Friday, November 18, 2011

Rising Above

There are so many conversations I wish I could have had with my Mother. By the time I realized the gravity of what was happening, she was no longer able to be in the present with me. She was already consumed by the battle; alternately fighting to live and struggling to accept a mind and body conspiring to leave us.

I had been trying to show her my love and gratitude for months before; with more visits, more phone calls, with gifts, small luxuries and a dream trip with memories to cherish. I wonder if she knew all that was being said with those gestures…I hope so.

But at the end, I needed her to tell me what to do, how to cope, and how she wanted me to carry on. If she had left behind some departing instructions, full of all her experience and wisdom, I could have reflected on her words, and used them as guideposts for the millions of minutes I have been so very lost without her. But this was not to be…

In my search for others who have found themselves motherless and who might understand the accompanying devastation, I came across a staggeringly beautiful tribute site created by a 23-year old women named Emmy. She lost her mother to ovarian cancer in March of 2009 and since then has posted thoughts, music and pictures dedicated to her “mummy”. Her site is called grieving gracefully (in lowercase like a whisper).  Here’s an excerpt from my favorite post:

“Rise above this, Rise above Emmy”

is what my dear mother stressed to me one afternoon ( hands clenched ever so tightly that I could feel her hand pulsing in mine) in her bedroom.

She talked of what she expected from her daughter. Her last moments of crucial parenting before she left for her new home in heaven.

I sat down with a notepad in hand prepared to write down every word she told me and all i wrote was “rise above”- dated March 4th, 2009.

That one hazy afternoon we talked of life in the future. We were about to be separated worlds apart and she needed to know that I would carry on to the best of my ability. I made a promise in my head that day that I would “rise above”- I wouldn’t be that young woman who lost her mother and it broke her. I would be strong. I would rise above and show other’s that I conquered. Just like her.

We learned to LIVE. to LOVE to a higher degree. to be grateful for every second we are given and to see this LIFE as the greatest gift.

Our eyes opened in the darkest hour.

Death never took her away from us. Death could never separate us from our LOVE.

Choose to “Rise Above”

I am envious. Emmy and her Mom confronted what was happening to them, and talked about the end and beyond. As I read this, I try to imagine what Mom would have said to me and the catharsis I believe would have come from hearing her say the words.

Perhaps Mom was always trying to show me in her Bonnie Rae-unique, wonderful, quiet ways how much she loved me; to prepare me for what she would want me to do in the life left without her.

And hoping I would know.

1 comment:

  1. The words of your post really touched my heart. There were so many conversations I wish I had had with my mom before she died. So many things I wanted to tell her, so many things I wanted to hear from from her. But I waited until it was too late. My mom did so well for so long, but then the cancer took over and my mom was no longer my mom. I lost the opportunity to have a heart to heart conversation with her. When my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I made an effort to see her more, we talked every day, but I never askws the questions I wanted to or to say what was really in my heart. Some of it come out, but not all. This is a regret I will always have. I wish I had handled things differently, but I didn't and this is something I will always have to live with. The only comfort I have is that my mom knew how much I loved her when she died. I told my husband just last night that I only really knew my mom as Mom. I was looking forward to our next stage in life to get to know her more as a person, who she was inside, if that makes any sense. Pancreatic cancer stole that opportunity from me. But my mistake before my mom was diagnosed with cancer is that I always thought I had the time for this next stage in life for us.

    Take care, Kathy