Thursday, March 18, 2010

notes from a motherless child...

Who’s got a shoulder when I need to cry

I feel restless and I don't know why

Cry for help, but still feel alone

Like a motherless child a long way from home

730 days ago, i became half an orphan. and, while that's a lot of days to get used to it, i haven't. or, not entirely. i'm still no more able to talk about it, no more able to accept other people's sympathy or condolences. i'm still shifting into this role.

i still can't imagine that she won't be grandmother to my children, that i can no longer make fun of how her grilled cheese sandwiches never fully cooked in the middle. all those little and big things that make up one life lived.

when she was diagnosed with ALS in 2005, my mom decided that getting us all through her disease would be the best, and last, thing she'd accomplish here on earth. and she did it. she showed us how to suffer with grace, how to challenge and love God at the same time, and how to take care of each other as family.

even after 730 days, i can remember every minute of march 18th, 2008.

i remember the phone call from my dad and how i assumed my mom was in the hospital. until he said "I'm so sorry. There wasn't anything else we could do."

i remember driving home, stunned.

i remember seeing her.

i remember calling her best friend and breaking the news so God-awfully that i just couldn't make any more condolence calls.

i remember how kind everyone was - the food and cards and flowers and the overwhelming sweetness of people who knew her.

i remember that, sometime that day, we just started watching tv and laughing. because everything else just took too much effort. and it seemed odd and yet not.

the weeks and months after that were awful. i remember drinking a lot. i remember crying for no reason. i remember thinking that i'd always feel that way. i remember thinking, how can i possibly move on from here?

but, 730 days later, i have. sort of. i'm in a new place, surrounded by people i know my mother would love (when i was younger, she was always worried my friends weren't good enough for me), pursuing a vocation that i know she'd be proud of, taking risks just like she taught me to. knowing she'd be proud of me gives me some measure of solace. but knowing she'll never be able to tell me that, and i'll never be able to tell her how she inspired me to do all this, causes an untold measure of grief when i let myself think about it.

sometimes, this all just seems like a life meant for someone else, someone brave enough and strong enough to get through grief and build out of it a monument to a beautiful new world. today, i am too tired and do not feel like that person.

but, for better or worse, this is my life. and she, my beautiful mother, is one half of the foundation of this life. without her, i'll always be slightly off-balance, but it turns out, something beautiful can still be built. something she'd be proud of.

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