancer 8 years ago…seems like a lifetime. I remember thinking at that moment we all had the cancer – because we are such a small tight knit family; we felt each-others joys and pains first hand. But she never ever let it interfere with her life. As a matter of fact, there were times that my brother and I felt the burden more. She never complained, never stopped traveling, never lost her zest for life and cherished every moment with her grandkids. But the most extraordinary thing of all is that her zest for life and sense of adventure were not kindled by this diagnosis as many might think. That was her! She was/is a larger than life personality – the kind that sucked the wind out of the room but left you wanting the oxygen mask to continue staying in her presence.
Toward the end, she continued to command that presence but the disease weakened her, rendered her body frail BUT did not once damper her spirit or her drive. She spent months preparing us all, more than preparing herself; my brother and I waited daily wondering when she would breathe her last breath – despite knowing the end was near; we were never ready to let her go. What a testament you might say, perhaps. Though her true legacy in my book are her grandchildren who have that sense of adventure and zest for life, mom’s death has left a gaping hole in our lives and our hearts.
Are you ever ready? NO. I am still not ready to accept I will no longer fight with her over what the kids are eating; debate over politics, talk about what’s for dinner when we get together Saturday. I am not ready to not receive my happy birthday call and hear her sing (off key) “You are my Sunshine”. No you are never ready to go back to work after such a loss, never ready to join the real world again. But life moves on. So I have decided to accept what has happened, accept that I am not ready to loose this dynamic force of nature called mom.
I could be cliche and say, “kiss your mom”, “hug a loved one”, “live each day like it’s the last” etc. Nope, my advice is accept that you will never be ready for the heartbreak and devastation and accept that you are not ready to say “she’s died or passed”. But find solace that while the pain is excruciating and the heartbreak seems unrelenting, that you will eventually find a new normal and you will likely be better armed to help someone else come to terms with similar pain. When that happens, you will understand that never being ready is not a fault nor a sign of weakness, it is what makes you a human being.