A Possible Visitation

Yesterday, my niece and nephew came for a visit. I had them help with a few things while they were here including taking my mom’s bed apart. Seeing the pieces of the bed my mom has slept in for over 40 years was very emotional but having to walk by it every day had gotten to be much too painful and I knew it was time to remove it. Hours after they had left when I was getting ready to go upstairs for the night, I went into my mom’s room and looked at the dark empty space where her bed had been and asked if she was okay with my removing her bed. I wasn’t expecting an answer, how could she answer me? Taking one last look, I went into the front hall and turned on the lights, one in the downstairs and one in the upstairs. Climbing the stairs, the light behind me blinked on and off one time. “Once for yes, twice for no.” flashed through my mind and I stopped mid-step dumbfounded. Could it have been her? I don’t know. There was no accompanying cold or air or feeling like she was there, but I’d like to think it was a sign from her — a sign that she’s okay with me moving on and changing the house to suit my new needs. It’s also comforting to know that her spirit is still around watching over me.

A Christmas Haunting

The closer Christmas approaches

The more I feel you near.

Memories won’t stop unfolding

And it’s leaving me in tears.

You’re ghosting all the corners

Of every single room

Tis the season of light and merriment

And I’m deep in grief and gloom

I’m hearing snatches of your voice

As if your still here with me

I see the brightness of your love

in the lights on the Christmas tree

I don’t know how to do this

The holidays without you

How do I heal this ache in my soul

And figure out what to do.

 

This poem doesn’t want to be finished. I’ve been trying for several days now, and this is where it wants to end. Maybe once I get through this challenging time I’ll be able to look back and come up with an ending, I don’t know.

Happy Birthday, Mom

Swedish princess cake

Today would have been my mother’s 88th birthday. She was born in Stockholm, Sweden and every year for her birthday she had to have a Princess Torte (cake). A Princess cake is a Swedish dessert with white cake surrounded by layers of whipped cream, raspberry jam, and a thick cream filling, surrounded by a cover of green marzipan (almond paste), dusted with powdered sugar with a frosted pink rose on top. When we lived in Massachusetts, my sister would drive to Worcester to The Crown Bakery and get one for her every November. Once we moved to Maine, that became too much of a drive, so poor mom was deprived of her cake for a couple of years. Then last year, I found a European Bakery near where we live and to my surprise and delight, they sold princess cakes. I arranged to get one for her, and she was absolutely stunned when she saw it. She ate the entire 8-inch cake herself over the next week and said she wanted more. Last spring when she was in the hospital I got one for Mother’s Day to make it more special. It was one of the last solid foods she ate before she passed. I’m missing her incredibly today but having the memory of last year’s successful surprise is helping me immensely. So, happy birthday mom, wherever you are, I miss you incredibly, and I love you like crazy.

Taking Care of Myself

The last few days have been particularly rough for me. The realization that Thanksgiving, a holiday my mom loved, will also fall on the six month anniversary of her death has hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve allowed the grief to take the reins for now and haven’t been able to do too much more than recover from the endless crying I’ve been experiencing. I’m not posting this for sympathy, it’s just the reality of my life right now. It’s important to allow my grief to take its course and be patient with myself during this healing process. I’m not sure if I’m going to be posting much over the next little while and I wanted to let you all know why. It’s time to focus on myself and being careful with my feelings and not pushing myself past what it’s able to do during this time.

Primal Grief Observed

Never have I felt this

Lack of control

Over my emotions.

I have been reduced

To a quivering,

Gasping

Shell,

Drowning in the

Ocean that falls

From my eyes.

This need to

Have her back

Is all-consuming

I’m vaguely aware

Of the pleas

Tumbling from my lips

Please send her back to me.

Please send her back.

I gulp in the air only to have

The wracking sobs

Steal it back again.

My pain so tangible

Yet I feel numb to it.

Minutes feel like hours

Until the wave finally passes

And I am deposited

Bonelessly onto the

Still unfamiliar shores

Of this cold new reality.

Primal Grief

This week has been difficult for me, regarding my grief process. My mom loved certain television shows and one in particular, “The Good Doctor” had become one of her favorites. I have been a fan of Freddie Highmore for years, my mom became a fan when we watched “Bates Motel.” This week was the second season premiere of “The Good Doctor,” and I knew it would be hard to watch, but once again I underestimated the power of grief. About halfway through the episode, I turned to ask my mom what she thought and froze. The room felt so empty, and I felt so alone in that instant that I started to cry, and then I just couldn’t stop. I tapped into the primal side of grief and just sobbed and wailed and begged whoever could hear me to allow my mom to come back again.  Afterward, when I was a gasping blob on the sofa, I felt more drained than I ever have before. It wasn’t just the television show that brought this on, last weekend was the 4-month mark since my mom passed. Having it be one-third of a year since she died felt like a substantial milestone. Now I am looking forward, with dread, to the upcoming months which will have her birthday, the first holiday season since she passed, and my birthday in January. I wish I could just crawl under the covers in November and not come out until next February. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get through it, it’s going to be the hardest time of my life. There are a lot of dark days ahead, but at the same time I know I’m going to get through it because even though my mom isn’t with me in person anymore, I know she’s still around. She’s still with me, watching over me, and that helps.

Weighed Down

This grief, depression, whatever it is,

Has been weighing me down for days.

I try to move to shake it off

But it just wants to stay.

It’s been fed by trauma

And many have I had

Lately my life seems to be

Less good and more bad.

So now I just sit here

And feel life slipping by

Not caring, full of apathy

Only managing to cry

Waiting for this wave to crest

To ride it back to shore

Because I still have hope

There are still good days in store.

Ghost at the Medical Building

I returned to the medical building today where I had taken my mother so many times. It was the first time I had been back there since my mom passed away and, as I walked along the curved sidewalk, I was overwhelmed by memories of pushing her wheelchair towards the door. I felt like her ghost was everywhere as I walked inside. I could still see her waiting in the lobby while I went to get the car. Or in the laboratory waiting room, fretting that her wheelchair was blocking the walkway. I was not prepared for how sharp the dull ache in my heart would feel.