This was the week I was supposed to come visit Mom.
Before Mom's fall and illness happened, I had planned to make this trip. Jonah would be (and is) working this week, so I was going to fly up to Utah and rent and car and stay with the same friend Jonah and I stayed with when Mom was dying.
I was going to take her to see Something's Afoot at Pioneer Theatre Company as well as go see a movie, even though I knew she wouldn't probably remember either after we'd seen them. I was also going to take her out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. And of course, I was going to visit her every day at her assisted living residence and maybe play a game with her if she was up to it.
Instead I am at home missing her.
It's funny, I know her dying now is a blessing compared with having to watch her slowly waste away over the course of several years. When I think of where Mom was six years ago (or even one year ago), I see how fast things can change. Even at this exact time last year, I wouldn't have thought Mom would be in assisted living so soon, and her death was far from my mind. I always imagined Mom would live a long, long time, and I had prepared for how difficult it might be to watch her live so long with a body and mind that could no longer do what they once could. That's where I thought we'd end up.
So yes, it is a blessing that Mom died before we had to watch her completely waste away and, more so, it is a blessing that she was still relatively independent and active and, above all, happy before she passed.
But this felt so fast. The Saturday before her fall, she was doing really well under the circumstances. Yes, her mind was fractured, but she was doing well and was talking and was happy. Even immediately after the fall, the prognosis was good. She was going to go to rehab and be back at her home at the assisted living within a couple of weeks, probably.
Then she just took a turn for the worst. It was like dominoes. The fall caused tissue damage; the tissue damage caused an infection; the infection caused renal failure; the renal failure and fall caused the muscle in her leg to die; and all of this meant her quality of life would not be very good; and that caused us to make the choice to let her go.
And now she's gone.
It was right to let her go. We know it's what she would have wanted, and all four of us kids in conjunction with the doctors agreed it was the right way to go.
But no matter how prepared you think you are, it's never easy.
Often I'm doing well. Often I feel like I'm dealing well with it.
Other days I'm deeply sad and just miss my mom.
Time will heal all wounds. Dad's been gone for 21 years, and I rarely get sad about his passing the way I once did. I know the same will happen with Mom...one day.
It's natural to mourn; it's natural to grieve. I know that.
And in many ways, we and Mom are better off.
But I miss my mom. I miss her presence. I miss talking to her even if our conversation was almost exactly the same every day. I miss her warmth. I miss hugging her and kissing her. I miss her stories and childlike qualities.
People have been so kind and supportive. People have said such nice things. I've received cards, Facebook messages, blog comments, and in-person remarks that have really buoyed my spirits. And I am thankful. It really does help.
Among my favorite comments have been what a great son I have been, not because they flatter me, but because they only testify that Mom and Dad must have raised me well for people to think that of me. Someone said the other day, "You and your siblings have done such a great job in how you've cared for your mom." I replied, "That only goes to show what a great mother she was."
And she was.