Monday, February 10, 2014

I miss my mommy. (A daughter's grief observed, three months on)

On the evening of November 5, 2013, I got the phone call that forever changed my life.

It was my son Justin, calling from Texas where most of my family lives.

When I saw his picture on my phone, I expected a light-hearted chat.  But the first thing I heard sounded like some sort of static. I later realized it was the sound of him crying.

When he was finally able to speak, I heard the terrifying words, "I don't have any details, but Uncle David says Momo is unresponsive, and it isn't good."

That was a little over three months ago, and I'm still navigating an ocean of grief.


The sudden death of a loved one is different from other deaths. I'm not saying it's worse, just a bad way.

I don't discount or minimize the grief that lasts for years, seeing a loved one waste away slowly, perhaps in pain or not themselves. That's what happened with my dad. The loss is no less of a loss, and carries its own brand of heartache.

But the death of my mother...with no warning, no inkling other than that she was 80 years old and had high cholesterol...gobsmacked us.

 In my father's case, we were able to peruse hospice literature that readied us for the end. We were able to gather around him and say our final good-byes. We were as prepared as one can be for the death of a loved one--which, granted, is never prepared enough.

 But we were able to release him to heaven and not feel sucker-punched.


One thing we cling to is the apparent peacefulness of her death.  She laid down for her usual afternoon reading session that usually resulted in a nap. She had fallen asleep and died of cardiac arrest. No trauma, no pain...she simply went to sleep and woke up in heaven.

And yes, we are so thankful for that. We are completely cognizant of and grateful for the blessings...that she never suffered, didn't linger in the throes of a painful and debilitating disease. We rejoice that she's with my dad and all the loved ones that have gone on before.

But my mother...oh, my mother was amazing, wonderful, everything a mother should be. She was central to our existence. She was the hub around which we all gathered. She was the matriarch. Her unconditional love, her joy, her encouragement, her support, her smile, her faith, her grace--essential to our lives.

An ocean of grief

I said earlier that I'm navigating an ocean of grief.  Some days are relatively smooth and fair, others are stormy and tumultuous.  It's unchartered territory for me, because the pain is much more acute and shattering than was (and is) the grief for my beloved father.

We siblings ask, almost rhetorically, "When will this pain end?" "When will our grief settle down and become manageable?"

The truth is, on any given day, at any given moment, I could cry for my mother.

Sweet friends who have been through the same thing try to give us light at the end of the tunnel.  I look forward to a time where it won't be so raw, so painful to the touch, where tears will be few and far between.

I also look forward to the day that I'll see both my parents again.  If I didn't have this hope, this faith, I don't see how I could carry on at all. How do people do it who don't have this hope?

In the meantime...

I just miss my mommy.


Lea said...

Oh, Cindy, I so, so understand what you are going through. My Mom died the same way on Dec. 1, 2008. I was with her that afternoon and all was well with the world. My Dad called at 9:30 that night to tell me that she had just had a massive stroke. She died 36 hours later, but never regained consiousness. It was just awful!! I struggled for so long with all that had happened and finally sought Christian counseling to assist me in my grief journey. I can finally say that I have come through to the other side of my grief and it is such a good feeling. Yes, I still and always will miss her but it is not an all consuming grief as it use to be.

The Lord really helped me to see how blessed we were that she went so quickly and did not suffer and we did not have to watch her suffer. Tough in that there was no time to prepare but as I've watched my Dad these past 3 years suffer, I'm truly thankful for the way she went.

May you find His peace and comfort more and more each day as you grieve. As a dear lady said to me, "you will never get over this, but you will get through it." Bless you!

Unknown said...

My momma died in my arms at Wyoming Medical Center on July 13, 1989. It was no ordinary day...the temp that hot summer day was 108 degrees. She had multiple health problems, but no one thought it would be THAT DAY...It had become to the point that I could no longer be near her without crying...I was losing my momma! Like sands in the hour glass, so was my mommy's life. Before that day, we traveled alot, cashed in 3 of her life ins. policy's and blew money like crazy. This was going to be the END. Sighs....when the end came....I had to tell the medical ppl at the ER to disconnect all their fancy equipment...that this WAS not what she wanted. I wrapped my arms around her lifeless body and said "goodbye" for now. She took her last breath in this life wrapped in my arms. I spent the next few months in a daze...drinking too much and being very depressed, Finally, my 5 yr old daughter said " still have me" and my daughter (now age 29) went on a new journwy without my mother. It was hard and still is. Time WILL LESSEN YOUR PAIN. I am now a grand mother myself and so GLAD, Love to you and all your family~~~~Lorene (a friend of Bev's)

Marie-Thérèse said...

Dear Cindy, My sincerest and most heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beautiful Mother. Mine passed away in June in much the same way -- peacefully in her sleep. What a blessing it was for her and for your Mom, even though it's such a shock for those left behind.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


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