It has been a very long time since I wrote in my blog. There are reasons for that. Over the last couple weeks I have been much too busy to even think about it, but that is not the primary reason for not writing.
2 days after my last post, I received a phone call in the morning from my hubby, a phone call that I will never forget. He was on his way to his parents' house because of an emergency. He called me again after he got to their house and I was completely shocked by what he said.
His mother had passed away during the night. It was completely unexpected. A shock.
The next few days I spent more time at their house than at mine, helping plan the funeral, caring for family members, then came home to make sure my children were fed and taken care of after I'd been gone all day. I had the honor of writing her obituary. The funeral director was very understanding and gave me plenty of time and space when I decided to do Mom's makeup.
After the unexpected death and everything I had just gone through, I did not know how I could go back to doing something so...normal. I would look at my blog and think, how can I write when my world has changed so drastically?
I immersed myself in my school work, getting the highest grades in the class and turning in assignments and taking tests on time even though my instructors told me to take weeks off. I focused on helping everyone else. Making sure my sister in-law slept and my father in-law ate, doing anything and everything in their house to help them out, like washing laundry so they didn't have to see Mom's clothes and bed linens before they were ready. I didn't do it to avoid my own grief; I wanted to help them any way I could because I couldn't do the one thing I really wanted to do which was to take this nightmare away.
I watched as my hubby went through motions, organizing a funeral for his mother, taking care of his sister and father, and anything to keep himself busy. I saw my strong husband become vulnerable and looking lost. I had no idea what to do for him. My heart broke and it was physically painful to see the grief on his face and be so helpless to do anything about it.
So how do I go back to doing something that I enjoyed when one of the most important people in my family is gone? It felt like writing would be ignoring what happened. Like I would be moving on with life without acknowledging what we had all just experienced.
Here I am, someone who worked for years in hospice and helped my patients' family members through their own grieving process, someone who knows that it is important for a person's mental health to go through the entire grieving process and feel each emotion as it comes, and I'm suppressing what I know will hurt. I am scared of allowing myself to feel the complete impact of it, even though I know I need to.
I remember the first time it hit me that she was gone. It was 6 weeks after the funeral and I was in a lot of pain because of Evil Back. I was having difficulty walking, my pain was at a 10 out of 10, and I didn't think I could take one more minute of it. I reached for my phone to call Mom2. She was always there for me because she was the only other person in my life that dealt with pain this severe on a daily basis. She always knew what to say. She never said the things some others would say to me like, "you need a better doctor because you shouldn't be in this much pain" or "remember to have faith in God". She understood.
As I went to her name in my phone, it hit me. In that moment, it felt like I was crushed under a boulder because it hit me so hard that she wasn't here. There are times still when I am having a really bad day with pain and I want to talk to her, just to hear her tell me one more time how strong I am, how much she loves me, how much she understands the guilt of a mama who wants to do xyz but cannot even tolerate doing abc, and having to rely on others for simple tasks.
The next time it hit me, and hit me HARD, was after the Tough Mudder in September. Hubby ran it with a friend and I was cheering them on with the friend's wife and mom. The wife and mom were a lot of fun to hang out with and they didn't have that "we just tolerate each other" bit about them that a lot of wife/mother in-law combos have. They were genuinely friends. I thought, I wish Mom was here so that we could all laugh at these guys doing such ridiculous things and the 4 of us would have a great time. I was so sad that Mom wasn't there and reminded myself that she couldn't have made the long walk with her walker and I definitely couldn't have pushed her wheelchair on those hills, so it's okay...hours later it hit me why she actually wasn't there. All day I had been thinking in the present tense, as if she could have been there.
The week before Thanksgiving, I was honestly thankful that I had a ton of homework and couldn't do anything on that Thursday, because I did not want to face the first holiday without her. Then I felt guilty that I wasn't going to be there for the family, because as someone said to me the day after she died, she wasn't my mother so I don't have a right to grieve on my own and I should set myself aside for her "real" family. (Yeah, I'm a wee bit bitter over that because it really messed with my head to hear that.) In the end, I did try to make it work so I could go to the family dinner but I really had too much to get done before the weekend and I felt horrible that I wasn't there for everyone.
Mom was a wonderful lady and I am so grateful that I got to have her as my second Mom for almost 5 years. We were a lot alike; hubby really did marry a woman just like his mother. We had a lot of laughs and even our times of butting heads but we always came out of it closer and with a better understanding of each other.
I graduate this Thursday. I wish she could be here to see it and to celebrate with us. I'm also scared that I will suddenly be hit with feelings that I've been suppressing, because after Thursday I will no longer have school work to hide behind. I will no longer have that constant distraction and I will have to face what I've been avoiding and dreading.