Wednesday morning came and the short drive to the hospital was a quiet one, spent mostly in silence. Time had run out and in a way with the newfound peace, there was so much to say, yet it wasn’t the time for it. I had wished for this moment to happen, surrounded by the perfect circumstances, but life is not perfect and things often pan out much different. Driving and in silence now, we were strong for each other to avoid an outpouring of emotions, at least from my side and I know couldn’t have held back. We had a deadline to be there and I heard Mom’s voice from the past telling me to get it together. In other words to keep my emotions in check and to be strong. Strange how some things follow you through life and pop up at various times. Feelings suppressed over years, that were not allowed to be expressed. Once more, it was a reminder that those emotions were a sign of the weak and were mostly taboo growing up. I was alone to deal with my feelings and I was alone to figure them out. Mom just didn’t know how to after my Dad’s death and to protect her heart she built a wall around it, feeling that this was necessary in order to be strong for me. It does make me sad to think of, and what I see is the tough road that was destined for Mom. There had to have been times she must have felt tired of being all that strong, moments she needed an outlet, moments she needed someone to wrap her up and give her the feeling that everything would be ok. Who was there during those times for her? She was alone, with her strong front, the facade of protection that she had built and she did her crying to relief pressure and pain alone, when nobody saw and when nobody could comfort her. She has never talked about any of this and she has never told me, yet I know and my intuition paints a picture that with certainty confirms what must have been throughout the years. There is a understanding and a comparison to my own life as I have carried the pain of the past alone myself at times and did my crying alone. There is a knowing that I can’t describe, a understanding that will keep me despite the tough times we have faced, that only strengthens the compassion and the bond by blood that fuels a love that is unconditional. The love of a daughter. Mom was the first to inhabit a four bed room, and I stayed to help her get settled. She was no stranger to hospitals, but in all the years of my absence, I couldn’t remember ever being home and seeing her admitted. All I wanted was to stay by her side, for hours, being close, a blanket of comfort, to let her know she wasn’t alone, if she allowed me to be. It was around noon that I finally left and made my way back home to the house. Surely, the doctors would come soon to run the first tests, take blood and measure her vitals, and lunch couldn’t be that far off and was around the corner. In a way, I was running from the vision of seeing her this way. My emotions were all over the place and I needed to refuel the tank of courage and strengths that was running on empty.
It hit me once I was back at the house and embraced the silence. It was lifeless and quiet, I saw Mom everywhere, yet she wasn’t there. This is what it would feel like one day after she was gone and it felt like an empty shell, a home no-more, with her ghost lingering in visions and memories all over the place. My heart tore and once again the panic of running out of time set in and engulfed my heart. I had been through a rollercoaster of feelings since I got home as I sat and thought about my life and being born on the day of ups and downs. It seemed fitting once more. Faced with extreme lows, there were also the rays of light that brought hope and love, associated with the desire to change my life once and for all. To surrender and leave it all behind, the accomplishments, the possessions and the life I knew and had built in the states. Those were the moments that seemed crystal clear and that there really wasn’t another choice. It was exactly what I needed to do, yet the future was so scary and uncertain. I forced myself to remember that this wasn’t about me and that I had to trust and believe that everything would find its way.
I went to visit Mom once more that day and stayed for a few hours. I brought her a few magazines that she could read and more animal crackers that she had come to love. It was a snack I had brought onto the plane and Mom loved to inspect the various shapes, much like a child before eating them. For me it was being able to give her something that she loved, even if it came through the simplicity of an animal cracker. As I entered the room, I noticed that she had gotten two more room mates in my absence. At least she would have company if she wanted to chat, even though Mom loved a prior stay in the hospital where she had a room all to herself. I don’t know if she preferred it this way or if it was because she is used to being alone, but I was glad she wasn’t this time, although things would unfold down the road with me wishing that she would have been alone.
A prior planned road trip to the mountains was on the agenda the next two days and I so wished, that she could have come along. Like me, Mom is a mountain girl and my feeling were all over the place and in turmoil about leaving her behind. Surely, it was time for me to get a little break, a little vacation and time away from reality, but I didn’t care much anymore and I found myself wanting to be back by her side. The only comfort came through knowing that she was in good hands and that the best care was provided to her. That a nurse would tend to her legs, monitor her medication intake, her insulin, that she could enjoy a warm meal daily and that she wasn’t ALONE!
Entrance to the fortress/castle near my house in Germany, where Mom and I enjoyed coffee the day of my arrival.