Friday, July 02, 2010

So Mom Is Dying And You Are Not

Posted by Anonymous.

My mother is dying. Slowly, but perceptibly. Fading out, like a blurry xerox, her features sinking inward and melting toward one another. And for the 9 months this has been happening, I have wished it were you, Daddy.

Because Daddy, she showed up. She was there for every lost tooth, every prom, every school play, every nightmare, every spilled juice, every outgrown shoe. It wasn't pretty. She yelled. She was so tired she fell into bed every night. She wasn't good at comforting me. But she was always there, like a rock, a tired, jagged, sometimes cold, but always firmly and absolutely present rock. And you? You missed it all. You were drinking, and then trying not to drink, and then piecing together the ravages of a self from what was left after you stopped drinking, and then you floated off into some kind of oblivion I still don't understand. I played the part you needed me to play: loving and uncomprehending little girl, forgiving adult. But when the diagnosis came in, when they told us what it was and we realized what it meant, all I could do was hate that it wasn't you. Because when she is gone, I will be an orphan. Only you won't know it, and I will have to go through the motions of comforting you about the fact that there's really nothing you can do for me anymore, make up things for you to do so you can feel like a dad after missing it all in the first place.

Mom and I, we had plans. She had bought a house. She was going to move near me, be a grandma, see my kid grow up, be there for her. For the lost teeth and the outgrown shoes and the school plays. That's all gone up in -- not a a puff of smoke, but a steady stream of twisted cells multiplying silently. So she'll go, and my kid won't remember her, and we'll have a photo or two of you, the grandpa she's hardly met, and at some point I will say to her, it's OK, honey, I hardly met him either. But your grandma? She loved you to pieces. She was there when you were born and she held you and rocked you and did your laundry and laughed with me about how stupid cloth diapers were, and she bought you your first clothes and your swim lessons and all your shoes till she died, and she put money away for college. She loved you. She was there for you. She hated not being able to see you grow up more than anything.

And Daddy, you'll never know any of us.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Prayers and comfort and love to you, my anon friend. I understand.

Anonymous said...

You put into words what the kids in my family fear. We are all so close to mom, we don't know what we will do if she goes first. He will become another obligation to take care of, like a sick uncle you kind of know.
Thanks for kind of saying it out loud for the rest of us who are thinking it.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry you are losing your only parent. Many hugs to you, and your child.

Anonymous said...

You could have written this about my dad. My dad who was a good provider, but only parented us by yelling and punishing. The one we always (and still do) tried to avoid. He was supposed to go first so my mom could finally live her life. Now we are losing our mom to Parkinson's and won't get her chance and my kids won't really know her and then what. Life, it is not fair. And for my mom, it should have been.

I'm so sorry you are going through this. I know how much it hurts.

Nakamuras on Saipan said...

I am so sorry....I pray for your comfort and healing....this also reminded me of how life was with my former husband....he was never there for our children...seems like they could write something like this in the future about me...

Hayley said...

This made me cry. I'm so sorry. Sending comfort your way.

x o x o u i said...

I scrolled down just now to type in a comment about how you will carry all of your mother's love in your heart...and you can share it with your kids and their kids...and that LOVE never dies.

But you know what happened when I scrolled down? The funniest little word for "Word/Human/Not-a-bot Verification" showed up on the comment form in big, red letters: TATER.

I just think it's so funny to have a funny and cute word like that pop up when here I am trying to post something comforting for someone in need of a hug.

TATER! haha! Maybe it has some meaning... Were you your mother's little tater-tot? :-) Maybe it means nothing. Or maybe, in some small way, the universe wants to remind you that the laughter never dies either.

Anonymous said...

I lost my father...I don't remember him doing that much with me together, but reading this made me feel the pain of losing him. Honestly~ losing either parent SUCKS, because honestly, although you will miss your mom, you would miss your dad, too, if it were him, as well. Because, if nothing else, he was your daddy, the only one you had, and will ever have. So I am very sorry for you. I did not video tape my dad before he passed with his cancer. I thought he looked too sick. Stupid me. Two years later, how I wish I had some video of what he would want to tell my young kids who barely remember him now. Video your mom for your kid and future kids. They will always know how much she loved you and them. They will know the goodness they came from. God bless, and I am very sorry.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think your father set out as a young father to be a jerk and a failure? Do you ever ask yourself WHY he isolated himself, why he drank, what pain he dealt with that made him withdraw? Naaah--way easier to blame. Do you think your father, as a little kid, said he wanted to grow up to be a lousy father or grandfather?

Hating on grampa will not save grammy's life. It won't make you feel better either, once you come to your senses.

Take the time that's left, and find out why grampa is the way he is. You might learn something.

LoriBreathInToLive said...

I am afraid this exact article will be written by my daughter at my death....I've always been there for her, though somewhat lessened by illness...Proms, dates, concerts, band camp, three driver's license attempts, one dl achieved...I was there....I feel sorry for her dad who missed it ALL

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the love and comments. Except Anonymous 9th comment. I know why my father was a lousy father. He had a lousy father. His father had a lousy father. Etc. He's told me ad infinitum, poor, poor him. He's told me more about his life than my mom ever did, or than I ever cared to hear. But it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to me anymore. My mother had lousy parents too, and she did it much differently. That takes strength of character, and not everyone has that. At least now I have a model for what it is.

And many thanks to the person who said to videotape my mom. I hadn't thought of that. She's still here, and I will.

BeckoningBalance~ said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing so deeply from your heart. I can relate to your sentiments and it isn't easy to speak such truth.

May I suggest to commenter number 9 and you that Addiction robs not only the people in their lives of a relationship, but it makes the alcoholic/addict emotionally unavailable to ANYone, even themselves. No, no child grows up saying I plan to be an addict or alcoholic when I grow up, but it happens. And along with addiction is an amazing amount of narcissism that allows the addict to hurt the people closest to them over and over and over again and keep a blind eye to it so they can keep the most important relationship in their life: their addiction of choice. The unfortunate reality is that some addicts never hit bottom and it is absolutely overwhelming to a wife or a child to see their partner or parent choose a substance and give the substance more time, energy and love than they give to their own family. Addiction kidnaps the addict and holds families hostage.

Bless your heart. I totally hear you and I think the more beautiful memories you can preserve with your mother the better. Wishing you and your family love and peace during this last stage of her life with the hope that it can be a beautiful time for all of you.

Anonymous said...

That made me teary as I read. I wish your mother peace and the both of you the happiest days in the time you have left together.

Anonymous said...

Yes Videotape! My mom will be gone 10 years in November - and while I have an awesome dad who is still here...my incredible mom, never knew my son or knew that I was going to be a mom...and I feel robbed. Guess we all have different things and I'm sorry for yours. But yes..videotape - I have none...none.