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|Posted: 22 October 2005 at 3:22pm | IP Logged
Please read the following short story I have written. It is over 5,000 words, but I don't know of any of it that I should or could leave out! Please review this for me and comment on anything. I would greatly appreciate it. Hope it pastes okay. Thanks, anyone!
“About Our Family”
Recently, after the unexpected and sudden death of my dear Mother, I was questioned by a coworker on how “not to be a daughter anymore.” This brought many thoughts into my head, and I think I replied to the question by saying, “One NEVER stops being a daughter.” I don’t believe I have yet realized the answer to that question, even though I knew my answer was proper.
How does one feel when they lose their Mother? I had often said that when the time came that my Mother would pass away, I didn’t think I could go on without her. She was the most loving person I know and taught her children to love God, praise him and live by the Bible to be happy. Knowing that, I still have a hard time once in a while expressing how I feel about her death. Of course, there is the saying, “The Love of a Mother; There is No Other,” and that would appear to be true; however, unless one has lost their mother, they cannot possibly know or feel what it’s like to know that their Mother will not return to this earth, and they must go on and live their lives as happy as they can. After all, this is the way my Mother would have wanted it to be. She was never afraid. The saying is true.
Some people naturally think that mothers are merely immortal. I certainly didn’t think it would ever happen in my lifetime, and I’m not certain why. I just knew that the love I had for my Mother was never-ending, and I guess I just thought she would always be around. She was always there for me, so I never gave it much thought.
My Mother was a devout Christian woman, making it to church every Sunday and sometimes during the week. Although she was 82 years old when she passed away, she always managed to go to church on Fridays with her dear friend, Ann, to fold church bulletins and go for lunch. She was extremely active for a woman her age, and she only had some minor health problems. Believe it or not, my Mother didn’t have any gray hair until well into her late 70s. Well, needless to say, I’m 52 years old, and the gray hair is there already. Gosh, I wish I had taken after her on that! Another thing – my Mother never, ever had to shave her legs. Why is that? How lucky can a woman be? She literally had NO hair on her legs…. smooth as silk. Truly, she was a genuine person!
My Mother had some traits that I would like to share with you. Oh, I know you’ve heard all the stories about people “back in the day” when they had to walk ten miles to school in six feet of snow with no shoes, uphill. NOT TRUE! However, the stories similar to that one still remain to this very day. Mom only completed the eighth grade. Back then, that was quite an accomplishment. After all, she came from a large family too. She had five brothers and two sisters, all of which predeceased her, the last one being only six months prior to her death and in the same manner, in his sleep. The stories I am about to tell are true. She told of the times when she washed clothes on a washboard or “scrub board” for a family of nine. This is true because I witnessed it. She always grew the most thriving garden anyone could want to see. I swear, she had that “magic touch,” and when it was canning season, us kids always got to “help,” much to our discontent. In a normal season, she would can approximately 1,000 quarts of bountiful food for her large family. Now, that’s quite an accomplishment. You see; we were not rich at all. In fact, I think we were considered “poor folk.” We would normally only eat meat on Sundays, which consisted of fried chicken. Being from the south, we got plenty of vegetables, beans, rice, etc. We were healthy though, and we appreciated what we had, even though it wasn’t much. I remember one year at Christmas, I got a $5.00 transistor radio, and I was elated! In fact, I think my brothers were jealous of me because I was the “baby” of the family, so I got more than they did, but you know what? I slept with that transistor radio on with the earplug in my ear, listening to music all night long. Oh, I was a music fanatic from Day 1, and I still am. Once I showed the desire for music, both my parents encouraged me to carry on with it. It was and still is a talent I truly love, and it was because of my parents’ encouragement that I still love music. I remember getting the lead in my high school play one year, and although my father wasn’t too crazy about having to pick me up late at night, he did, and my mother was very proud of me. It was a musical, and because my Dad was disabled, he could not attend, so he had me perform “just for him” one night at home, and he, too, was proud. I’ll never forget it. The memories continue.
My oldest brother had to quit school after his junior year to move north to Indiana to help my Dad find work. The family moved to Indiana, and this is where we spent the rest of our “growing up” years. Of course, I was only 4 years old at the time, so I don’t remember much about that time. My brother ultimately ended up moving out west, was a very successful businessman; however, suffered a string of heart attacks that almost took his life this last year. He is now retired and doing well. We thank the Lord that he made it through and is with us today. Ah, my “big brother;” a really great guy!
My Mom was always a “homemaker,” and she did it very well. We were all in school, and although we had to wear hand-me-down clothes, we were happy. Remember the old water bottles used to “wet down” clothing before you ironed them? Oh, and there was always the “starch” that you put clothing in to make it “look nice” after ironing. Heck, I could have stood those clothes up on the floor without a hanger, and they would have just stood there! Ah, what memories!
I also remember my oldest sister “not showing up” after school one day during her senior year. She and my oldest brother had always helped to take care of me, as I was the youngest, and there were many others to take care of back then. They told me that she had run away from home with her boyfriend, and I was simply devastated. As it turned out, she did go with her boyfriend to Chicago, and they ended up getting married. Oh, my Dad was fit to be tied, and my Mom was very sad, but, eventually, my Dad let us go visit her, and after that, everything was okay. I thought I’d never stop crying until I saw her again. I hope she doesn’t kill me for telling this story, but I’m “changing the names to protect the innocent.” As always, it all turned out “okay.”
My next-to-the-oldest brother quit school at age 17 to join the Army. He thought that’s what he wanted; however, it didn’t work out very well. I don’t think my Dad was too happy about that either, but, as always, everything turned out okay. However, he was the one that Mom said cried the most as a child. She said he threw tantrums and would roll down the steps if he were angry. She said she spanked him for 16 straight years! Oops! There I go again! Oh, well, I’m not mentioning any names. There are so many stories to tell that I could never list them all.
Oh, my older sister did graduate high school, as did my other two brothers and myself. I think the only two that graduated from the same school were my older brother and myself. Our parents were proud of us, however. My older sister worked for a while after graduating, then got married to a really great guy! She’s always been a homemaker just like Mom. I’m going to get to her later in the story because she’s an important one here.
My other brother, fifth from the top, had been in the Army for a long time, and he eventually fought in the Vietnam War. Now, imagine that! Do you remember how long the Vietnam War lasted? He ultimately ended up moving around once he returned, as he was injured during the war. You know, a lot of those guys came back sort of “not together,” and that’s what happened. However, eventually, he realized how important his family was, and, shall I say, “We are living happily ever after.” I remember one time; he was working as a teenager at a farm, where he would load bales of hay onto a loft in a barn. Well, he fell off the loft and broke his collarbone. Off to the hospital he went! He had to wear a brace for a while. Shortly thereafter, he was at home and doubled over in excruciating pain. Off they went again to the hospital. Next thing I know, he’s in surgery with a ruptured appendix. They said if it had taken much longer to get him there, the infection would have spread, and he could have died. We were so lucky he didn’t. I prayed and prayed, and it worked. He’s a really great guy! He ultimately “did our Mother proud!”
The youngest son of the family, the one just above me, moved out west to pursue his career. Although we ended up “scattered across the country,” we have always kept in touch and love each other even more today. He has gone through many back surgeries and now uses a cane. He will be retiring soon also. I remember one Christmas when he was about 16 and my other brother was 17, there were two packages under the tree, one for each, mysteriously wrapped. When they opened them, their eyes got as big as golf balls. Our Dad had gotten them each a carton of cigarettes, as he had found out that they had been smoking, and our Dad said, “If you’re going to do it, don’t hide it; do it in front of me.” Again – another “great guy.”
I graduated high school in 1971 and went to work for the telephone company as a secretary, later to become a draftsman for the company. By this time, my Dad had been disabled for quite a number of years, as he had back and leg issues and refused to see a doctor. After years of pain, he was rushed to the VA hospital, where they removed a blood clot. Yes, you guessed it; yet another tragedy. Two months to the day of his arrival at the hospital, my Dad passed away of a pulmonary embolism. He had been in a coma. We were all just crushed. My Dad was only 52 years old, the same age I am now. Gee, I can’t wait until I’m 53 because I think we’ve all wanted to jump right past that “52” mark. My second older brother was in the Army and needed a furlough to come home. My poor Mother was so depressed that she remained in the house for months on end. By this time, it was only my brother and myself taking care of our Mom in the “big farmhouse.” Times were hard, but we did it. It took a long time to get my Mom back on her feet again, but she did it. She even finally got her driver’s license at age 48. She was very strong. I worked for the telephone company, and my brother worked for the energy company, so we did just fine. I married and left the home first, at which time it was just my brother and my Mother.
After a couple of years, my Mom met this really nice man, whom she had known for quite some time actually, as his son was a friend of my brother in high school. His wife had passed away six years prior, and after they met, they started dating and discovered they had quite a bit in common. Six months later, they married. As I recall, we were all very happy for her, and this man we would eventually call “Pop.” He was easygoing, loving, caring and just a thrill to be around. He, himself, had four children, so our family grew to 11 children. We had the greatest times together! Later on, he lost his daughter to cancer. Pop was heartbroken. She wasn’t very old, and her children were devastated, as was everyone. She had suffered with her illness for so long. Tragedy struck yet once more. I always thought that no child should pass away before his/her parents, although I know I don’t really have a hand in this. By this time, “Pop” and Mom had moved back south after his retirement to enjoy their lives. They returned to Indiana for his daughter’s (my stepsister) funeral. It certainly was very sad.
I remember times when “Pop” and Mom would visit, arriving in their RV to stay for a while. Those were treasured Moments, as by this time, there were many, many grandchildren for them to love, and they truly did love their grandchildren. By this time, three of my brothers lived out west, while the remaining four of us remained in Indiana. Everyone would gather together, reminisce and just have fun. Sometimes, my children would go visit my parents for the most part of the summer, and oh, what fun they had! They will never forget the memories. “Pop” and Mom would take them everywhere, including Vacation Bible School. I remember my youngest two children even being baptized down south at my parents’ church. I still have the pictures. I think, last count, they collectively had 32 grandchildren, and they all loved Grandpa and Grandma dearly. Later on came the great‑grandchildren, and ultimately, great-great grandchildren. How lucky they were to have such a huge, loving family, and we were all lucky as well to have such wonderful, loving parents. Around this time, another tragedy strikes.
While visiting my parents down south one summer, “Pop” had become ill with what seemingly was a urinary tract infection. I remember going into his room, and he was in bed just shivering. I asked him a few questions, and after he replied, I knew he would need medical attention. He didn’t want to go to the hospital, but I insisted he go. Once there, he, indeed, had a severe urinary tract infection that invaded his kidneys. He was treated and sent home. This happened a couple of other times until, one day, his kidneys just weren’t healthy anymore, and he would require dialysis. We were all back in Indiana at this point, and three of my brothers lived out west, so all of this was left to my Mom. She cared for him, helped him to his wheelchair, took him to doctors’ appointments, etc. This was a lot of work, as “Pop” was a big man, and my Mom was rather short like me, or should I say I am short like her! We kept in contact by telephone. Later on, “Pop” required more intense medical treatment and was sent to another city for treatment. The doctors down there wanted to amputate his legs because the poisons had reached them. My oldest sister and her new husband had decided to take a honeymoon trip to Florida about this time. Her husband suggested that Pop and Mom’s house wasn’t that far away and that it might be a good idea to go there first, so they did. When they arrived, my sister was astonished at how poorly Pop looked, and she said Mom wasn’t looking very well either, as Pop’s care was fulltime and extremely tolling. She said they both had bruising; Pop from trying to go to the bathroom during the night by himself and usually running into things or falling, and Mom from trying to help Pop walk and running into things and possibly falling. Mom wanted to talk to my sister alone in the bedroom, so they had a nice talk. Mom and my sister cried because Mom said she didn’t know if she could do this anymore, as it was extremely tolling on her, and she was getting up in age too. My sister called my stepsister and informed her of the situation. My stepsister then called my other sister, and the decision was made to move them back to Indiana where we all were. We could then obtain better doctors for Pop; get him situated in a hospital and possibly save his legs. “Pop” was in a bad way, so we had them flown back to Indiana. The ambulance met them at the airport and transported “Pop” to a hospital here. I’m so glad they came back because the doctors here were able to save “Pop’s” legs. He had several toes that were “black,” so he did lose those, but he had his legs. My sister had found an apartment for them close to her so she could keep an eye on them and help them. He was able to go home; however, he would need his dialysis treatments on a regular basis. He was in and out of the hospital for quite some time, until one day he would need to be admitted into a care center due to the necessity of 24-hour care. We would visit him regularly, all of us, and he did enjoy that. From time to time, they let him out for a day, and he would go fishing with my brother. Oh, how he enjoyed that. He had so many operations to try and save his kidneys, but ultimately, there were to be no more. The doctors said they could try once more, but “Pop” said no; he couldn’t go through this anymore and not know if it would work. He was tired of it all. I remember the day vividly. They called and said they were going to disconnect him from everything, and within hours, we would lose him. We all traveled to the hospital to sit with him. I remember getting there around noon with my husband. My Mom was at his side. We took turns staying in the room, as there were too many of us to all be in there at the same time. My sister, her husband, my husband and myself fell asleep in the lounge, as my stepsister stayed in the room with “Pop.” Around 4:00 in the morning, we were woken to let us know that “it was time.” We all went to the room, and “Pop” was now peaceful. No, he wasn’t in any pain. He was medicated to prevent this. At age 82, “Pop” had passed away. He was in no more pain. My Mom had given him almost 27 years of her life, along with the 32 years she gave our father. Again, sadness filled the air, as we had lost our “Second Dad.” He was truly a wonderful man. His funeral was absolutely beautiful. My high school “best friend” and my husband and brother-in-law all sang at the funeral. There wasn’t a dry eye in the chapel. Even the funeral directors said that in the many years they had been there, this was the first time tears came to their eyes. Our “Pop” was the most wonderful man anyone would want to know, and his stories of “alligators,” fishing and many others lit up the eyes and warmed the hearts of many. I could go on and on with this tribute, but it would take forever.
At this point, my Mother was so saddened by his death, yet glad that his pain and suffering were over. She had had a fulfilling life, raising seven children, having four stepchildren, taking care of “Pop,” etc. She had grown up, got married, had children, raised them all the hard way, got married again, worked hard, loved, lived, laughed and was now alone. After his death, my sister moved her into another small, one-bedroom apartment about ten minutes away from her. She would now live in the very same apartment complex as an old friend of hers from many years prior. Imagine that! This lady’s husband had also passed away some years before, and they became very good friends again, just like before. Mom didn’t drive anymore, but Ann did, so they went to church together, shopping, went to lunch and just about everywhere you could imagine. Oh, what fun they had!
There was a routine. My sister, my Mother’s caregiver, would make certain Mom’s financial affairs were taken care of, i.e., monthly bills, expenses, spending money, medications, etc., and she did a very good job at this. Mom was around 77 when “Pop” passed away, so she needed this help. She was very healthy for a woman her age, and her ailments consisted of arthritis, asthma and just ordinary ailments, for which she took medications. Otherwise, for her age, she was a pretty perky woman. She loved to laugh, she loved to eat, and she dearly loved her family and God. I remember going to visit her approximately once every two weeks, and I would straighten up her apartment for her and do whatever she asked me to do. She dearly loved my husband, and on occasion, she would bake him a pecan pie, his very favorite. Do you think he would share? No! He likes food too! Everyone would visit her, and whenever someone walked through that front door, her eyes would light up like fireworks! She absolutely loved everyone. If one of us children would bring a grandchild (her great-grandchild), well, that was just the highlight of her day! She went to church every Sunday, and afterwards, she and Ann would go to lunch. It was a ritual. Believe it or not, on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, Mom would turn on the TV and watch her very favorite baseball games, with the Cubs being her favorite team. She would just rant and rave when they did poorly, and she knew all the players by name. Imagine that! What a great woman!
In 2001, we had more bad news. My oldest sister’s husband had been stricken with bone cancer. He had all the treatments and appeared to be doing better; however, on his last hospital visit, it was determined it had come back, and there was nothing they could do. I remember going to the hospital the day my sister had to tell him there was nothing they could do. He raised his head and said, “So, I’m going to die?” She replied, “Yes, honey, and I love you so much.” Once again, the tears rolled. He told her that he loved her very much and she said she loved him too. Her husband passed away shortly thereafter, and yet another funeral ensued. How much could one family take? Well, I’ll tell you, we’re a loving family, and we’re all strong. We stand by each other through thick and thin, and this was no different. John was laid to rest and no longer felt the pain he had suffered, and my sister’s love for him will never die.
“The End of Her Life Here on Earth”
It was a Monday morning in May, bright and sunny. I had gotten out of bed around 7:30 a.m. The first thing I do when I get up is sit at my computer and check my work emails and personal emails. I don’t drink coffee. My husband was sitting at his computer having coffee. We always need this hour to “wake up” and begin our day. A bit after 8:00 a.m., the telephone rang. My daughter answered the phone upstairs. I didn’t pay any attention because I thought the call was for her. I did note that she came downstairs. I looked around, and she and my husband were walking toward me. She said that it was for me and that it was her uncle, my brother‑in‑law. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I answered the phone, and my brother-in-law told me he had bad news for me. Already shaking, I asked him what. He told me that my Mother had passed away in her sleep. I remember distinctly asking, “Are you telling me that my Mother is dead?” He replied, “Yes, honey.” Chills filled my body, and I became almost lifeless and weak. How could this happen? I immediately asked him how, and he said she just passed away in her sleep. I asked him where my sister was, and he told me that my sister had gone over to Mom’s to take her for a regular appointment with the doctor for a checkup, and she found her in bed in her usual sleeping position. All I could think of was how shattered my sister must be, and I knew I must go immediately. I live about an hour away, and how could I get there in a split second? My husband is a wonderful man, and we dressed quickly and took off, leaving my daughter to call my other children to bear the bad news. I remember calling my sister at my Mother’s apartment on the cell phone, asking her to please not let the coroner or funeral home take her away before I got there. She promised me they wouldn’t. I had to see for myself, and I’m not certain why.
When I arrived, the coroner and funeral director were there, as were Mom’s friends and my sister. All I remember is walking in her room and seeing her lying there, lifeless. My heart was beating SO hard, and a feeling of terror overcame me. I realized that it was true. My Mother was no longer alive. I had been told, but for some reason, I needed to see for myself. Surely, this wasn’t a bad dream. Mom was healthy, and the day before she had gone to church, to dinner, watched TV and spoken on the phone with my brothers and sisters. The death certificate read “vascular collapse.” She just couldn’t go on any longer, and now, our Mother was in Heaven. It was merely her body lying there on her bed. My brother arrived at the apartment, along with my youngest son. The sadness that morning was unbelievable. I remember stroking her hair and holding her hand, telling her that I love her and that I would see her again someday. After my private Moments with her, I just shared a very big hug with my sister, as we both wept. We shared our hearts that day, and we would always love and remember our Mother and how much we loved her.
My other siblings came after. Three of my brothers lived out west, so they immediately booked flights to arrive the next day. Their hearts were also broken. Our older sister was at home, mourning our Mother’s death, and she would come later to be with us at my sister’s home. Once everyone was settled down, I remember being outside and seeing the coroner and funeral director wheeling my Mother out in a body bag into the van to transport her to the funeral home. They had asked if we wanted an autopsy, and we immediately replied, “No. We don’t want her to be cut.” After all, she was 82 years old, and she hadn’t had an operation in 50 years. In fact, that was the only operation she had ever had in her life, and that was a hysterectomy. We closed up her apartment and headed for my sister’s house. Later that afternoon, we would go to the funeral home to make arrangements for her funeral, which was not an easy thing to do, but had to be done. Everything we picked out was beautiful, just like our Mother.
Our brothers arrived that Tuesday, and the wake was Wednesday. This would be the next step in the process. I’ve always said there were three major steps in this process: 1.) When you find out about the death; 2.) When you actually view the person in the coffin, and 3.) When they actually lower the coffin into the gravesite. Each one shares in its sadness. The wake was on Wednesday, and the funeral home was lovely. It was extremely hard to see our Mother lifeless, although dressed in a beautiful blue dress that she had worn to two weddings of her grandchildren. Her hair was styled just like she liked it. Mom had thin hair, so the extra body in the styling made it appear thicker, and she loved that. Many, many people came to offer respects to a most wonderful lady. I heard her elderly friends whispering, “She sure does look good. When I go, I hope it’s just like that; in my sleep.” There were many beautiful flowers, and even my ex-brother-in-law and two ex-sisters-in-law were there. Our Mother played a major role in everyone’s lives, and I think it was very appropriate for them to pay their respects. After all, they were a part of our family at one time, and we all still get along. See how much my Mother affected everyone’s lives? They loved her dearly too.
The next day, Thursday, would be the funeral services. Once again, my high school friend and my husband and brother-in-law sang at my Mother’s funeral. My high school friend sang a couple of hymns that my Mother loved so well, and my husband and brother-in-law sang “The Old Rugged Cross” in harmony, which was my Mother’s very favorite hymn. It was at this time, once again, the tears began to roll. My Mother deserved the best, and that’s what she got. After all, she was the most important lady in our lives. After this, everyone left the chapel to follow to my Mother’s gravesite. I found out later that my sister had remained after everyone left the chapel, and she covered up our Mother with the beautiful, sky blue satin coverlet and told her that we loved her. The six pallbearers consisted of some of her grandsons. It broke their hearts to have to carry her to her final destination. She would now rest in peace forever and be joined once again with both of her husbands, her infant son, her brothers, sisters and other relatives and friends. Although the sadness still exists to this very day, only a few months later, I try to only think of my Mother as the person she was. A few weeks after her death, I experienced what I believe to be a message from my Mother. Now, realize that some people and maybe everyone else may not believe this was, indeed, a message from my Mother, but I always will.
My Mother collected angel figurines. She had SO many. I also collect angels and had been doing so for quite some time. Well, I have a curio cabinet, given to me by my future son‑in‑law and daughter, which sits in my living room. I work on the computer by profession. It was late one night and I had just finished working. As always, I have to go lay down on the sofa and watch TV for about a half-hour before I become sleepy enough to go to bed. My husband was working, and everyone else was sound asleep. There was complete silence and darkness with the exception of the light from the TV. One of my angels in the curio cabinet lights up and plays “Amazing Grace” via fiberoptics. The curio cabinet was completely locked. As I lay and watch TV, all of a sudden, the angel lit up and began playing “Amazing Grace.” I stared, but I was not afraid, just jolted. Just to be certain, I walked over to the curio cabinet, knowing that a loud sound or jolt could possibly set it off, and I stomped on the floor. Nothing happened. I actually began hitting the curio cabinet. Once again, nothing happened. The very first thing I thought was that it was my Mother, letting me know that she was okay and was watching over me. I felt chills throughout my body, and a sudden peace came over me. Just yesterday, I cleaned out the curio cabinet, and I have some towels that were my Mother’s. One of the hand towels has a golden angel on it. I placed this small towel on that glass shelf and placed my “now-special” angel upon it. I now know that, through that angel, I feel all‑warm inside. This angel will forever be very special to me, and when I need comfort, I turn it on, letting my Mother know that I’m thinking of her and still love her so. I will protect it for the rest of my life. You can believe this or NOT! Only “I” know what I feel.
“My Darling Sister – Mom’s Caregiver”
My Mother leaves behind seven natural, living children and three stepchildren. We ALL loved her SO VERY much and always will. We ALL have cared for her in one way or another for all of our lives. However, my sister, my Mother’s fourth child, has remained a homemaker all of her life, lived close to my Mother and made the decision to become Mom’s caregiver. Now, this was a lot of work on one person, but she did it, and she did it well! She took on the responsibility of caring for Mom’s financial matters; she took her to all doctor’s appointments as needed; she took her shopping, and the list goes on and on and on. Her husband helped her, but I’ve already explained what a wonderful man he is. They, together, made certain that our Mother had everything she needed and wanted. I told you before, we’re one loving family, and it doesn’t stop here. My point in this chapter is to give credit where credit is due, and this is not to say that my sister “needs” a “thank-you” at all, but it’s only to state that we all appreciate what she did for our Mother and love her for taking care of Mom, aside from all the other reasons we love her. For this reason, she will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Now, I was known for visiting approximately twice per month, as I live farther away, and helping Mom with cleaning, cooking, going to the store, etc., but I do live farther away, and I know I certainly do know and appreciate what my sister did for our Mother. Let’s not leave anyone out here. My other sister, No. 2 child, in the prior months before my Mother’s death, went over to Mom’s apartment every week, sometimes three or four times, and helped her tremendously. This is what daughters do. For so long, I wanted someone who lived close by to do these very things on a regular basis, as I couldn’t make it there as often. No one did. Well, finally, my oldest sister did, and I have to give her credit and love for doing so also. She did it because she loved our Mother also, and it filled her heart with joy to do so. My brother would go over and do what he could, i.e., get the mail, take out trash, etc. He couldn’t do all that much, as he is in ill health, but he did whatever he could. As for our other siblings, they live far away on the west coast, so an “everyday” appearance was not possible; however, they did manage to call Mom every week just to talk and check on her. My oldest brother even had her flown out west to his home many times, and she loved that. Her once took her to Germany, where his wife’s family lives, and she had the time of her life. He also took her to Hawaii once, and, oh my, she just talked about that forever! The last years of her life were very fulfilling, and I’m so glad she got to do all those things. Now, you tell me if a mother isn’t special, especially a Mother like ours! All four of her sons, all three of her daughters and all four of her stepchildren loved her dearly, along with all other family members. We have so many four-generation and five‑generation pictures, and for that, we are thankful. She DOES have a loving family.
I will end this chapter by saying, “Thank you, my darling sister, for being there for our Mother when we couldn’t be.” We love you very much!
“How to NOT Be a Daughter Anymore – The Question and the Answer”
When I was asked the question, “How do you STOP being a daughter,” my reply was completely honest and natural. I replied, “Why, you NEVER stop being a daughter. You will ALWAYS be your mother’s daughter.”
I was asked this question of a coworker, who had lost her mother only five days after I lost mine. My reply was actually quite long; however, she understood my reply and appreciated it. One does not just STOP being someone’s daughter or son. The spirit is still around you. Only the body is gone. When my Mother passed away, immediately upon the cessation of her heart beating, her spirit was lifted unto Heaven, and only her body remained. Only her BODY is missing. Most certainly, one can grieve for quite some time after the death of a parent, but they must know that everyone’s BODY dies, but everyone’s spirit will hopefully end up in Heaven. Of course, this brings religion into play, but we are all Christians in our family, and we honestly believe God had many plans for our Mother. She is our “special angel” now. She is watching over us as we speak, and as long as we believe that, it makes it a little easier to deal with. I found the “How do you STOP being a daughter” question to be possibly natural; however, I had never asked myself that question after my Mother’s death, as I knew I would always be her daughter. She’s just simply not here in body; only in spirit. A mother gives life; a mother raises her children to the best of her ability; a mother tries to enjoy her life, her spouse and her children, and then a mother dies, just like everyone else. Once again, mothers are not immortal. It is perfectly natural to feel all the feelings one feels in the loss of their mother. The one thing you must NOT do is to fight those feelings. If you feel like crying at any point in time, go ahead! If you feel angry about her death, go ahead and be angry! If you have a support system, i.e., family members, friends, spouses, children, etc., they will understand what you’re going through. They, most likely, are going through it too; it’s just they might possibly deal with it in their own way. Also realize that you may need to lend a shoulder to another family member during this tragic time. Be there for them, as they would be for you. Be there for each other. That’s what a loving family does because they love each other. If you find you are unsuccessful in dealing with it with the support of family and friends or others, please do not feel embarrassed to seek outside help. There are support groups all over the country that may aid you in your grief. Just go online, and you will see many articles concerning this very subject. Whatever it takes to help you overcome your grief, do it. Possibly, you might lean toward the pastor of your church of choice to help you through this. There are an endless number of options for you out there, and I’m certain at least one of them will suit your needs. I need to point out that you must also help YOURSELF through this devastating time. YOU must be the one to seek the professional or unprofessional help that you need or YOU must be the one who decides what kind of help you need, whether it be professional or personal. The help is there for you. Now, go find it!
“Will the Grieving Process End?”
This is a question that almost everyone has about the grieving process. Will the grieving process ever end? The answer is yes. You will never forget your loss, and you may, from time to time, grieve all over again. Understand that this is perfectly normal in the loss of someone close to you, such as a parent or a child. That “finalization” kicks in, and you just can’t seem to get it out of your mind. The thing you must do is realize that your parent is now gone. You cannot bring that parent back to earth. It happens to all of us. It’s something that we normally don’t think about often, and this is why it becomes almost overwhelming. What would your mother want you to do? The answer is that she would want you to grieve normally, but then she would want you to realize that she’s in a better place, in no pain, and she’s watching over you and wants you to continue your life as happily as possible, as she did when HER mother passed away. She would want you to feel good about yourself and enjoy life to the fullest extent, as she did. Isn’t that important to you? You DO want to do something your mother wants, right? I know it’s hard, but it’s something that we all must do. Carry on with your life, do the best you can and realize that your mother is with you at all times, even though she’s not physically here. You will find that, in time, the hurt will lessen. You will never forget her, but you will be able to carry on with your life. After all, she WAS your MOTHER, and NOTHING can change that!
“Freedom From Grief and Last Words”
Now, it has been a while, and things are easing up a bit. Your life has gone on in the usual way. Go ahead and think about your mother if you want to and also cry if you want to. This is perfectly normal. If you so feel the need, even talk to your mother in privacy. This really helps. I know it helped me a great deal, and I’m still not over it yet. Tell her how much you miss her and how much you love her and that you will be with her again someday. This is not strange at all. In fact, it’s very normal, and it’s good for you. Get those feelings out. The more you hold things inside, the more anxious and depressed you will feel. Let everything out, no matter what time of day or night. Your mother meant the world to you, and it cannot possibly be easy to let go. Your mother gave you life, just as you have given life to your children. Now, focus on your children and their future. Show them the same care and love that your mother showed you. Learn from your mother’s teachings, and use those teachings in the rearing of your own children. It goes on down the line with grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.
Holidays will be the hardest of all. That first Christmas without her; that first Birthday that you will no be able to celebrate with her; that first Thanksgiving where you cannot be together, whether it be in person or via phone – these are naturally going to be hard. Be prepared for them. Think ahead of what you will do on that day to not burst into tears, and if you do burst into tears, realize that it’s perfectly normal to do so. In time, this will also lessen. In time, you will only speak of your mother in the most loving terms. In time, you will bring up the “funny” things that she said or did or taught you. Oh, that old saying is true – “The Love of a Mother – There is No Other.” The point I am trying to make is that only having lost my own Mother less than three months ago, I am doing all of the things you’re doing right now; however, I realize the things I should be doing to help myself, and I have begun my quest to do those things. If I can do it, so can you!
Say to your mother, no matter where she is:
“I love you, Mom, and I always will.”
This short story is owned by bfynittle1 and was originally written by bfynittle1.