mom died over a dozen years ago today…but it still seems so very recent (g2)

Over a dozen years ago today I was working a double shift at a telecommunications center that was trying to ramp up for holiday volume. My mom and I were instant messaging back and forth about plans for the upcoming holiday well into midnight. We said our “I love you’s” and “good night’s,” her very last message being how her boyfriend would be coming down.

I didn’t like how my mother behaved around the men she was dating, and this one was no different. This was the first one that wasn’t married, a junkie, a drunk, a loser, or some variation thereof and I could tell she was pretty serious about him. I didn’t dislike him either. I truly felt my mom deserved someone good for a change.

However, I hated how she spoke higher and more sing-songy when he was around. How her very quick and sharp wit was dulled and muted in order to keep the spotlight on her man. My mom was the type of person you’d want to have your back in a beer brawl. Her Mrs. Cleaver act around guys just pissed me off.

I sent a final message opting out of spending the holiday with her, using work as an excuse, and wishing her a good time with the boyfriend.

I cannot express enough the relief when I found that message unread two days later.

When my message arrived, my mom had dozed off in front of the TV, and in less than an hour a blood clot traveled to her lungs and suffocated her in her sleep. She never reached fifty years of age.

A little over a day later, her boyfriend would be the one to find her still on the couch.

I’m sitting at work, on a Saturday, working another double shift with a hundred pairs of eyes on me while a coroner calls me to tell me casually my mother is dead and how by the decomposition and smell of the body, how he managed to estimate the time of death.

I’m also pissed that this man dares to fuck with me over such a thing. There is no way my hiking, fishing, outdoorsy loving mother would be dead.

I put the call on hold and walk to a back office. I have no clue what my face shows at this point, only that all one hundred sets of those eyes are watching me in shock.

When I pick up this call, I start tearing into this man for the shitty human being he is, how my mother would kick his ass if she knew what he was trying to pull. He never responded, except to give me his number and I hang up on him.

It wasn’t until my friend Cris calls me on my cellphone and tells me that she is with my mom’s boyfriend and they are there to pick me up that the weight of it hits me as truth.

Cris was close to my mom, but she’d never met the boyfriend. If she was with him, it was because she is one of those on a short list of emergency numbers my mom keeps of people who know how to find me.

I feel like a building just fell on my chest, I don’t really remember breathing. It gets worse when I see Cris, the boyfriend standing behind and off to the side with downcast eyes as though he somehow doesn’t have the right to be there.

This puzzles me.

I suddenly feel very sorry for him when I realize he has to be one who found her. I also realize I don’t… I don’t want to see her at all.

I also realize this is one of the few people who might actually be hurting as much as I am.

I realize that if I don’t make any other calls, I do need to call Grand and tell them their baby is dead. I’m still at work when I find an empty office and give them the news. It galls me the first response Grand has is “are you ok?”

Cris deals with most of it. I don’t remember much of anything except that it isn’t long later when Cris and another one of my close friends are with me at home. I’ve not cried, I doubt I’ve expressed much of anything. They intermittently ask me if I want anything. I finally tell my friends I love them and appreciate what they are trying to do but I really need them to get the fuck out.

I stared in the dark in my quiet little house for only a little while before I got in the car and headed to my mom’s.

I had my own set of keys to her house, as she did to mine.

I suddenly remember my last text message blowing her off for the holiday. GUILT. It’s blinking unread in her notifications. *SIGH*

I read an email she sent to her boyfriend where she mentioned being just a little disappointed that there had not been any grandchildren from my failed marriage. GUILT.

I curled up into a ball on the couch she died in and for a long time… I cried.

I cried over the fact that the only thing my mom ever wanted from life was the whole marriage and happy home bit. The closest she ever got was the engagement she hadn’t told me about yet to the current boyfriend. He let it slip in the chaos and I’d yet to process it.

I cried over the fact that in all of my almost thirty years on earth, if you took the years that were robbed by Grand, my former spouse and my own stubborn anger… my mom and I had only have seven years of time together. SEVEN.

I was an orphan. I’d long been abandoned by one parent and had spent most of my life feeling like the other one was just half-assing the same. It would be a few more weeks before I would find out just how much of a lie that was, and I would grieve even more.

I stayed on that couch for days.

Then I buried myself in work, and when it came time to leave work, I hit the bars. I had a precarious balance between burying myself in work and inebriation.

I volunteered to train classes at other centers when I couldn’t deal with the fact my co-workers knew about it. When I had to have paperwork notarized, it was a branch manager at another center who did it. They just asked “Why are you even here?”

Grand and my closest cousin came to help clear out paperwork and see if we could find a will. I opted to cremate her, requested a lock of her hair. I’d never done funeral things and we weren’t members of a church. We were outsiders to the area we lived really. I drug my cousin along on my alcohol binges when we had decided to cease and desist in the evening. To this day, we don’t talk about it. He took on the mantra Nevada did… “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” kind of thing. For me that kind of wildness was pretty normal, for him the family man, it was very eye-opening.

By the time I could tolerate other people and could host a wake, only her boyfriend and a few of my friends had come. I had just waited too long for people to keep an eye out for it. I just did everything wrong. MORE GUILT.

I know deep down my mom would never stress about that kind of shit and she would likely make fun of me for doing so. Unfortunately, logic doesn’t seem to have a lot of pull over emotions. It’s sucks like that.

I know my mom would feel bad to know that the holiday season is very bittersweet for me. She was such a massive kid about the holidays, she loved them all and was excited about them and ran at them with wide open arms. It would kill her to know that losing her makes me want to curl back up on that couch every holiday season until its over.

So I don’t.

I try to channel my mom in spite of the scroogy spirit that I have. I realize now I started doing it for Grand’s benefit right after losing my mom and I’ve been doing it for someone’s benefit ever since. Thank goodness it only took a couple years before Spawn came along, since now I don’t have to work to find a focal point.

I try my best to give my kid the kind of holiday environment that would make the grandmother they never knew proud. It’s the least I can do.

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  1. #1 by emmagc75 on November 23, 2015 - 4:59 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss. My Mom died 6 years ago and sometimes it feels like yesterday. Hugs xoxo!

    • #2 by g2 on November 23, 2015 - 10:28 pm

      It really does. Time flies by so fast and its kind of looking up and thinking “no! wait! that JUST happened!” What happened in your case?

      • #3 by emmagc75 on November 24, 2015 - 11:43 pm

        She died at home at 63 after battling cancer for 18 months. My Dad n I were with her. One of my brothers was at work, the other was on a cruise in the Caribbean. Gotta love my Mom’s timing lol!

  2. #4 by robertmgoldstein on November 23, 2015 - 6:13 pm

    I can really relate to this. I won’t go into details but this touched a nerve.

    • #5 by g2 on November 23, 2015 - 10:18 pm

      Please do sometime. I spent a lot of time trying to drink down, party off and avoid talking about my mom. I screwed up a lot of relationships then too and sought out the superficial. I was scared of being so vulnerable to someone that their loss would make me feel like that again. So I ran away from it. Whodathunk that in my self-destruction and carelessness, I would be blessed with Spawn, who was contrary to all of my plans. It’s exactly how I got here too (My mom’s parent died a couple years before I came along, same cycle)

      It’s ironic how much I understood my mom through those years after having to feel what she felt. I felt closer to her in death than I ever got a chance to in life actually. It’s twisted but true.

      That friend Cris?… she understood my mom, having much the same child-like take on things. When xmas rolled around, she snuck off with my mom’s box of remains and pimped it out in xmas wrap glory, lights and all. In the back of my mind, I could hear my mother’s voice laughing her ass off. She would have loved it.

      It was a little at a time, but the more I talked about her, the more I felt her everywhere around me. I could smell her, hear her, feel her shift in my world and it finally gave me a little bit of peace.

      I was thankful for our last words being those of love. My mom didn’t have that. She was a 17 year old kid rebelling against a parent trying to enforce control, it triggered a heart attack, and they were gone. That parent had 13 more years than they were supposed to, but that matters little to a kid who adores their parent.

      As a parent now… I sit down Spawn every so often, I look them deep in the eyes and remind them “I don’t give two shits if the last words we speak to one another on this earth are nothing but anger, we KNOW we love one another and in the end, that’s ALL that matters.”

      Spawn doesn’t get it yet, but then I hope one day they will.

      It wouldn’t matter if, for some reason, we completely drift apart and can never really bond like we do now and Spawn doesn’t speak to me ever again. I know I put a really awesome person on this planet who will rock the world, and all that matter to me is they are safe, happy and following their dreams. I hope all children from 0-150 know that, deep down.

      • #6 by robertmgoldstein on November 24, 2015 - 2:31 am

        Thank you for sharing this with me. We seem to have responded in similar ways to the sudden deaths of our Mothers. My Mother was a crime victim. It happened in December.
        My relationship with her was conflicted and she was very damaging to herself and to me. To some extent a part of me remained childlike in its view of her. There were times as a kid when I wished her dead. Later, as an adult, that part of me took responsibility for what happened.
        To some extent, when someone is killed a litle piece of everyone who loved them or called them family is killed to. Our media doesn’t talk about it but if you include all family members who will never feel safe again, children or parents who blame themselves, and spouses who have lost a soul-mate, then the casualty count quadruples.

        • #7 by g2 on November 24, 2015 - 3:52 pm

          oh god… the unfairness of it is the hardest, isn’t it? If X didn’t occur, they would still be here. It is such a bitter pill to swallow that senseless, pointless, meaningless things happen that traumatize and/or harm people and there is no deeper meaning or purpose to be sought in its happening.

          My favorite question growing up and one that annoyed every adult around me was “why?” To be an adult and become so completely pissed that one question could not and would not be answered, ever, made me so angry. Angrier than I had ever been.

          Ditto for me wishing my mom an untimely death, I had a lot of hate and anger for a long long time about my mom, dredges up a shitload of unnecessary guilt when something happens doesn’t it?

          You are also right, there is a part of me that died with my mom and it has forever changed me. I keep people a little further away. But in turn, I cry a little easier now, allowing sadness to run its course as a valid emotion and stop trying to be so tough all the time. I face grief since then a little more head on and try to be more honest about it. I appreciate my time a little more. I try to prepare in case it’s ever me.

          When I feel myself sliding down that dark cesspool that I long to wallow in, I try to remember how pissed my mom would be… how pissed I would be, if my own kid just gave up, froze in time, failed to thrive, or buried themself in a grief I could no longer ease…. you know? Sure, there are times when I need to let myself soak in the grief, but most of the time, that is the thought that gets me out of bed.

          Did she love you? Do you love her? Of course, right? Deep down I’m sure you both knew it, even if everyone involved is bad at it. That’s all you need to know.

          Live a life they would be proud of you for having, even if it’s not the one they would have chosen. It’s the only thing we can do.

          • #8 by robertmgoldstein on November 24, 2015 - 6:20 pm

            Thank you for a passionate and painful comment. I’m not afraid of pain, it’s happiness that frightens me but that is the result of trauma.

            I suppose my Mother loved me as much as she could given her own pathology.

            At this point I want a life that of which I can be proud, and I am slowly finding that life.

            Sometimes the pain feels like it is more than I want to live with– but those moments pass…

            Learning to live with and past pain is another important life skill.

            Ultimately, none of us is spared.

            Pain is part of living; and the mass search for ways to avoid that truth only causes more of pain for everyone…

            Thank you again…

            RG

  3. #9 by robertmgoldstein on November 23, 2015 - 6:13 pm

    Hello,

    I’ve nominated you for the Respect Award

    You don’t have to do anything for this award…

    To learn more click the link….

    http://robertmgoldstein.com/2015/11/23/the-respect-award-round-two/

    RG

  4. #10 by Polysyllabic Profundities on November 23, 2015 - 6:19 pm

    What a heart-wrenching story. It will be two years in March that my mom passed. Some days it feels like 30 years and some days it feels like 30 minutes ago. xx

    • #11 by g2 on November 23, 2015 - 10:25 pm

      Yeah, and doesn’t get any easier does it? Well, it gets to be a little easier to bear the weight of, but it felt like a looong time before I could fully inhale. And no matter what age you are, you are suddenly that child lost in the store with no idea where your parents are.

      I still have to have a cry sometimes, but it doesn’t give me the huge gaping ache it used to. It hurts and I wish my mom could know her grandchild. I know they would have been fast friends, but I at least get to see her in places I would never guess.

      Like catching Spawn propping one of their feet on the side of their knee while washing dishes. My mom did that, I never did. I used to tell her she looked like a flamingo. It makes me smile to see her in the little things.

  5. #13 by Rita on November 24, 2015 - 3:11 am

    This touches me so deeply I can’t even find the right words to tell you how much. Such a tragic loss. From the little time I’ve engaged you, I feel your character so strongly and am overwhelmed by these words. I just feel your strong, strong spirit and it reminds me of the days/weeks/months following my son’s death. It changed me. Made me bitter. Made me better. Dealing with the assholes who allowed him to die and the loved ones who tried to tell me to keep a “stiff upper lip”. So much flowing through my head right now but all I want to do is give you a big hug!

    • #14 by g2 on November 24, 2015 - 4:14 pm

      You are the truly strong one.

      As much as my mom’s loss wrecked me, I doubt I could survive the loss of my kid. You have come through something incredibly debilitating emotionally and being able to talk about it… that’s huge. I’m in awe.

      You said “let him die”… can I ask what happened?

      • #15 by Rita on November 24, 2015 - 4:18 pm

        He was a beautiful, 9lb 6oz baby boy allowed to suffer brain death because the asshole physician decided I didn’t need a c-section as the others were suggesting cause I was young and should be able to do it on my own. 52 hours of hard labor and no one checking to see that he’d gone into distress and stopping breathing

      • #16 by Rita on November 24, 2015 - 4:19 pm

        All loss of those we love is massive to me! You are so, so strong

  6. #17 by idioglossiablog on November 25, 2015 - 7:39 pm

    In a brief moment of time everything can change, and sometimes we remain forever changed. Huge hugs G-uno

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