Today is my mom’s birthday. At least I think it is, as I am not sure one actually has birthday’s anymore after they have died. She would have been 96 today. She is in a better place and no longer has to endure all the pain that she lived with for so long. She died seven and a half years ago and I remember so vividly her telling the doctors, “I’m done. I don’t want to fight all this anymore. I only want two things; to be with my husband and to not be in pain.” I remember being so proud of her for being able to say what she wanted. She wasn’t able to do that a lot in her life. And I also felt surprise that she did not say that she wanted her kids with her. After all, she always said that her family, dad and her children/grandchildren, were the most important “things” in her life. But she made her wishes known and it was up to us to honor them. This was a Friday afternoon in October. On the following Monday, she agreed to hospice and signed all the paperwork. My dad was released from the hospital on Tuesday of that week. I remember telling her that dad was back, as she was “out of it” at the time. She opened her eyes, smiled,and said, “tell him I love him.” Through my tears I did.
I got THE phone call on Thursday morning that she was “gone.” I had been with her constantly since Tuesday night. I left to take a shower and change clothes. I wasn’t gone more than 45 minutes, and she left us. No one was in the room. I think she wanted it that way.
I can’t say that my mom and I always got along. In fact, we didn’t get along at all until I was older, much older. Then we became very close. She would tell me that she could talk to me in ways she couldn’t talk to anyone else. I wonder if she said that to anyone else? My mom was a master at making someone feel guilty, I’ve never met anyone better at it! She was also passive-aggressive in getting what she wanted. She had a temper when I was a kid and if I did something to make her really mad, I knew better than to go around her the rest of the day. I know why, now; but I didn’t growing up. Of course, my temper could match hers back then, at least when I was a teenager. If I had been them, I would have put me in a “home” somewhere! I was an angry kid. I know why, now; but I didn’t growing up. But as time went on, we both mellowed. I think we both realized that life is too short to fight. And, I moved out and then moved away. That helped too.
I spent a lot of time with mom the week before she died. We talked about a lot of things. A few of the things she said stick with me. Some feel like they haunt me. But the one that I remember everyday is when she told me: “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss my mom.” I get it, mom, I get it.
Happy Birthday Mom! I hope that wherever you are, you are dancing and having a beer (or two) with all the ones you love!