Saturday, November 26, 2005

Well, I've survived another tough week. First I had to deal with the coworkers, then I had to get through Thanksgiving, and today I've been sorting through my mom's papers. My God, I love my mom dearly, but she was a depression baby and she believed in holding onto e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. *sigh* I've spent the day (it's Saturday) going through her room looking for her will.

This is the third time I've tried to find it, and I'll be going at it again tomorrow. I've already thrown out several 30gal garbage bags full of stuff that doesn't matter, like advertisements and old bills and recipes and bobby pins and old pens and keys and - oh, God, you've no idea how much crap she amassed in that 16 x 18 bedroom. As I progress through box after box of papers and bills dated as far back as 1987, I can't help but think I may not ever find the will though she definitely had one. I was with her when she had it drawn up, and I'm the executrix (I think that's the female spelling) so I know what her wishes were. But it's just damn scary to think we may have to go through probate without a will, plus it will take maybe a year or more to close her estate. *sigh #2* Anyway, I'm drained.

Thanksgiving was really hard for me. I kept remembering mom and me making the turkey and arguing over how hot to run the stove for the veggies, stuffing and gravy. I'd have the stove going just right and the minute I'd walk away for a peek at the parade she'd go over and lower it, so I'd raise it again and tell her, "Hey, don't mess with my stove you" and we'd argue (good naturedly of course, and in fun) like we always did. God, I miss her so much I ache both physically and emotionally.

This year I stayed in bed until 3pm (I watched the parade and the dog show), then forced myself to go downstairs to check on the stepfather. I played on the computer for a couple of hours, then fed pops around 5, then went back upstairs around 7 and had a Healthy Choice Chicken Marsala dinner.

My brother went to Staten Island with his fiancee and had a nice turkey dinner. I could've gone, but I didn't feel like driving me and pops (there wasn't enough room for us in my brother's car). Ah well, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it anyway, and I probably would've depressed everyone else, too. Still, I missed the smell of turkey cooking. I missed sitting down to a turkey dinner and tearing into it with mom. My cousin from Texas is coming to stay with us for 2 weeks at Christmas, so maybe we'll make a turkey then. We'll see.

So that's about all I've been up to this past week. I'm basically just trying to stay afloat, and I'm trying to deal with my grief. I'm also nursing a case of bronchitis and a stuffed up nose/head, and that's trying my patience as well. I've had this upper respiratory thing since 10/22, and I'm tired of it mostly because it's really a bitch to cry when you're already stuffed up. But I think I'm on the mend. Maybe the new antibiotics are finally kicking germ ass. I've started writing again, which is a GOOD thing. It's a catharsis for me. I've written a few new poems, but they're really sad. Ah well, at least I'm writing, and that's the important thing. The fine tuning can come later on.

So, I'll close by saying that I hope you're all well, and also with telling those of you who still have moms to go call her or hug her or whatever. Like Nike says, just do it. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Well, I have a few minutes so I thought I'd update. This is not going to be a happy post. Things are moving ahead, though I feel I'm going backwards. I had no idea settling an estate was so involved and time consuming. There have been many new things - I'm suddenly a home-owner, which means I must also clean it and order fuel oil, do its shopping and pay it's bills. I've lost my best friend, yet I find myself having conversations with her in my head - it all still seems so surreral. I find myself crying for no reason at all, and she's stuck in my thoughts no matter what I'm doing. God, I miss her. Each day has gotten harder for me emotionally and I feel cut-off from friends and family, though I'm not. I feel like there's a blanket separating me from the world and everything outside is muffled.

Monday I go back to work, and I dread it because I know I will have to face all my coworkers who will come to offer their polite condolences, all the while feeling like I want to scream inside. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I know they mean well, but I'm in such a raw state that any mention or reminder of mom is going to set me off. I just don't know how I'm going to cope. Worse even, I feel like I'm getting sick again - I'm coughing and my vocal cords and chest feel a bit raw. So, I guess I'll have to go see the doctor yet again. *sigh* And you all know my feelings on that method of torture...

Well, that's all I can manage today. I'm wiped. Until my next entry, be well and take care. And remember to hug your mom!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Well, I'm back, and today I want to talk about Moms. They can be the most caring and loving people, and they can be the meanest, cruelest, coldest heart stabbers in the world. Only a mother has that kind of emotional sway over a child, be it infantile or adult. If you've been blessed, like me, she's the best thing in your life, and the best friend you'll ever have. No one but her will trudge out in the driving rain to get chicken to make soup for you when you're sick. No one but her will be there when you have those sudden bills pop up when the cash flow has run dry to bail you out. No one but her will know the sting of your bitchiest, nasty worst ever moments and still love you unconditionally.

There is no one else on this earth quite like you mom. No one. Not even dads, who are just as well loved and who love just as well, but who have a different style and way about doing it. It's been my observation through the years that women are born nurturers, while men have real problems dealing with anything associated with the emotions. Well, most men, anyway. Granted, there are exceptions, but they are as rare as albino bears.

Life is short, and fragile. No one knows when their number will be called at the gates of heaven or the gates of hell. My advice to everyone who reads this: make it your business to cherish every damn single minute you share with your mom. Savor each moment and dedicate your memories to permanent storage, easily called upon. Spend time together, laugh, love. If I can influence just one person who reads this, it will be a GOOD thing.

Wednesday afternoon I came home from work to find my mom on the floor, dead from a massive heart attack. We had no warning - everyone is still in deep shock. None of us this saw this quagmire coming along to suck us down into it, and I know in my heart my mom didn't see it either. I'll bet my last dollar she was more shocked than us, even. Here was a woman who would turn 79 in three weeks who could best me every single time in the energy department. She was amazing that way. She was boundless. She was a true giver, always giving what little she had to those who had less, and I wish I could learn to be even half of the loving, caring, thougtful, helpful, patient person she was.

She was still warm when I felt for a pulse, all the while pleading with God that this was not really happening . She was still as warm as me. She must've passed less then 15 minutes before I got home. I'm still coming to grips with what's happened. It's all so surreal - I keep thinking this is just a nightmare that I will wake up from. But each hour that passes only becomes more painfully indelible as I realize I am already awake and that, yes, this is really happening, this is really real. I find my mind not focusing on anything and both mentally and physically rambling around, and then suddenly finding amazing clarity or dissolving into mindless tears. Right now, I feel completely focused on writing this but I could start to wander at any time.

I miss her already, more than you could ever know. I had the good fortune in life to have a wonderful, funny, amazing mom, a mom who was also my very best friend, and now she's been shut off with a quick flick of the switch. I never had a chance to say good bye, nor did she. I lost my father when I was just 7, so she became my anchor, and now I feel as though I am adrift in a wave-tossed ocean without anyone at the rudder. I feel utterly alone, even though I have family and close friends lavishing me with their love and tears and understanding and support.

Her death has changed me forever in a most profound way, and life will never be the same for me. I know it's going to get worse before it starts to get better, but that eventually it will get better - the passing of time will eventually dull the razor's edge and I will learn how to absorb and heal the nicks. I just need to take it a day at a time, an hour at a time, a moment at a time, one breath at a time. So, for this reason, you may not see many new thoughts or any of my poetry and photos here for quite some time. Or, you may see it come in starts and fits. I just don't know where life will be leading me as I try to come to terms with this loss, a loss I have feared and dreaded equally for most of my adult life.

So, for those of you who still have the blessed company of your moms, I council you to not take her for granted. Don't put off spending time with her - whether in the physical sense or in the audio (think phone) or written (think letter or card) sense. Cherish every single moment, and store every single memory away like a squirrel burying nuts for the winter, because once that winter comes, the following spring may not.

I wrote this a while ago for Mother's day, and I will publish it here again, in memory of and forever dedicated to my mom.

Safe Haven

You are the calm eye
in my hurricane life;
a safe haven protecting me
from fierce-stitched storms.

You are the sugar in my tea
(and sometimes the lemon, too),
the down in my comforter,
the dot of my I,
the island in my sea.

I could try all day
to put it into words,
but words cannot describe
your indelible imprint
on my life.

You are my rudder and anchor,
steering and grounding me:
creator, nurturer, protector,

© 2001 by Cookala

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Well, I'm back to work again, though I'm still sick. I hope to hell I don't get another relapse. I don't think I could take that. I know my boss certainly won't. I'm still coughing up ugly stuff (I'll spare you the visual details) but at least my head is clearer and the fever is finally gone. The health fairy must've finally found me and sprinkled me with some slow acting, time-released wellness dust.

This is going to be short, because I've discovered that I now have a work pile that reaches my ears. *sigh* You'd think someone would pick up the slack. I mean, crap, the boss is constantly speaking about the idea of teamwork and how we should all make that our mantra. Yeah, right. Guess what, boss, no one is listening. Everyone is too busy building their own private domains. *sigh#2*

Well, that said I've got to go. If I have time later in the day I'll come back and bitch a little more.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Damn it. I had written a witty expose of an explanation as to why I've been so seriously delinquent in making a new entry for a week now, but the damn software ate it for lunch. Suffice it to say that now I'm pissed and this is the much shorter verison. I've been battling a URI since October 22nd. I lost a week of work and went back too early because I'm a schmuck, so I got a relapse in the form of a totally ass-wumping sinus infection. Since last Wednesday, I've had little energy to do more than sleep, achoo, hack and blow. I've lost ten pounds without trying, which is a good thing but definitely not the way to go. So, that's it. (I must be in the bitchy stage of illness right now.) Well, I'll be back hopefully as soon as the health fairy remembers how to find me. Until then, take your vitamins, get the proper rest and most important of all, avoid at all costs those of us who have been infected by the damn germ terorists.