Mom died six years ago today. I've been too busy most of the day to really dwell on it, but it's been pushing at the back of my mind all day. I know I shouldn't be sad that she's gone. That's selfish of me. Because what I'm most sad about is that I don't have her here with me. I should be rejoicing. She's with Jodi now. And she's finally gotten to know the little baby boy she lost long before I was born. I know Mom and Jodi are laughing and joking and so happy to be together now. But it still hurts, I still miss her. Well, I miss Jodi, too. I miss them both so much, but I can admit I miss Mom more. I knew her longer, and on a different level. I was just about Jamie's age when Jodi died. So I knew her as a sister knows her hero. I didn't really know the "real" Jodi. I knew and loved what I wanted her to be. With Mom, I knew her as a child first, but then as a woman and a best friend. Yes, we got on each other's nerves, and there are countless times we hurt each other. But as the old cliche says, "we hurt most the ones we love best", or something like that.
I have a lot of regrets when it comes to Mom and her illness. Maybe if I write them here, I can finally let go of the guilt. Maybe I can finally forgive myself for being a selfish chit in her last days. See, Mom was already in the nursing home when I had my birthday. I was working that day, and I was too tired after covering a whole bunch of stories, literally running all over the state that day. So I was too tired to go see her. I didn't go see my mother and tell her "thank you for my life" on my birthday. The last birthday I had that she was alive to see. I think part of me was in denial that she would really die. I kept thinking she'd suddenly just get better one day and get to come home. I'd have my mommy back, and Jamie would have his grandmama. Everything would be just the way it was before our lives were turned upside down. So I ignored how imperative it was that I go see her that day. True, I went and saw her the next day, but I missed that crucial opportunity to tell her just how much I appreciated all the sacrifices she had ever made for me and for Jamie.
My last moment of shame and guilt: When Hospice called to tell me Mom was dying, I didn't go see her. I had been out there earlier that day. Mom was pretty far gone - the cancer had eaten into a lot of her brain. She was in pain, so the nurses had her on a morphine drip. So she wasn't coherent. I don't know if she knew we were there. But just before we left, I hugged her so hard, and I told her that if it hurt too much, and if she couldn't face the pain anymore, that I wanted her to "let go". I told her not to try to hold on any longer if it was too hard. I told her it was okay to let go. She looked me square in the eyes then. I hugged her harder than I have ever hugged anyone in my life. I held her for as long as I could, but then Jamie started fussing (he wasn't quite 3 yet) and we had to go.
That night, I had some severe pain related to my own health condition at the time, so I took some pretty stout narcotic pain killers. About an hour later, Hospice called and told me to come, that Mom was about to slip away. I couldn't drive in that condition and Jamie's babysitter wasn't home. I wasn't about to drive on narcotics, much less with my toddler in the car. So I couldn't go. I wasn't there when my mother died. Mom didn't have anyone who loved her there to hold her hand when she died. I take that back, she did, Jesus was there, and I know He took her in His arms. But I should have been there too. And I still feel guilty over it. I don't want my mom to think I didn't love her. I did. She was my best friend in the whole world. I loved her so much. I do love her so much. I still miss her with all my heart. And yet I wasn't there with her when she died.
Yet again, I'm not there with her. I can't be there to put flowers on her grave today. I'm not there to talk to her and tell her how much I love her. How much my heart hurts not having her here with me. How it hurts me for Jamie to not have her in his life anymore. Her grave is 1200 miles away. I just hope someone remembered to take her flowers today. Yellow roses were her favorites.
I love you, Mommy. I'll always carry you in my heart.