Friday, September 12, 2008

Thinking of Mom

Coming up on the third anniversary of her death. It's funny how it gets worse every year instead of better.

I just received a lovely email from a Canadian friend of the site who essentially said the same thing seven years now after his mom's death, and it gave me this feeling of permission and expansion. I'm sorry to say if you haven't experienced it; it never gets better. It's not a love affair that ended. It's your mom. And there's something so fundamentally wrong about not being able to ever turn to her again or throw your arms around her neck that you really won't understand until it happens to you.

Two memories are in my head right now, both of them my fuck ups. The thing about caretaking is your daily thought until the loved one dies is "Don't fuck up" because every choice you make has their life in the balance. You're the one responsible for the medication doses and for monitoring every health change and knowing if it's a symptom that their doctor is going to be either pissed that you called about, or pissed that you didn't call about. And there's no manual. It absolutely taught me I can't have children.

So my first memory is of my sister's b-day three years ago. She was working at the hospital and I was supposed to drive mom over and we were going to go do something. Can't remember what. On the way out the door, I decided to take an allergy pill. Figured out by the time I got to the hospital it was actually an Ambien. Worst car drive of my life, trying to keep it together for mom. I never even take aspirin and I rarely drink, so RX have huge effects on me. I was a drooling, comatose mess by the time I got us into the parking lot. That's all I remember, except their anger and disappointment in me, as usual.

The second memory is one I've shared before, of my big "day off". I was going to eat ice cream and watch Gilmore Girls all day with my friend Michael to celebrate graduating from the UCLA screenwriting program. Mom was trying to get onto the porta potty by herself alone downstairs and fell, wedging herself in an incredibly painful and vulnerable position inbetween the bed and the wall. She was half-naked in her own urine and humiliated and it was just awful for her. Burly, wonderful Michael rescued her, and if we weren't friends for life before then, well that was the moment. I couldn't have done anything to help her but call 911, so he was our calm, wonderful hero.

Those are the types of realities I wasn't supposed to share while she was alive. But they're the ones that haunt me in her death. The times I wasn't there for her, the humiliations she endured.

I don't know. I've been really emotional this month, and sleeping a lot and feeling awful about every area of my life in general. Every area except how I look, ironically (see below post). There's little movements where things could change for the better, but it's all really slow, and I'm supposed to be putting on this chipper face because I'm job hunting and dating and selling the movie/myself and any one of those people could look at this online record and see I'm actually a mess and reject me.

But I don't know. My gig is the truth, for better or worse. And the truth is I feel crappy and incapable of so much and wish the doctors would straighten out my depression medications a little quicker. Once they get the dose down, then I better be strong enough to take on why I'm working so hard to empower everyone but myself.


Marty Nozz said...

Loss is terribly hard to deal with, and like you said about being a caregiver, there is no manual. Inevitably, with loss comes guilt. No matter how much do did, how hard you tried, it's the mistakes that you always remember the clearest. Guilt festers. It's the nature of it. Often that's what makes the hurt get deeper over time.

You are going to hold yourself much more accountable for every mistake you made much more than anyone around you. Forgiving yourself can be one of the most difficult things to do.

You were there for your mother. You did the best you could and the best you knew how. That's what's important. I'm sure that she was and still is proud to have a daughter as strong and fine as you.

My mother is still with me, so I can't imagine the grief you're feeling, but you have my sympathy. I've faced loss, and in dealing with it found comfort in my faith. I believe those I've lost are somewhere better, and hopefully I'll see them again one day. I don't know if you prescribe to a particular faith, but that may provide some comfort for you. I hope it does.

It hurts. It's supposed to. I've read about the charity work you and your sister have done. I've read how thoughtfully you've written about here. You've done a wonderful job in honoring her. More than enough to make any mother proud.

Lynda said...

It's been almost four years since my sister's death, and in some ways this year is harder than the last few. I miss her every day and wish I see could see her son, and be here.

I don't know if things get better so much as that you just adapt to the changes, and every now and then, you have an off day.