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Saturday, October 06, 2012

Gee Wee Marie

Over the last few years, I've managed to start and stop and start over and delete and write and re-write this post. I never published it, because I'm ever-so-slightly superstitious sometimes and a teeny tiny part of me thought that somehow I'd be jinxing things by writing about it too early. So then, I'd save the draft for "when the time comes". And then a few months down the road delete it again, while cleaning out unfinished drafts.

So now the time has actually and finally arrived...and I don't have any words on hand.

It's such an absolutely bizarre situation, because when my dad passed, it was so easy to reminisce and talk about his life and the shared moments etched into my memory. The pain of the loss was like a fresh open wound and talking about him and his life helped the healing process along.

I think the main difference was that the death of my father just came out of the blue and with my's been an extremely arduous and almost torturous process. I mean, it's been drawn out to such lengths that there's a twinge of the ridiculous and comical about it. The one analogy that keeps coming to mind is the scene in the first Austin Powers movie, where there's the guy in front of the steam roller screaming "Stop!" like he's about to get run over right away. Then, the camera pulls back and you see that the steamroller is still a good distance away, but still coming towards him and slowly, but inevitably, rolls right over him.

That's what my mom's illness felt like to me, except, of course, there's no moving out of the way in this scenario and the steamroller was moving much more slowly. About 5 years into the 12 years that my mom lived with this incredibly devastating neurological disease, the reality started to sink in for me. Probably some of my other siblings as well. A definite change was happening. When talking about her (not to her, of course), we kind of completely stopped referring to her in the present tense. And we started clinging to the stories of the past. We weren't making a whole lot of new memories with her -- or, at least, the memories that we were making weren't particularly the kind upon which you would fondly look back with a smile. It was just heartbreak after heartbreak, increasing with severity over the years.

So I guess, for lack of a better term, each of us began our own living mourning process. Everyone had their own tactic(s), I guess. I don't think we ever talked about it that much. Not really directly. Instead of a fresh wound that just needs to be patched up, it was this sort of old, festering sore that just wouldn't heal up properly and kind of never really goes away.

And sorry for swearing in this post, Mom, but it's absolute bullshit and so completely unfair that you weren't able to live to be just a million years old and happy and worry free. Some of that last sentence is a bit of an exaggeration, but not the part about it being some colossally f***ed up shit that she's gone.

That said, I've also got to say that with her passing and given the situation, there's also just some relief. I'll be perfectly honest. I'm incredibly sad right now. I don't actually think I've ever been this sad to my absolute core in my life. But I'm also so very, very relieved. I don't expect everyone to understand what that means, but I know some of you will and some of you will think you do, but don't. All of those things are fine. This is just how I feel.

I had an incredibly awesome mother. Her smile, her laugh, her absolute and unfailing kindness and generosity, her courage and strength are unmatched in my book. She raised eight kids, let us be our own individuals, accepted and forgave us unconditionally and repeatedly (no matter how many times we messed up...which was a lot in some cases). The lack of her active presence in the last 5 or 6 years has been so conspicuous. She held us together and now we're kind of just flailing about.

I'm probably forgetting lots of other kind words and stories about how awesome she was, but I don't really have it in me right now. You'll just have to take my word for it. Just know that anything about me that is even remotely good/likable/remarkable, whatever, all comes from her.

True story.

1 comment:

Pickles aka Robbyn said...

You have that pineapple story you should repost or link into this one. It is so typical in its "Marieness" that everyone who knew her would know it was about her if you never used her name. I forgot about that particular whimsical story and it made my day to read & remember.