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Friday, February 24, 2017

And when one of us is gone, and one of us is left to carry on,then remembering will have to do

A mere 24 months ago today my mother took her last breath on this earth.  It feels like decades.  I don't want to be that person who focuses on one day every year and mourns.  I have many days throughout the year that hit me about my mom.  My parent's anniversary just passed a few days ago.  Valentines day was the last day I saw her alive.  So basically February plain sucks in my world for now.  There are good points (there always are whether you see them or not is up to you) to this horrific month.  My kids and I talk about my mom a lot this month.  Last night we had a family dinner (which isn't as common as it used to be) and we all shared stories about her.  We cried.  My daughter is really struggling right now.  She was with me at the end taking care of her.  She walked her back and forth to the bathroom, brought her water and ice, cleaned up her spills from her unsteady hands, helped with her oxygen tank and sat with her at what would have been her last chemo treatment.  A lot for an 11 year old to deal with, especially because at the tender age of 5 she did it with her brother. It's coming out now in bits and pieces how hard it was for her.  My creme filling son has other things he deals with.  She's the only person who truly knew what he went through during cancer.  They had a few heart to hearts while she was sick and he misses her for so many other things too.  My oldest son shared memories of when he was little and would rise with the roosters and my mom would be in the bathroom doing her make up (she never slept I swear) and he'd sit and chat with her for an hour or so before everyone woke up.  We each have our own moments that stand out.  For me the memories come in bits and pieces.  A certain look.  Her laugh.  Her chastising me for speaking the truth (although she LOVED it!) with a "Tina bellina!" she'd say as she laughed because she knew what I said was truth.  I've become OBSESSED with the Wahlberg family because their mom, Alma, reminds me SO much of my mom.  The way she laughs, her reactions to things, her funny comments.  It's like having my mom here whenever I watch her on TV.

I was angry at her when she died.  I had a lot of pent up emotions and hurts that I never let out.  I didn't mourn for probably the first year.  I think I've written about that.  I've let go of all of that and just remembered the good things.  The other night while I watched "This is Us" it was all too much for me.  Seeing Randall's father in bed, riddled with cancer and the oxygen tube on his nose I lost my shit.  Well....I waited until my Lulu went to bed and THEN I lost my shit.  I looked over at her during that part and she had tears streaming down her face.  We exchanged a glance and I said "too familiar, huh Lu?"  she nodded.  After she went to sleep I sobbed like a child and my creme filling son just held me tight and let me.  I would like to be brave and strong and not let my kids see me like that, but it's impossible.  They know me too well.  We are too close, I can't get away with it. I knew my mom that way.  As an adult.  I could take one look at her and KNOW if something set her off or what she was thinking.  After I caught my breath I was determined not to let myself get immersed in the sadness.  My mom would not want that. My favorite conversations where when I'd make her laugh until she couldn't breathe and she would howl and say her stomach hurt.  There was no better sound to me than that laugh and knowing I was the reason she was laughing.

My mom was a very complex yet simple woman...I know contradictory.  The person she showed to the world was always happy go lucky and sweet and kind.  I was fortunate to see the real her.  She was all of those things, of course, but I was one of the very few people she let see the other side.  The side that struggled and feared and got angry and sad.  My mom had a tough life.  Her mom died (in front of her) when she was 10 leaving her to be shuffled between her siblings until my Aunt got back from the army and she had a permanent place with her.  Back in her day there were no therapists or sympathetic ears it was suck it up and deal with it.  It made her strong, even though she thought she was weak. She never blamed her past for her future.  I'm determined to be like that and to raise my kids that way. No excuses, just do the best you can with what you have.

My daughter is home from school today, my creme filling son is off of work.  We'll spend the day together which will make it easier for them.  Last year I went to the lake alone and desperately tried to feel what I'm feeling today.  It all comes in time I suppose. Last year I was chasing her.  Trying to find a certain feeling, trying to let the emotions out, trying to feel the "right ones". Today I have peace.  I feel her with me and she's telling me it's going to all be okay. Because after all.....it's just a day in the life.


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