Getting Through The First Of The Firsts


As nature was bursting forth with new beauty and adventure, mom left us for her new adventure in Heaven. We too were busting into a new adventure in our new apartments. And normal would be entirely new now for me, as I no longer have her here to care for each day. I miss so much having to get her things because she didn’t have the energy or strength to walk to the kitchen and twist open something to drink.

Tomorrow marks 3 weeks since mom died. As the initial shock wore off and life resumed we started piecing together time to go through her things, discard what no one would want, donate what someone might use, and figuring out which things we’d all keep to treasure her memory. Oh the finds!

The first two weeks I struggled to do required things like eat. It didn’t help that I was not at all hungry. Struggles with guilt for starting new routines that did not include her needs when I’d have given anything to have her need me! I just want normal to return but even now, 3 weeks out, normal hasn’t really settled in just yet. Still going through things, getting “her” room changed out into my room brought more guilt because it felt like erasing her from my life. I knew she was here one night, barely a guest status, before she left us, but it was hard. But on my birthday I woke up knowing this was something I needed to do, make that space mine and sprinkle mom in the form of things I kept of hers throughout. At the end of that project I felt good about it and had changed it completely from what looked like mom’s room that never really was at all. As I was carting things across the parking lot to the dumpster and back, I was circled over and over by a very beautiful butterfly like nothing I’d seen around before. It continued for a while before it landed and showed off its gorgeous wings then flew away. Call my crazy but I believe it was mom letting me know she was pleased with my moving forward.

Mom had been purging things since July when she was told she had 2 to 4 weeks to live, so there really wasn’t a lot of that we had left to do. I’m not going to lie that was awesome. She kept so much in the way of documents (birth certificates etc) and photos (all the way back to my great grandmother as a child). WOW! Going through them has been so much fun and brought back memories for all of us. And her bell collection…she loved to collect bells from places and events. Those have had an initial go-through by me and my siblings and a few of the grandchildren. There was only one that I wanted, a gorgeous crystal bell that she and I had decided she’d ring if she needed me in the night after the collapse before her death. I had feared I would not hear her if she yelled for me, and couldn’t figure out if the do not disturb feature of my phone was going to work. Fearing the worst if she fell in the night or needed me, we decided her ringing that bell would indeed pull me from my sleep with it’s beautiful, unique sound. It is now a cherished piece in my apartment.

bearI’ve known there would be firsts we’d face without her but didn’t realize just how fast the first two of those events was coming up. Mother’s Day was only 2 weeks after she left us and the idea of going through that without even a place to go ‘visit’ (we won’t have her ashes back for a long while, she donated her body) was difficult to say the least. My daughter and niece were thinking ahead and had snagged some of mom’s pajamas while we were cleaning out her room at the house. On Mother’s Day morning they arrived with breakfast from Panara Bread and memory bears made from those pajamas. Yes, tears were shed! But good ones. My sister and I were so touched by their sweet, thoughtful gifts. My niece found the poem online and printed/framed it to go with the bears. It holds a place of honor in my room and once in a while I hug it close for comfort. I miss my mom so very much, she was my best friend!

Four days after that was my birthday. My mom was there for the first 54 of them, but this would be the first I’d have to celebrate without her. We never really made a big deal of them, cake and/or ice cream and a card, but she would walk down memory lane and share about the day you were born. We’ve since discovered our crib cards and hospital bracelets among her things, just more wonderful nuggets of gold from the past she had kept safely hidden away.

Some days it is hard to just string together a complete thought or words to make a sentence. I go through the motions of life but get to the end of the day and feel like I just watched someone else doing it all. Other days I buzz through with energy and life, then feel guilty that the sun rose, I smiled and laughed and enjoyed the day that didn’t include the one person I felt most important on this planet.

Once the house sells and things settle into a new routine, I know that I will then start to feel ‘normal’, whatever that new normal will be. For now, I just push to put one foot in front of the other and not unpack my pain and live in that spot. It isn’t what she’d want and it is not good for one’s mental health.

 

 

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