Saturday, February 9, 2008

Remembering My Mom 4/18/32 - 02/09/01

My Mom was diagnosed with end stage renal disease in 1997. As the only 'girl' it fell upon me to be her sole caregiver. A task that takes its toll on a person but at the same time allows you to have the necessary time to mend whatever needs to be mended.

I remember so clearly, as if it were only yesterday, what happened to me one morning. My Mom had decided that she wanted to drive herself to dialysis while she still had the ability to drive. So, against my better judgment, I agreed to let her try to do as she wished. One particular morning, she let me sleep in and went on to dialysis. She left around 6am, as usual, and I awoke around 7:30. I remember waking up to a very still and quiet house and as I lay there in bed I thought, "This is what it will feel like if Momma were to die" and I started to cry. I cried all morning and when she returned home, I was sitting on the porch waiting for her. She wanted to know what was wrong and why my eyes were swollen and red. I made up some lame excuse about not feeling very well, but she didn't buy it. She knew me all too well. She looked at me in a Mother's knowing way and asked. "Were you feeling all alone and thinking that one day you will be...when it's time for me to leave you?" I started to cry again and told here she was right and that I loved her with all my heart and didn't want her to die and leave me. She reminded me that I knew what the inevitable was, that she could not go on much longer in the shape she was in. It didn't make it any easier for me to accept, but that day was a huge eye opener for me.

I was her care giver for 4 years, the last 2 of which she was very sick. I suppose I foolishly thought if I stayed by her side and cared for her, she would be OK. Sometimes I get to thinking about it and I find myself wondering 'what if'. What if I had called 911 just 2 minutes earlier on that last Sunday when she was taken to ICU. What if I had stayed with her the following Friday morning instead of coming home to get some rest after spending the last night of her life with her...sitting in a chair by her bedside in the hospital and listening to her moan with uneasiness.

Her Doctors have all told me that I did everything humanly possible for her. About 2 weeks after she passed, one of my brothers said to me, "She's gone....get over it." My youngest brother never has said very much at way or the other. I know they have lost their Mother and miss her too, but it hasn't drastically changed
their lives. They just know she's no longer where she used to be.

In the first few months after she died, the difference for me was that I felt like I had to keep moving just to keep breathing. I didn't want to go anywhere, but I didn't want to stay at home either. I didn't want to stay awake but I couldn't sleep. I still have trouble sleeping, I haven't slept though the night in years. During her illness, I would get up several times during the night to check on her. After she died...I found myself doing the same thing. I got really scared when I awoke one morning....and was in her bed....with no knowledge of how I got there. I don't do that anymore....I switched bedrooms.

I pray for peace of mind, but my heart it still breaking. I might as well be Cody's age again (my grandson)....because it's NOT alright. I miss my Mom. It's like the amputee that feels phantom pains where the missing part used to be---my brain (my heart) keeps sending out impulses, waiting for a response, but no response will ever come. One of my clients told me that I seemed to be handling her death and my grief very well. I told him that I was not handling it well at all. If I let my grief spill out no one would be comfortable with what they would see.

You've heard the song, Shout, Shout...Let It All Out. Well, sometimes that's what I do. Then there are times, like when I'm in the shower....that I cry. It's a safe place where no one can hear me and the water can wash away my tears. Other times, like when I pass by the dialysis center or the hospital, I feel the pain all over again and I weep silently. I'm reminded of the night I left my Mom there, never to bring her home again. I think about my drive home from the hospital that night on February 9, 2001 and to be honest....I am not even sure how I got home.

I don't know how long it will take me to get better at coping with the loss of my Mom. I do know that she left a void that no one else can fill. I still miss her very much. I miss her on Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, her birthday...even on my birthday. She always had a way of making me feel special on my birthday....I miss that.

I don't have any regrets. Any sacrifices I made were well worth the time I got to spend with her. The thing is - I became so close to her that after she left me....I had to learn how to live again....without her. hasn't been an easy thing to do.

Rosie O'Donnell doesn't know it...but she and her TV program played a huge part in helping me to cope and to heal. For one hour each day...I could laugh again. It was bittersweet though because my Mom was a Rosie fan too and we used to watch The Rosie O'Donnell Show every day. It didn't matter how sick Mom was, we never missed watching. Some day I hope to thank Rosie in person....for saving my life.


Anonymous said...

Patty, what you have written about your beloved mother really moved me to tears, and had me thinking about my own mother, who left this earth too soon also. No matter how old we get, we always need the love and approval that only a mother can provide. I hope you do get to meet Rosie one day to tell her that she helped you in your healing process with the loss of your dear mother. -Easypz

brian said...

Hello Patty. Being a huge Rosie fan, I came across your blog a few months ago. I have checked in from time to time and enjoy your words about our beloved Ro - it's nice to know I'm not alone, with all the negative coverage of her out there.

I felt compelled to write to you after reading this blog entry about your mother. I lost my mother when I was 16. When you wrote about your mom knowing the real reason that you were upset I felt very touched, for my mother knew me well like that too.

I, too, used to heal by watching Rosie's show. I used to get home from high school, put my pajamas back on, and pop in the VHS tape I had used to record her show that day. It helped and I feel that I also owe Ro a "Thank you."

It feels good to connect with you, a fellow blogger, I hope you feel the same way. Even though I am a 21-year-old male college student, we definitely have some common ground.

Peace out, stranger-friend.

Patty said...

Hello Brian,
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. You are welcome here any time.

I am so sorry to read that you lost your Mother at such a young age. The pain of losing a parent is like no other.

I really don't know how I would have coped without TROS. As I said, she gave me an hour each to laugh again.

Yes, we are many years apart in age but we do share some common ground.

Peace Out, stranger-friend.

Anonymous said...


What a touching tribute. I lost my mom in May of 1998. The statements you make really hit home. As you said, I might as well of been 12 years old than 42 when she passed away. I cried so hard and always wondered why her. It took me months of grieving before I was able to cope with her loss. Now, as I think of her it brings a smile to my face as I now remember all the great times we had and her infectious laugh. Thanks again!


Snooker said...

What a lovely tribute... thank you so much for sharing what must have been a difficult and life-defining moment for you.

And how apropos as today I am mourning the death of a former boss and good friend. Four years ago she died while watching the premier of "The Passion of the Christ". It was an instant heart attack mixed with a brain embolism that took her life. This of course took place at the most emotional part of the movie... the Crucifiction.

The stunning if not scary part for me is that the "This Day in History" you have in your sidebar shows the release of the movie as what happened on this day... while for me "This day in history" is always the day I lost my dear Peggy.

Patty said...

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, it was a very emotional time for me and as you
The hardest part was holding my Moms hand as she took her last breaths and having the nurses tell me to tell her that "It's OK". They said it was what she needed to hear. Maybe it was...but those were the most difficult words I have ever spoken.
I am so sorry to read about your friend, Peggy. I said a prayer for you after reading your post.