Monday, October 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Steve Jobs' sister wrote a eulogy.  It's posted in the New York Times and in reading it I cried.  I cried because I remember getting the call from my step-father that my mother was going home.  There was no more attempts at savior left from the doctors, that she was going home in peace.  That we needed to come home for her, for our last days as family.  That she couldn't call us to tell us yet, but he was disobeying her and thought we should know and she'll call us later.  But to pack, and to plan to be there tomorrow.  I remember the year she'd been fighting her cancer expecting that call.  I remember accepting it, pushing "end", sitting down, and realizing that my face was full of tears and fear.  Not fear of death because I know my mother had none, but fear of losing her.  Who do you call when your only parent left is not on this earth to guide you?  The person who held you when you were small enough to fit in her arms and even when you weren't.  

I was still missing my father, 15 years after his death.  I couldn't start anew with my mother. 

Those last 2 weeks as we waited were full of lots of laughter.  But every night we'd go upstairs to bed, my stepfather would sleep on the couch next to her hospital bed in the music room, and I'd pray she would be there in the morning.  I learned how to give her pain medicine, how to give her a shot as best I could.  I learned how to begin to sustain myself while feeling completely void.  I also learned to love my little growing baby with more appreciation than many people may ever understand.  I learned how to really love someone in those last few days of letting go.  I loved my husband more. My family. The little life inside me.

I held her hand those last few hours. I saw her receive peace after her priest came.  I saw her drift away.  I cried for my mommy like a little child.  Yet there was a peace in the house after she left us.  We ate and talked without fear, we laughed a little and waited for it to all begin.  This new life without her.  

I saw her face in my dreams and woke constantly seeking her out, hoping it wasn't true.  My sister held me when I woke panicked each time.  I listened to my baby's heart beat to calm my own.  His little rhythm inside of me, beating wildly while we mourned.  

It's been 317 days since she left us.  I never expected to miss her this much or think about her this often.  Losing her during this time in my life when I need my own Mother has perhaps been more difficult than watching her go.  I cannot believe it's almost been a year.  

It's hard for family to watch the life leave someone.  I hope to never do it again.  I'm not sure what is worse, losing someone with no warning or having so much warning you are waiting for the sadness to hit.  But I wish neither had happened.  I think about how different my life would be.  But I wouldn't have my husband, this beautiful and challenging marriage, our lovely and amazing son.  I wouldn't even know how to appreciate all of that and how lucky we are.  I have regrets.  But I want none of those regrets to be not loving my family enough, not being there, or not showing them I care.  I will sacrifice everything to look up at the sky during my final breaths and know that I gave all the love I had within me to those who matter most.  

Because that is a life worth living and dying for.  That is remembrance.  
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