Tuesday, October 23, 2007


"Mothers, more commonly known as "Mom,"
are not only the backbone in the nuclear family sturcture
so essential in perpetuating the existence
of the civilization of mankind as we know it today
as well as insuring the developmentally
fulfilling future cycle of the human race,
both on this planet as well as the realms
it will someday reach beyond ...
But also ...
they kiss booboos too."*
At about this time five years ago, I was standing with the rest of my family at my mother's bedside. She was dying. We all knew it, yet weren't quite sure how to let her go. The hospital personnel did what they could to ease our decision. A priest prayerfully guided our thought processes. Only one nurse was a little crabby. Maybe not so much crabby as matter-of-fact. The patient on the respirator on the bed in the cubicle was just that - another patient -not her mother. Still it's hard, even after this much time, not to be resentful.

Mom was basically gone to us earlier in the afternoon. What we were waiting for was the process of her body shutting down. What the doctors told us could be days, mercifully took only hours.

To say I still miss her, is no big surprise. It doesn't hurt as much as it did in the beginning, but the space that the little lady who was my mother filled in our lives still resembles a heart-sized sink hole. Knowing I wanted to write something about her, I've been thinking about it for a few days. Words are my way of expressing my emotions, yet I haven't been able to come up with the words to say exactly what it is I miss.

There are all kinds of books written about living with the loss of a loved one. I've read them. I've quoted them. To paraphrase the song, "I've looked at loss from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow, I really don't know loss at all." But here's my attempt to describe what it feels like being 55 and motherless:

Imagine the Beaver (of Leave it to Beaver fame) coming home from school, swinging open the door, tossing his school bag on the table and yelling loud enough to be heard at the back of the house, "Hey mom, I'm home," just like he did every day. On this particular day, however, after the door slams shut, Beaver hears only the sounds of silence. The he remembers, June is no longer there.

There is no aroma of fresh baked cookies.
The TV is not tuned into his mother's favorite soap opera.
There is no laundry neatly folded and stacked on the end of his bed.
There is no one to temper his father's moods.

Beaver knows he is home. He looks takes in the familiar surroundings feeling a mixture of comfort and dread. He feels her presence in each room. His eyes rest on the things that belonged to her - a bottle of Lubriderm, a coffee cup, the afghan she made, the books she read - yet the sound of her voice welcoming him home is a distant memory. She is no longer around to ask about his day; she is no longer there to take for granted.
There are no more maternal touches
No more mom hugs.
No more goodnight kisses.

Beaver has learned to live without these things. What people told him has proved to be true. Wounds heal. Memories bridge the gap. He learns to lean on other family members and friends. Beaver's life has moved ahead. It's his heart that remains beside her bed.
Holding her.
Thanking her.
Releasing her.
Reassuring her.
Remembering her.
Loving her.
Missing her.

I can't speak for the rest of my family. I can only say how it is for me. A lot has happened in five years. Even though it felt like it might at the time, the world did not stop turning; those of us left behind have forged a way of life without our guiding star. We get a little of course now and then but the pull to magnetic north (a mother's love?) keeps us going.

I was in a craft store the other day, looking for a How-to-Crochet book. There were two other women searching through the same stack of books. I overheard one say to the other, "you know if mom was here we wouldn't have to be doing this. She could teach us." My heart leapt from my chest to my throat. My eyes filled with tears. I knew exactly what she meant. Many were the times I sat by mom's side as she tried to teach me some knew skill. But she's not here now, and like those ladies in the yarn aisle, I'll learn to manage on my own. That doesn't mean I'll like it.

I'll close this post with a request. If your mom is still alive, tell her you love her. If your mother, like mine, has already gone to that heavenly place where kids pick up after themselves and eat their brussel sprouts without being told, and flush the toilet and remember to say please, then write me and tell me, if you can, what you remember best about her.

May your booboos be few,
Merry Me

*Taken from a Mother's Day card given to me by Wendy.


Anonymous said...

I love you, Mom!

Miss your soft face -- wish I could shower you with kisses and bear hugs and then run away for an afternoon to drink iced tea and watch a fun movie. Love you, love you, love you and don't you forget it.

And for your viewing pleasure, a baby beaver: http://mfrost.typepad.com/cute_overload/2007/10/and-now-a-baby-.html


Merry ME said...

I love you back!
Thanks for the picture. Nobody can be sad (or should I say TOO sad) when looking at such a cute, cuddly baby beaver. Let's face it, babies of any species are just about as cute as it gets.
Hugs coming your way.
P.S. Eat your brussel sprouts!

Johnnie said...

Mom liked this blog. Wanted to tell you how much you mean to us, and thank you for being such a great caring mother!I think about you often and marvel at how much you love you give.... Wanted you to know i love you back just as much, Thanks again for ALL YOU'VE TAUGHT ME and ALL YOUR LOVE!!!!
Your spoiled son..........

Merry ME said...

Dear Spoiled,
Love right back at ya! Can't help but feel especially blessed. You make my heart smile!

P.S. I'm thinking if I suggested brussel sprouts to you I'd be pelted with them! Or maybe that would be your evil twin!

icybabymama said...

Mary, you really must stop making this pregnant lady cry with your poignant words! Your lovely homage to your mama makes me want to call my own mom and tell her how much I love her...I think I will!
Thanks, by the way, for being such a great mom to my dear friend Wend. You really did a bang up job on her....something to aspire to for a mom-to-be like me.