The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
EPISODE THIRTY SIX: Betty…
This is about my mom.
It was a Saturday morning. Early. About 3:30. My phone buzzed. Normally I leave my phone on mute at night but that day was different. It had been different for a few weeks.
I rolled over and answered. On the other end was my sister. Through tears she told me the nurse just called her and said our mom was going. As that thought sank in, she told me to hold on because she had another call.
I knew what that call was going to be. Somewhere in the psychic part of my mind (that I believe we all have), that horrible bell rang. A slow, purposeful chime started to sound out. Blood started to pump through my ears and I felt the tears already starting to fall.
My sister came back on the line and through tears of her own and with a strained voice, she told me our mom was gone. After heart-felt condolences to her and a quick plan of what we were going to do that morning, we hung up. My wife was awake and heard it all. She held me as I cried for what felt like hours.
This is something that most of us will face in our life time. I’m no more special than anybody else in that situation. For the most part and for most people, we live with our parents during the formidable times in our lives, when we are learning from right and wrong, how to imagine and pretend and how small the world is.
And if we have good parents, they let us learn these things within a reasonable amount.
I can say mine were like that.
My mom had always been there for me. When I was little, she doted on me. Even when I went through my teenage years and rebelled. Not as bad as most but I did. She was there.
Even when I blamed her for my parents divorce and didn’t talk to her for about 10 years. I saw her once in a restaurant parking lot and I remember how cold I was. Somebody should have hit me in the head with a baseball bat. Not enough to kill me but enough to wake my butt up.
She still loved me.
After I got engaged to my first wife, she convinced me to talk to her again.
I did. I went over to her house for Christmas and it was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. Ever since that, she was back in my life.
I even moved next door to her when I got divorced. And it was good. I caught up on some time that I had stupidly missed.
I met my now wife, we moved in together, got married and during this time, we would visit her a couple of times a month. I’d bring the family and it would cheer my mom up.
She had got sick a couple times and we helped her through it.
Then she got sick for the last time. We found out she had colon cancer and went into the hospital for surgery to remove the cancerous part. After a while, they moved her into another hospital. I had hoped she would get better and be able to go home but that little psychic part of my brain told me something different.
I write all of that to tell you this.
My wife, my daughter and I visited her a few days before she passed. I didn’t know this would be the last time I’d see her alive. She was weak and smiled with a tired smile as I talked to her. Before we left, I told her I loved her and would see her again this coming weekend.
But, of course, I didn’t.
I feel I had made up the time that I missed in those ten years before. I feel I made up for them and then some.
But the moment of her passing, I’m not sure if I could ever make that up. Maybe if I had seen her the day before. But honestly, I still feel horrible that I was not there holding her hand and telling her that I loved her and how much I loved her being my mom before she went to the other side.
It’s a regret I live with everyday.
Since I’m the praying sort, I have prayed to be forgiven and hoped not only the Big Man would hear but she would hear me, too. And I hope that maybe someday, I’ll get word from ‘up high’ saying it’s OK.
I think about it a lot. I have had great days, everything is going right and I’d think about that and my heart would falter and sadness would creep in. Just writing this, I’m thinking about our last visit together and wishing that it hadn’t been. I’m thinking about that last kiss I gave her on her forehead and the kisses I got when I hurt myself when I was little, the goodnight kisses. The kisses I got when I did something good. The kiss I got when my daughter was born.
And that last kiss…
Until I see her again.
I have had dreams about her. She was just there and it was like she had never left. Any time she’s in my dream, it’s never a bad one. And when I wake up, I’m so very glad she was. A bit of depression creeps in because she is gone, but I do get to see her again in this life because of those dreams.
There are times she weighs heavy on my mind. Watching a movie or a TV show and a situation in it will parallel this same situation. It breaks my heart. Even some of those sappy commercials will do the same thing. Videos on Facebook will have me groaning and make my heart hurt.
But there are things that I must face as much as I don’t want to. And these are not bad things. A sense of over-charged humility keeps me from doing so.
I’m a good person. I really am.
I’m pretty good at reading people.
I believe I’m a good father and husband.
I’m a decent writer.
I think my mom knows that.
And I know that my mom forgives me and loves me with all of her heart.
At least, that’s what that little physic part of my mind says.
I just need to listen to it.
Maybe someday…I will.
Oct. 7th 2016
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.