My mom is gone. My mother passed away. Mom died. I feel like I am having to say these words over and over and over. Then again that is the mantra on repeat in my soul too. At the beginning of December my mother had a seizure out of nowhere. She was a healthy, relatively young woman at 57. She ended up in a coma in the ICU. She was diagnosed with encephalitis. It turned out that diagnosis was wrong. She, in fact, had two large and aggressive tumors in her temporal lobe. She did 8 weeks of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. The tumors blew through all of it growing .5 to 1 cm each and she developed a new tumor. She also developed and infection in her spine and in her brain and about two weeks after finishing chemo and radiation my Mother died.
My mother died.
My father died when I was three.
The grandparents who raised me are dead.
My mother’s only sister died of cancer when I was 14.
My father’s family doesn’t approve of me and has little to do with me.
In many ways it feels like who I am, who I was, died with my mother. There is this gaping painful hole inside of me. I keep being told that it has only been a month and to “be gentle” with myself. I feel so alone. I feel incredibly lost. I just want to go somewhere in the woods alone for a week and find myself again.
But I am a mother and a wife and I am needed here. I am screaming in my head for space but I don’t get to have space. I have to keep going. I have to keep doing the same things as if anything is still the same. I am not doing a very good job of that. My house is a disaster. I go to the store for whatever I need that day but in general I haven’t genuinely been grocery shopping in a month, maybe more. We have food mainly because, before (the great Before), I had a habit of grabbing extra just in case something happened. Well, something happened. My entire world exploded. It was less than 6 months from the time Mom had that first seizure until she was gone. That 6 months is a giant fuzzy blur.
I was so far away for the time she was sick. She lived on the East Coast and I live on the West Coast. My siblings and step father took care of her but I was the one closest to her. I should have been there. But I could no more drop my family and it’s needs then than I can now when I need space to grieve.
I have lost so many family members and friends that I thought I knew what grief was. Even all the miscarriages I have had come no where near what it feels having lost my mom. This pain is more than I ever imagined grief could be.
I feel like I let her down.
I keep going over things I regret and wish I had never said to her or that I’d never done.
Mom and I were really close in the past 12 years but before that our relationship was beyond strained. I went a full year without speaking to her after I moved out. I know I was justified. I know that it was important to set that boundary and let her know that, unlike my siblings, I could be pushed too far and I would walk away. It is part of what helped our relationship grow in the last decade, those boundaries. I know all of this but I still regret that time I lost. It is hard knowing intellectually I have nothing to feel guilty about but my emotions scream other things at me.
I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. My mother wasn’t my identity. My relationship with her wasn’t my identity. I had actually spent a good amount of time making sure that the manipulations of our past weren’t a part of my identity. So why do I feel like I am falling, flailing for a handhold, and wanting to stop everything I used to be. I want to rip off everything I was, set it on fire, and start again.
I am an orphan at 32. My siblings who remain don’t understand me at all. They judge me much like what remains of my father’s family. I find that just deeply exhausting and I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I have no emotional bandwidth left for other people’s bullshit anymore. I know that is causing strain in my marriage and strain in my relationship with my kids. My son has ADHD, Anxiety, and SPD. I am usually the one who handles his meltdowns and his behavior and I. Just. Can’t. right now. I’m trying so hard to access that loving compassion I have always used to deal with him and instead it is just pure frustration.
I need the world to stop for me. I know it won’t but I need it to stop just for a little while so I can grieve and re-group. So that I can deal with this new reality. So that I can find who I am now and reconcile her with who I used to be. I am so tired but I can never sleep. I am searching for something that is just gone. There is nothing to fill the hole in my life and I don’t have the time and space to figure out how to heal what is left behind.
My mom went off the rails when she lost her mom. Seriously off the rails with horrific consequences that, more than 20 years later, my family is still dealing with. I don’t want to do that but I can really see how she got to that point.
Most days I am just struggling to breathe.