It is no surprise that I am still mourning. It was about a year ago that mom took the fall that was, in the end, The End. (I instinctively looked back to find the blog post about the fall, her hip fracture, and all of the rest but....there is a massive gap from December 1, right before she fell, until February 4, just days before her death.) A lot happened in between there. I guess, in a way, that is what this post is about.
December is Mom's birth month. Last year she spent her birthday in the hospital while they worked out doses of pain medications adequate to manage an irreparable hip fracture. She was oblivious to the time of year, and had entered that phase of dying that includes visits from long-departed loved ones. It was clear she would never come home, and decisions had to be made about her belongings, her kitties, family photos, trinkets and jewelry. I had to work. I had to make Christmas merry for the grandkids. I had to manage her finances, figure out nursing home paperwork, visit her in the hospital and still attend to the usual miscellaneous medical needs of Babygirl and the rest of us.
It was a whirlwind.
My brothers came and sorted through thousands of pictures. Curlygirl used her internet savvy to get a lot of furniture sold and moved out. And as Curlygirl and family had already planned to move in and help, they went forward with the move, directly into the chaos.
January was hardly better.
Sorting/selling/settling continued. Mom was moved from the hospital across the street to a nursing home 10 minutes away. Hubby had massive back surgery.
February brought baby BamBam, followed immediately by a run to Philly for Babygirl. We arrived home, exhausted as always, late on Wednesday evening. I debated a run to the nursing home but was just too tired. As I was getting ready to go in the morning, I got the call that she had just passed. And not even one minute later came a call asking me if I could come pick up Squeaker at his school because he was throwing up and they couldn't reach his parents? I'm not kidding, not even a little.
Just writing this down brings on a head spin.
We live in a crazy, crazy world. And we live at a frightening pace. And while we did have really good family time at Thanksgiving with Mom before her fall, and good family time at Christmas before she died, AND good family time at her funeral.....it just didn't seem like enough, you know? I look back on those three months and it's like looking through a kaleidescope of shifting, bright brittle colors: Beautiful, but difficult to interpret.
What triggered all this, you ask?
At the end of yoga class today, because the room was chilly, the instructor came and covered each of us with a blanket during shavasana, the final quiet pose of the class. The act of having someone 'tuck me in' was so intensely evocative of my mother that it made me weep. And while I was lying on my back with tears trickling into my ears I was flooded with memories, each and every one of them of my Mother's laughter. Monopoly at midnight on New Year's Eve. Girl Scout Camp. Makeshift living-room plays about Bible characters (did the Bible mention matzoh ball soup??). Seriously, my mother once laughed so hard at us that she crashed the car into a tree (low speed, no injuries).
I'm already 30 years older than EVERYBODY in this class. The last thing I need is to have the lights come up while I'm trying not to simultaneously laugh and cry for no obvious reason.
It's amazing how much emotion you can begin to process in three minutes, and how much time you can compress into that space. This is, by the way, entirely against the point of shavasana as I understand it. But the soul needs what it needs, right?
My Christmas cactus is blooming. Right or wrong, I believe my Grandmother makes flowers bloom for me when times are tough. It started blooming on my Dad's birthday, and I'm thinking it may still be blooming on Mom's. Hugs come from heaven to us from all different directions, be it a flower, or a blanket from a stranger.