I've been in Florida this past week taking care of my dad. This is the first time I've been here since my mom passed that I've allowed myself to truly feel her absence. Or maybe it's feeling her presence. Not sure. Tears came when I stepped in the front door last week. My heart began to ache and I heard her voice in my head, so excited that we were here---like in the past. I recovered and focused on what needed to be done. Between doctors and scoping the area that we will be moving to this summer the past week went by quickly. Today, however, took it's toll.
My dad wasn't feeling well enough to go to the Oncologist today so I decided to go alone to hopefully get the answers we needed. I spent the drive there on the phone with the love of my life, that always makes me happy no matter what is going on around me. When I stepped foot inside the office the tears began to creep up. Wow. I was flooded with memories of my son's battle and now my mom's came as well. I saw her sitting in the wheel chair the last time I took her for chemo. I saw her face in every patient there. I sat in the waiting area and my heart just broke for every person there. I knew their pain. I felt their struggle. It was too raw for me. Will it ever fade? No. I don't think so.
I spoke to the oncologist. I've become quite adept at dealing with the percentages and risks and time frames and writing as quickly as the doctor speaks. All business and no emotion. Got it. Done. Paid the copay and out I went. Another phone call to my rock, my guy, the love of my life. Keeps me grounded, keeps me sane, brings me joy. Then I hung up. I heard my mother's voice. She called me Tina Bellina - wow, I haven't heard that in too long. The tears began to flow. I truly could not stop them. I had to pull over, they were that bad. I allowed them to cleanse my pain. I allowed them to take it all away. I don't always allow myself that, there's no time usually. I turned the air conditioning off in the car because I had a chill through my body. I just sobbed for a good 15 minutes. I miss my mom so much. I apologized to her for the seemingly cold exterior I've had the last year. It's my armor. It's my protection. She assured me that it didn't show when I was taking care of last year, I was grateful for that. I found it easier to remember the negative things about my mom at that time rather than allow myself to remember all the good things. The excitement she'd get when she was eating something delicious. Her exclamation of "oh I LOVE it!" when talking about something that gave her joy. Her voice telling me how gorgeous my daughter is when seeing her picture from school. Since January, when I realized that my mom was taking care of me from heaven in a way that I will be eternally grateful for, I've allowed myself to hear her. I've allowed myself to miss her and to remember all the good things. I've allowed myself to grieve. I feel my mother with me all the time. I hear her talking to me whenever I allow myself to. My heart breaks for those who don't hear or feel their departed loved ones. I couldn't imagine not having that.
Grief is so challenging. It comes in ways I never imagined. I'm grieving the days when my parents were both healthy and I didn't have to think about any of the things my siblings and I have been faced with in the last two years. I am grieving the time when I didn't have to think about my own mortality and the fact that we are all growing older and we won't always be healthy and carefree. But, I don't allow myself to set up camp there. No. There is too much to look forward to. Life is too good, even with all of this negative stuff trying to take over. So, after the tears subsided and I went about the to do list that I needed to accomplish, I began to count my blessings. I allowed myself to feel the joy that has been bubbling up inside of me since I came alive again last December. And when the guilt threatened to rob my joy I sent it packing. Guilt for feeling happy when there is so much to be sad about. Guilt for having this amazing future ahead of me while all of those patients were sitting in an oncologists office. Nope. I won't have it. Because God has blessed me and I will always be grateful for all of His gifts. And even though trials still come my way I know that my mother will be by my side to help us all through them. A mother's touch can heal the world and my mother's touch has always been magical....and it's all a day in the life.