I am not clear if this derives from Midwestern upbringing or our families coping mechanisms. We join together for brief moments of conversation, sharing stories and grieving, then like a boxer, retreating to the corner to reflect and catch their breath.
Naive thought that there would be a relief when she was gone since there were battles, patched over with regret and then back to love. In the end, love was genuine. The stroke was bittersweet. Most of her memories were gone. Dementia must be a daily nightmare. Her memories of her younger self-clung to the corners for her to grasp to hold a fragment of herself. Our relationship was fresh and honest in the end, as a mother and daughter should love. The repeating of stories, because she could not retain what I had just said, never tired me because I could hear the joy in her voice at each retelling.
She knew she was changing but was stubborn until the end. She did not want to leave this world, but her body gave her no choice. I hope her last dreams were pain-free and filled with the kind memories she hid away. I wanted to hold her hand in the hospital room as she did for me. I wanted to fall asleep in the uncomfortable chair as she did for me. She couldn’t hold on for me to get there, I understand the pain, and the other side was beckoning. I hope her travel to the other side took away fear and regrets. I hope Torchy, her best friend for a lifetime, was there to take her hand and guide the way. Maybe, my father and the years of hurt diminished and they could be silly in love again as they were in the beginning.
I may not want to share more about this, but I know I am loved and that you are there for whatever I need and I thank you for that.
I am in my corner reflecting and catching my breath.
I love you, mother.
See you on the other side.