Monday, November 15, 2010

Reflections on life with a mom who's not my mom anymore.

We moved every two years the entire time I was growing up. Sometimes more. My dad was an Air Force officer, and I was an only child.  The constant in both of our lives was my mom.  She made our house(s) a home(s).  She did it all...homemade potpourri, sheets ironed with lavender linen spray, cookies after school.  All.  For us.

When I got a little older, she became my best friend.  It's weird, because...I think she always was my best friend, and I just didn't know.  Not that we had the perfect family.  We didn't.  Now that she's gone, I'm realizing how empty my life is without her.  I was driving my daughter to her other grandmother's house yesterday, and I thought it would be fun to listen to some Christmas music.  She loved it.  I cried.  Buckets.

You might be asking yourself...wait, her mom isn't dead though.  Right?  That's correct.  Her body is alive.  She survived a massive aneurysm in 2009.  So massive that less than 2% of people make it through an event on the scale which she experienced.  I was so naive.  I sat in the waiting room and I prayed to...?  To God?  To some kind of androgenous, politically correct, non-denominational spiritual leader?  I'm still not sure, but I prayed so hard that sometimes I felt like my guts were turning inside out.  I was 6-months pregnant.

I prayed that she would live.  I never thought past that word.  Live.  It seemed like all I needed...a mom who was alive.  I've never put much thought into what makes a life.  Physical being?  Spiritual completeness?  Sense of humor?  Passion?  Love?  And then, much to my surprise after a life replete with many unanswered prayers...she lived.  And we rejoiced.  She made huge steps forward.  She's off the ventilator!!!  They took the feeding tube out!!!  She brushed her own teeth!  No diaper needed today!! 

It's been one and a half years now, and I'm just starting to realize mom isn't coming back.  Not the mom from my childhood.  The mom that made all of my birthday cakes by hand.  The mom that made my daughter the most beautiful handmade quilts - WAY before I even met my husband - she was so excited that I MIGHT have a baby one day.  The mom I shared my life with. 

She's alive.  She's doing great.  She's learning how to do everything again, and physically she's a trouper, like she always was.  But.  She's not my mom.  I mean, she is.  But she's not.  I still love her, but it's so complicated.  I see this woman, and she's trying so hard.  And I love her so much for trying.  But the connection that used to seem unbreakable feels broken.  And I feel broken.  I want to connect with the new her, but I'm not even sure she *can* connect.  Or maybe I'm not sure she can connect like before.  Or maybe I just feel bad that all the things I miss seem so stupid now.  Who cares if she's not Martha Stewart anymore?? 

I guess this all goes to what it is that makes us whole.  What makes us a person? I guess that's what I'm thinking about these days.  Maybe it's what I need to know.  What is a soul?  What is inside a person that makes them...themself?
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