Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I miss you literally every, single day.  Just when I think things are getting a little better, I'm hit with a sound or a smell, and all the emotions come right back.

Anna's about to celebrate her 2nd birthday.  You wouldn't believe how big she's gotten.  And your curse worked.  She's just like me (perfect in every way).  A year ago, we were still hoping to get you home for her birthday.  A year ago, we were still fighting the good fight.

When I look back, I can see all the signs.  I can see that this was always going to be the outcome, but I still can't believe it.  I can't believe you're not here. I can't believe I can't just grab a coffee with you.  I can't believe you're not able to hold Anna or tell her how much you love her.  I know you loved spending time with her.  I can't believe Anna won't remember you.  She loved you so much.  You always made her laugh.

You were always the fun one.  You were goofy, quirky, spontaneous...different.  I always joked and called you my four year old, for you always had a very simple view on life.  Sometimes this was frustrating, as I didn't always want to be the adult,but you were fun.  You made me laugh.

I can't begin to tell you how angry I sometimes get.  Angry at what, I'm not sure.  The situation, maybe?  You, who never complained about an ache or a pain. You who helped me carry boxes to a third floor walk up.  You who trained for a 5k and a 10k just because you wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  You weren't supposed to go so soon.

And then there's the guilt.  When I was little, you always told me that if you ever lost me you'd shrivel up and blow away with the leaves in winter.  That last year was so hard for us.  There'd been so much hurt and so much misunderstanding and so much refusal to understand.  Did you think you'd lost me?  Did you just shrivel up?  If I had held you more, told you I loved you more, just sat and talked with you more, lost my temper less, would things be different?  Logic tell me there's nothing I could have done, but I still wish I'd done those things.

You know, and no one tells you about the anxiety that comes with all this.  If someone as seemingly healthy as you can be taken so fast, how easy can others be gone?  I find myself running farther and harder just to keep the anxiety attacks at bay.  And the attacks are worse than they were.  I find myself pacing, struggling to breathe properly, until I wear myself out and just want to curl in a ball under the covers.  Some have mentioned meds, but you know me.  That's just not my style.

In less than a month it will have been one year.  At this point last year you were already in nursing care.  Our visits at this point usually consisted either of me walking with you / wheeling you around the facility or, more often, sitting and reading while you slept.  If it were a Tuesday (like today) I would have stopped in after my early morning run.  I would have quietly entered the facility via the side door, said hi to the nurses, and gone to sit in your room.  You wouldn't be awake yet, so I'd just read until you woke up at which point you'd try to eat breakfast (although I can't really call what they gave you food) and we'd watch some t.v.  Then I'd tell you I loved you and leave to take care of Anna.  If I was lucky, I'd get to see you again that day.  If not, I'd see you tomorrow.

The last few weeks with you were the worst.  Being in the nursing home felt like being in jail.  I wanted to be home with my daughter, to snuggle her and take care of her, but I couldn't leave you.  I couldn't miss the opportunity to have one last good moment with you.  I knew what the final outcome would be, and yet there was always that bitch, Hope.  I kept hoping, praying for a miracle.  I'd tell myself that Daniel survived the lion's din, and David battled Goliath.  And when, at last, there was no more hope, at first I felt relief.  But now there's just disbelief.  Now there are the times that I forget that I can't just pick up the phone and call you.  There's the time when Anna was playing with my phone and almost called your old number.  I should erase you from my contacts, but I can't bring myself to do it.

I know this letter is rambling, but I thought you should know.  I miss you.  I love you.  I wish you were here.

Your Daughter Always