Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

Be still my heart

It’s only been last Friday that Mom was buried, but in a way it feels like an eternity learning about her death. There has been such a long, lingering pain that dates back so much further than September 28th the actual day of her passing.

October 1st, I boarded a plane, on the way to Germany, knowing full well I was too late this time and would not see her alive again. I arrived on the 2nd of October and said goodbye to a closed casket that later in the evening disappeared from my view in a Hearst, driving into the darkness.

Mom wanted to be cremated and all of the closer family knew that we better not put her in the ground with all the worms as she occasionally mentioned it in her serious manner when it came to that subject. I guess she needed to know that she was to be taken seriously and that she meant every word. All of us knew….

The urn would take about ten days to come back and there was a weekend and holiday in that timeframe as well. There were times I energetically connected with Mom, when I felt her presence and when she sent me a little sign like a dragonfly one day. (I will save this for another post soon.) Over the next days, I would always see that Hearst driving away with Mom lying live-less in her casket, going for her last ride. And the driver that nonchalantly just waived goodbye as if he was leaving a party while all of us stood in our grief.

Many of times my mind wandered to the crematorium and tortured myself with pictures of what the actual process might look like. It’s absolute horror when you are grieving and yet your mind loves to just add to the misery. It’s awful. Would I be able to accept her being gone, would it finally sink in that that person just is no longer? Would I get my closure or would my mind continue to torture me?

I wanted to know and yet I didn’t. On Monday I found out and received an official certificate of when and where Mom was cremated. It was very hard to see that certificate with her name on it and my heart hurts anew.

4th of October 2019 at 16:14

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

Our last walk together

Last Friday was Moms funeral and it was time for her to be laid to rest. Nearly three weeks had passed since she feel asleep for the last time and many of us were looking for some sort of closure, for a new way to emerge so we could go on. For myself, I don’t think I have found that path just yet. There are daily reminders here in the house and things that need to be taken care off.

Mom was with us the entire time during the service and she even brought a smile to my face at the end of the service, especially on this difficult day. Upon entering the church, Mom’s picture from her 80th birthday was displayed next to her urn, surrounded by a reef of flowers. Below were additional flowers from myself, her sister, and her four children, my cousins.

I woke in the morning and felt strangely calm. There was a peace, a stillness within me that felt almost strange. At some point I thought I was numb to the pain and perhaps my soul was protecting my physical body. Whatever it was, it was nothing like I had expected that the day might be like. I had feared the nosy gazes of onlookers that I remembered from my childhood during Dads funeral. Days before, I even had a bad dream that I had fallen carrying Mom’s urn, dropping and shattering it. All of these and more worries were gone, disappeared the day of Mom’s funeral, October the 18th.

Rain had been in the forecast off and on for the day, and the final word was that rain might fall in the hours after everything was over with. I think Mom had other plans as it came to that. The service was beautiful, a celebration of life for a woman who hadn’t always had the easiest of life. A life that was filled with tough years, a non existing childhood, a war, the loss of a soulmate, and pains many should not experience at such a young age. She was a strong, tough women, a fighter until the end, until hope disappeared and her quality of life was clouded and gray.

The inside church service concluded with a song from Westlife “I’ll see you again” that I had picked for Mom. After that it was my turn to carry Moms urn to the graveside. It was the hardest part of the service and I hugged and held her so tight. I was glad to walk ahead of everyone, for nobody to see my face and the pain that must have been all over it. It was difficult to set her down, to let go of the urn and to step away from it. It felt so final…so very final.

As soon as we arrived at the grave, ominous looking clouds started to form, swirling around overhead. I knew Mom was here and I loved that she made her presence known. At least to me and I’m not sure if anyone else had the same feeling. The winds picked up and the big tree at the end of the cemetery, next to the cross started to sway back and forth. There was rustle in the air as fall leaves were dancing through the sky. It was beautiful. Next the thunder was rolling, just as I thought it couldn’t get more beautiful. Such a sad occasion and yet I stood with my face up towards the heavens, smiling up at Mom, thinking it was beautiful. It was really quite strange, and all I can say is that I felt as if she was comforting me in these difficult moments, putting on this amazing nature spectacle she knew I could appreciate and recognize her being here. Now the lightning accommodated the thunder, the dark clouds swirling, and the leaves rustling in the wind. This went on for the remainder of the service.

After singing our last song, I stepped forward to the grave to say my goodbyes, to drop dirt on top of the urn that was already lowered, and to leave my flower bouquet with Mom. One after another from the family paid their last respects and stopped in front of me to shake my hand, say their condolences and wishes for me, or to give me a giant hug. Some of us had not seen each other in over thirty some years, but none of that mattered in that moment, that moment when we were reunited and shared this grief together. The heartfelt emotions touched my heart and one of my cousins hugged me so hard it initially took my breath away. It said everything, without words and it will forever stand out in my mind. Another hug came from another family member I had somehow angered unintentionally a few years back. We never quite reconciled, although I had tried, but here and now, none of it mattered and we were family once again. I was very thankful, grateful and moved. Lastly came a worker from the nursing home to lay down a flower arrangement and last greeting for Mom. I thought it was a nice touch and very thoughtful. That was until that very worker (which Mom never cared for her bossy ways) came up to me to say her condolences and hand me an outstanding bill that had arrived for Mom. Ha…really. It was the only thing I found rather tasteless and without any tact. That stamp to mail that bill must have been too much of an inconvenience, but oh well. It is what it is and I’m ok with it. Of course I have my own feelings about it, but this is so ridiculous, it doesn’t even deserve my energy, plus Mom took care of it anyways. Just wait until I tell you how. So priceless, so typical Mom.

Like I said she was the last one at the grave. After she handed me the bill, people we’re leaving. I had planned to stay behind for a bit longer. I looked at the skies and all the weather was still in motion. Straight ahead I could see the rain falling over the town Mom had spent her last year of life. It was moving rapidly towards me and would reach me in no time. Maybe it was time to leave as I started to feel big drops starting to fall. I made it to safety completely dry, but many did not. Within two minutes of completing Moms service and being handed the bill, it was as if the floodgates had opened without any warning. No, slower, light sprinkles, nothing, just Mom sending a message for the person that had given her so much grief at the nursing home. It was as she had the last laugh and I can hear her say something like “Don’t you dare worry about a measly bill of 7.50 euros on my funeral. What’s the matter with you.”

You are right and well done Mom 😉 I love you and miss you so much. ❤️

Posted in Art, Crafting, Mom

Mom’s Artwork

These two pictures from an adult coloring book make me smile, and were Moms latest artwork. Mom never really liked crafts and such things as coloring too much. She would have all the patience for knitting, but that was about it. She loved cooking but she wasn’t much a baker.

I was delighted as she began to color in the nursing home. I have always loved and painting and coloring is a way of peace, a relaxation for me that I was hoping she would feel as well. I hoped it would distract her and soothe her troubles and I think at times it actually did.

These two drawings were some of Moms favorite and she used to show them to me nearly every time we talked. Even before she colored them she would consult me wondering what colors would be fitting for the cat or the pig.

After she finished them, she was all smiles showing me her pink and black pig. I laughed as I saw it and she seriously insisted that there is such a thing. It wasn’t that I didn’t know about that, but I loved how her mind had created that sort of outcome. I don’t think she ever knew or understood my laughter. For all she knew, she educated me on the likes and actuality of these pink and black piggy’s.

Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

Time…

It’s almost time, and Moms funeral is on Friday. Nearly three weeks have gone by since her passing and it’s hard to believe. Everything is hard to believe, in general.

There has been no real process to the time passed. Some days are easier then others and I try to welcome and process each one. There is no right or wrong, and no timelines of where one should be in this time of grief. I think one of the biggest things I struggle with is that there was no goodbye, no closure. It feels so different now to remember that there were times when Mom got on my nerves. When I dreaded the moment of her asking me when I’d come home. I struggled so much with it because I knew it was important to her, and because I had no answers to give her. I was so sick myself. I was trying to listen to my body, to give it time, to be good and patient with myself so I could get better. And I did eventually after many month. It’s crazy where your mind goes, questioning yourself if perhaps you went too much with the flow while someone else needed you so much. I know it’s just misery and the ego that wants to torture me and despite of what everyone has told me, yet it comes down to myself and believing for myself that I did everything I could.

It’s sounds awful now thinking that there were those times. Times when Mom got on my nerve and I feared her asking that question that tore my heart apart anew every time she’d asked. Now I sort through her things from the nursing home, touching everything she once held, feeling her touch and such a loss. Sometimes I think there has to be a note to me, something, her words, anything, but there never is. Would it help if she’d said that she understood, that she was grateful and loved every minute we spent together? Would that make the goodbye more final, releasing me of the burden and the pain, or would it make it only more unbearable? It’s just so hard when you don’t get to say goodbye, when you don’t get that sort of closure. Some say it will come at the funeral but I don’t think so. It’s just a process to go through, a ritual that is performed with our lost loved ones. I truly don’t know if being by her side would have been easier, for I would have never wanted to let go of her. I would have held on to her and perhaps my heart would have broken right then and there. But this….being left behind, is so hard and one of the most challenging things you will ever have to do in your life.

Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

A difficult Day

Monday was difficult for me. I felt it right away as I woke up. I can recognize the signs as I try to cheer myself up, distract myself, and sometimes I even manage. But there are others, I don’t. It always starts innocent and I don’t even realize what I’m doing, but when I do, it’s usually game over and I lose. Today I lost. I couldn’t get myself out of the rut. We can’t win all the time can we, and processing pain, dealing with it instead of distracting myself from it is actually healthy and necessary.

Today, I saw her everywhere in everything I did and it hurt to do it alone and without her. My distraction technique failed me today, and finally I gave in to the pain and let it run freely through my veins. I lit a candle in church for you today Mom, sitting there in silence between the sobs of my heart, while watching it burn down. I couldn’t watch it until the end, and the flame going out would have been too symbolic and painful for me. So instead I left just like I always did, with you staying behind, very much a part of everything.

The funeral is coming up this Friday and everything feels like such a long goodbye already. It’s been years actually and this final one feels so different and cold. It’s hard to believe, I’ve been here nearly two weeks already.

Tonight my heart is heavy as I cope and find the means to go on without her in my life. I know she never really left, and that she is always with me and by my side. And yet some days it’s just not enough in this sense.

Posted in Life, Loss, Mom

Calling your Name

As I sit and call your name, the silence is almost too loud to bare. I call with tears and a broken voice, crying out for help, but you never turn the corner to rush to my side, seeing what I need. It is you I need. The halls and rooms of this house you’ve spent so many years in, are no longer a home and emptiness is felt throughout.

As I sit and call your name, my calls go unanswered and while I see you everywhere, you are nowhere to be found. Of course I know that already you are watching over me from above, that you are bringing me signs to help me cope, and yet the pain of your loss is so great at times. I don’t like the memory of the last day we saw each other in person. It was Christmas Day, and I had to hurry, leaving you behind to catch a flight to the states. I got up late that day with no extra time to spare, and I did it on purpose, knowing that I would have lost it and broke down if I had too much time to say goodbye to you. Today I wished I had that time, and it feels cowardly now how I spent my last moments with you. I imagine everyone always wishes for one more talk, one more hug, one time to see each other and perhaps what I’m feeling is all normal now. I’m just tired of saying goodbye to every living being that had a profound meaning in my life, my children…the dogs included.

I wrote your eulogy the other day and it brought a sense of healing. I gave it to the pastor today and he commented on the many profound memories that we share. I wrote it in a lighthearted kind of way, although my heart was heavy at the time, but you had enough sorrow and pain in your life already. He liked the idea of your service being a celebration of your life vs. a final goodbye. We both have said goodbye way too many times and I much rather say and believe that “I see you again”.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

Messages from heaven

They say when feathers appear, the angels are near.

There was an unusual amount of feathers that crossed my path the week of Moms passing. After the bad news came of Mom not doing well at all, it was for the first time that I felt as if her soul was ready to leave. Later in the week was when all the feathers appeared and still I didn’t want to believe this to be the truth, but I knew. Mom died that weekend and I still feel as if I’m stuck in a horrible nightmare. Years and years later I am walking in her shoes, doing for her what she had to do for my father as he passed. The pain is tremendous, and what a strong woman she was. How much she had to endure in her life. I know that we share this in common and I am following her footsteps, equally enduring and equally as strong. But is it ever hard.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

A time for everything

I’ve been walking more since I got to Germany vs. the states, despite my regular two hiking days. Here it has become a cumulative, weekly effort, so far at least since it’s only my first week, but it’s good for me to be on the move.

There is so much to be done right now. Mom wanted to be cremated and the urn should come back sometime this week. There is a meeting with the pastor this Thursday who will facilitate the service and where we will discuss how things will go besides the urn being added to Dads grave. I have decided that it needs to me carrying the urn from the church to the final resting place. This is the final walk we will need to take together and I feel it in my heart that it has to be so.

Flowers need to be ordered for the grave which I was able to do already. An obituary needs to be placed into the paper and has been delivered, to be published next Tuesday. Songs have been selected for the church service and I have written Moms eulogy to give to the pastor on Thursday. I don’t know how much of it he will use and I realize that I wrote this more for myself because it is so much more then just some facts and dates about her life. It’s a life as seen through the eyes of a beloved daughter, filled with love and gratitude. It was hard to write for such a sad occasion, especially since I wanted it to be on the light hearted side. Mom endured so much pain and sorrow in her life and one of my favorite things was to make her smile. And while this is definitely not a time to smile, she would want us to remember her in our own memory and the way she was to each and every one of us. I will always see her with that beautiful smile.

There is so much to do that little time remains for grief. Yes there a moments here and there but mainly it’s being pushed away because of things that need to be powered through. Just as all these above mentioned things got completed, I thought to myself that some more tasks were accomplished, but that the hardest day, the actual day of her funeral was still ahead. Right now I feel calm and writing her eulogy actually brought a sense of peace, perhaps closure. As for the moment I want to think about “that day” as a day to celebrate her life and I will try my hardest to do so and honor the woman, my mother I loved so much. There are plenty of other times for sadness, and it might turn out completely different, but for now and as long as I can hold onto it, I will allow myself to be filled with so much more then just grief and heartache. ❤️

Posted in Life, Mom

A broken promise

Just before I went to Moms house last Friday, I stopped to visit a little favorite when in Germany “The bread house”. It’s a wonderful place for fresh bread and pastries, as well as breakfast, many blends of specialty coffees, and other delicacies. Have I mentioned that the food in Germany is dangerous and highly delicious and addictive?

Well… I went, but I didn’t think it through all that much. Driving along on the road, I soon found myself looking at the trees and the changing leaves. I noticed the paved, pedestrian/bicycle path right next to the road and my heart got heavy. Immediately the memories caught up, and I thought back to last year when I pushed Mom in the wheelchair on that very path. I had decided to take her out of the nursing home and onto a little trip to “The breadhouse”. It took quite a bit of effort to push her that far, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat because precious memories were made. I remember taking Moms picture amongst the piles of leaves, and despite of sitting in a wheelchair, I don’t think she could have looked happier.

Tears were choking my throat shut, but I continued on. I ordered my coffee and went to sit down. It wasn’t obvious immediately, but soon I realized that I had picked a table very close to where I sat with Mom the year before. Again tears were choking me as I fought them back once more. I felt so sad and empty inside, wanting to curl up in a corner like a little child calling for her Mom.

Mom was everywhere and yet she was nowhere. I don’t think one could ever understand that pain unless they have experienced it for themselves. Compassion and empathy brings a certain level of understanding, but actually losing a loved one, comes with a whole new level of hey and pain.

As if it wasn’t enough already a song came on that I always associated with Mom and getting her out of the nursing home. I’d insert the link but the limited WiFi won’t let me. The song is called “Sign of the times” by Harry Styles in case you want to check it out. The lyrics hit home more than ever.

Just stop your crying it’s a sign of the times, welcome to the final show, hope you’re wearing your best clothes. You can’t bribe the door on your way to the sky, you look pretty good down here, but you’re not really good.

Just stop your crying, it’s alright. They told me that the end is near, we gotta get away from here.

In the end she couldn’t get away…not alone and not without me. Having lost Mom is getting harder instead of easier, and the very things I didn’t want to happen are unfolding more and more. I spent ten month with her last year and everyone has said that I did more then most would have done or were able to do. I didn’t want to have regrets, I didn’t want to leave a stone unturned, I didn’t want to look back, saying I should have, or I wished I did. One could think I did it for my own conscience from the sounds of it. Did I do it for those reasons and made it something about myself while it never was about that? It was about a person needing help, a person crying out, a person unable to help herself, a person dying without a hand extended to them. It was about Mom and should have never been about something else. Why do I hold myself responsible? Because I was the only one that could save her…just like last year. I know her time would have come either way, like all our time comes, but not yet, and I still don’t believe that the was her time. It was her time because she gave up hope, she lost sight of that I would ever make it back and take her out for that home. I had promised her that I would try my best to make this happen. I didn’t know how and couldn’t find a way. For the first time ever, I did not deliver and broke a promise.

This post was prescheduled and it was a tough day. I had to get back in to add that I am doing the best I can. Some days are harder than others. Some days I see the light, others I don’t. There is much to do right now and as I wrote this post I was hurting a lot. Tomorrow is a new day yet again.

Posted in Life, Mom, My story

An old friend

I stopped at the house (Moms house) for the first time on Friday. It was very emotional and very different this time. Things are no longer the same. Despite she wasn’t at the house either as I spent ten month in Germany last year, Mom was still in this world, alive, and perhaps it was hope that kept us both going. A thought of hope that she might return to her beloved place, her home once more. But that day would never come.

I barely made it to the front door as an old friend greeted me. Remember Bember the cat? She was all cuddles and purrs, it was nice to see her, but right away I could feel myself well up. This cat was one of a Moms last friends, keeping her company in the lonely house. I’m not sure if she ever felt lonely here, she must have, but she loved this house and it’s where her memories with Dad are. I took some comfort feeding Bember and knowing that I was on the heel of the things Mom used to do.

It was overwhelming to come into the house, knowing Mom would never see it again. Everything was so final and I sat for awhile looking at both my parents pictures on the wall, pleading “Now what” under tears. The house feels so much different, and it appears to me just like it must have to Mom as Dad passed. I now feel the same about her passing and there is a different level of understanding. I learn anew that things become memories, painful and heartbreaking. I can see why she never wanted to change anything in the house for it would have disturbed those memories.

This is very hard and I know things will find their way. Eventually…but not for a long time.