People Are Who They Are!

I Remember

I remember how she sat up so straight and crossed one leg behind the other and folded her hands neatly in her lap.

 

I remember how frightened she was heading off into surgery that day even though we were sure it was only an ulcer.

 

I remember hearing her voice singing softly as she went about her chores during the day and the girlish smile she would give you if you caught her because she was too bashful to actually sing in front of anyone.

 

I remember her looking at everyone and being able to tell we had all been crying when she woke up from surgery that day.

 

I remember it taking so long to tease her hair and someone always had to get in the only bathroom before she got finished so she would walk through the house giggling and making faces with her hair standing straight up.

 

I remember the fear in her eyes when she was told that she was dying of cancer and there was nothing they could do for her.

 

I remember how beautiful she was with her hair swooped up into a twist in the back when she did finish teasing it.

 

I remember holding her hand while we watched the medicine drip into her arm that would surely make her sick but might prolong her life.

 

I remember watching her and my stepfather slow dance in the living room on Friday nights when they couldn’t afford to go out.

 

I remember her crying like a baby when she didn’t want to take the medicine anymore and having to fight with everyone so I could just take her home.

 

I remember how important it was to her to always have a clean and happy house no matter what she did or didn’t have.

 

I remember having to learn to give her shots in her stomach to thin her blood and watching her put a pillow over her face so she wouldn’t see it coming.

 

I remember that even though she never had a nice house, she always said that you could make any house a home, and she always did.

 

I remember watching her wilt away like a beautiful flower deprived of sunlight.

 

I remember getting my coffee ready and calling her every morning for years and talking and laughing for hours sometimes about anything and everything.

 

I remember looking at the big bottle of morphine beside her bed and thinking that I could end her suffering easily, but always having that glimmer of hope that stopped me.

 

I remember walking in her house on Sundays and smelling dinner cooking.

 

I remember crawling up in the bed beside her in the middle of the night and cuddling her up to me the way she had done me when I was a child.

 

I remember walking through the yard with her as she told me the names of each flower or shrub that was blooming and why she planted it where she did.

 

I remember her being so weak her hands shook as she reached to wipe the tears flowing down my cheeks.

 

I remember how strong she was when she was divorced with five kids and left on her walk to the bus stop in her stockings and heels carrying her youngest, and a diaper bag and a purse.

 

I remember standing in my back yard screaming at God for letting this happen to her and begging him to either make her well or end it.

 

I remember laughing and giggling in the kitchen as she taught me how to cook.

 

I remember sitting in the dark beside her with my hand on her chest to feel her breathe.

 

I remember her laughing so hard she peed her pants when I dressed up one Halloween as an old man and she didn’t know it was me.

 

I remember my sister describing how she had bathed her and redressed her after she passed, before she called us all to come and see her one last time.

 

I remember watching her rock her grandbabies to sleep.

 

I remember a pain like none I had ever felt before knowing that she was gone and crying so hard I couldn’t breathe.

 

I remember the huge picture she embroidered while I was pregnant with my daughter and then how she worked feverishly on it while I was in labor.

 

I remember it rained the day we buried her.

 

God help me to remember and help me to forget.

 

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14 responses

  1. I deeply empathize.My paternal grandfather died to prostate cancer.My paternal grandmother died with Alzheimer's, not too far away from where I live now. I was helping my father take care of her, even during the time he first got really sick 18 years ago.I am struggling to help him and my mom right now. He has especially been in bad health of late. I'm not sure how well she's equipped to cope– besides the hardship it is now with my father, her own parents… well, Grandma has lost her short-term memory.My father-in-law had his gallbladder removed recently and they found it had cancerous cells. So both he and my father have some scans they need to have done. I'm not sure about my FIL but Dad leaves with Mom this Thursday for Seattle.I feel so adequately unequipped, struggling with my own health problems. The silver lining, I guess, is that my mental health treatment has been going very good and I am healing from my surgery pretty well.In the midst of all this, or I guess I should say in connection with this, I am trying to do what I can to resolve the very deep dysfunctional rifts both with my side of the family, and Cimmy's. I mean, learning to cope with it as best I can and to be a good person– I can't control any of them, of course.Apologies if this brings any sadness. My intent is not to hurt. But this burden… yes, yes, I know it.

    April 27, 2010 at 2:24 am

  2. Beautiful, Ladywise. Just beautiful, in every way. You told a beautiful story, in a heartfelt and skillful way. Thank you!

    April 27, 2010 at 7:20 am

  3. A lovely tribute. May you be blessed and your pain be lessened in time.

    April 27, 2010 at 8:58 am

  4. Beautiful and heart-rending. Life.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

  5. Oh Thank you Kimber. Thank you very much for taking the time to read it and thank you very much for the compliments.

    April 27, 2010 at 3:17 pm

  6. Thank you Steve, it is life, and death is part of life, like it or not.

    April 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm

  7. What a beautiful and touching post, Ladywise. The way you put the good memories in black and the hard hurtful ones in red was a wonderful way to express you pain. You have so many treasured sweet and wonderful memories of your mother. I am so glad for that. The memories you have off the time during her illness are heartbreaking. You expressed your anguish and hurt well. I am so very sorry that you had to experience the horror of watching a mother you loved die such a painful death. It makes me sad that you had to give the shots and watch your mother endure so much agony. I can only hope that my children have such wonderful memories of my time with them that you have of your mother. ((hugs, hugs)). Your pain makes me sad. The hugs are for you.

    April 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

  8. Oh Freedom, thank you so much. I always look forward to your comments any time I write anything. Let me tell you something, your children already have so many great memories of you. They are so lucky to have you. I read your posts all the time and I am just in awe that you can create so many good times for them as bad as I know you feel all the time. I am so hoping that they find something at Duke that will not just give you a better quality of life, but that will heel you completely. Hugs to you too honey.

    April 27, 2010 at 7:01 pm

  9. Oh, Ladywise, that was beautiful. I have tears in my eyes now. Thank you for sharing that.

    April 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

  10. Thank you Kimmers very much. I appreciate your tears.

    April 27, 2010 at 8:05 pm

  11. This is very well said. And it makes one think seriously about what to do with the time one has.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:33 am

  12. Thank you Scott. You are so right. My mother passed away almost 13 years ago and it was a total shock. We never had any idea that anything was wrong. She never complained and all of a sudden one day she was dying and 4 months later she was gone. She was only 62. It was very traumatic for us all and as you can see, I still have a difficult time with it. We do have to live each day to the fullest because you don't ever know when your final day will come.Thank you so much for reading this.

    April 28, 2010 at 8:29 am

  13. GOF

    Beautifully written and very, very moving.I hope that time will ease the pain a little.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm

  14. Oh thank you so much GOF. I really appreciate that. Thank you for reading it.

    April 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm

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