When my Dad passed away about two and a half years ago it was very sudden. Even though he had a heart attack twelve years before and was told at the time that he wouldn’t live longer than six months, we had kind of put it out of our minds. We knew he needed the bypass surgery, but we also knew it was his decision to make and we had to be okay with that. It was a heart attack on a Saturday while we were on the way to see our son. Instant. No lingering in a hospital or a nursing home. The way he wanted it.
When my Mom passed away a few weeks ago it was shocking, but not surprising … if that makes any sense at all. My kids are between the ages of 24 and 20 and they don’t remember a time when my Mom was healthy. The list of ailments was so long we would often forget some of them when filling out paperwork for her at doctors’ appointments or at hospitals. That’s just the way it was. It was our normal.
I honestly expected she would make it through the holidays. I thought we had more time.
I’m now getting used to a new normal.
I forget that I don’t need to drive over and check on her in the evenings … making sure she took her nighttime meds, checked her blood sugar, ate dinner and gave herself insulin.
When it storms, my first thought is a prayer that we don’t lose electricity and she doesn’t lose the use of her oxygen machine … and then I remember she doesn’t need that now.
She was in and out of the hospital and nursing home for the past several months, which became the new normal of visiting her as often as we could. We never really had time to adjust to that before she was gone.
So for the past few weeks I’ve been in a slight daze … concentrating on the things that do matter like:
- taking care of myself (getting more sleep and eating to feel better)
- helping (NOT enabling) my kids with stuff they’re figuring out
- talking (REALLY talking) to people
- being quiet and still (porch sitting, breathing and reading)
- being kind, because everyone is dealing with something
- letting things go that I can’t control
I quickly realized that there were lots of things that just didn’t matter like:
- whether or not my nail polish was chipped
- dishes in the sink
- dirty laundry (not so bad that we ran out of clothes or the house started to stink)
- eating leftovers
I still forget that Mom is gone, but I know in time I’ll adjust to my new normal.
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