I am changing. I’m not sure I am a big fan of it. Physically, you can see it. Those tiny lines around my eyes are not so tiny anymore. The dark circles under my eyes are darker. My face just looks different. Older. Wiser? I’m not sure. But definitely older. The past two months are taking their toll on me.
But it isn’t the physical changes that bother me. It is the deeper, hidden changes I feel that I am fighting. I want to slam on the brakes and stop this. Other people, older people face the death of a parent. Not me. I am certainly not mature enough to handle something this hard. This heartbreaking. This life changing. I don’t want to be that person.
There is a bond between a mother and daughter. Something that binds them together in a way that no other relationship can. Many women identify who they are as women and mothers by their own mothers. Whether they are trying to not “become” their mother or if they are trying to mimic the one woman they identify the most with. A deep part of who they are comes from their Mom.
What do I do when my Mom dies? Who do I become? Even though my mom has not been “my Mom” for years due to her MS and the way it robbed her of so much, I need her. Right now, she is still there. I can talk to her. I can hug her. I have always been “Sandy’s daughter.” It makes me proud. She is a very loved woman. If you have ever thought I was funny, trust me, I am nothing compared to my Mom. She has always been the funniest woman you will ever meet. Even now, she will crack a joke or laugh at her own expense. She sees humor in any situation. When I get in one of my silly moods or hit super sarcasm mode, the common refrain is “She is her mother’s daughter.”
And I am. I am my mother’s daughter. And my mother is dying. A huge part of who I am is dying. And I just can’t wrap my mind or my heart around that. I am not ready. I am just not ready.
Little things that seemed so important suddenly have lost so much of their power. My home is a wreck? So what. My Mom is dying. What’s for dinner? Who cares! My Mom is dying. What have you written today? Nothing. My Mom is dying. When the grocery store clerk asks me if I have found everything I needed and how I am doing, I struggle with “Fine” but I want to shout, “I am in non-stop turmoil and want to just not feel this way. Do you have a product to make me better??!” Where I used to be hyper involved with my kids’ schools, now I can barely muster the interest to pick them up after school, let alone know what is going on during the day or when they have tests, programs or special days. I feel like I am moving under water while the rest of the world is flowing in the fast lane.
I know I am depressed. Who can blame me? I know that. But in all honesty, how do you not feel anguish as you watch your very own flesh and blood, your hero, lying in ICU suffering? How do you not let it take over every emotion you feel (or try not to feel)?
I am grateful I was able to spend so much time with her when I was in the hospital during their lock down. I was there around the clock to be able to cool her with a rag when her fever rose. I was able to hold her hand when she got dialysis. I tried so hard to comfort her when she told me she was scared. She asked me if I was scared too. How do you answer that? How? So, I looked into her eyes, and with all of the strength I could muster, I lied to her. I told her that I was not scared and that I was there for her. I told her to take my strength and know that she is not alone. When she fell asleep I whispered, “Yes, Mommy. I am very scared. I want my Mommy. But you should not be scared. I don’t want you to be scared. Forgive me for lying.”
I’m changing. And I don’t like it.