This year was different. On a good note, I bought and sent my mom a Mother's Day card with a gift on time! Not to worry, I'm not patting my self on the back for doing what I'm supposed to be doing. But this was the first time that I had walked into the card aisle and actually picked out a card for her in a long time. I sent hand-written letters or pretty blank cards with a note for the past few years. It was just too much to be standing in that aisle and to focus on finding a card that expressed my feelings and gratitude while not completely falling apart or wanting to run out of the store. I did not want to just quickly pick up any one that would just do.
So, this year felt a little surreal as I browsed through the Mother's Day card selection. I did tear up as I was scanning to find the appropriate section as my eyes glanced across the For my Loving Wife section. I don't miss him. I miss and grieve the dream of what was to have been. And I feel frustrated because even though it hurts less, I just want to be able to let it go--to really move into a better state of acceptance where I can more fully dream new dreams. But I have to be patient and give myself credit because I did refocus and found a card that I really felt good about giving my mom. I was slightly determined not to let that other section derail me from what I came to do and I was not going to allow myself to fall into the trap of dwelling. I quickly acknowledged the part that was not so easy and then carried on with my business.
On a sad note, when I called to talk to my mom on Mother's Day, she shared with me that my grandma (my dad's mother) was not doing well. This was not surprising news because her health had been declining for several months. She had fallen and fractured her hip about two weeks before Mother's Day and I was waiting to hear how she was doing. If she didn't seem to rebound, then I knew she would most likely make a rapid turn for the worse. Two days later, my grandmother died peacefully through the night.
I have mixed emotions about my grandma's passing. She was in her 90's, so she lived a long life. She was also not diagnosed with any illness, so her death is really related to age. While her fall contributed to her decline, at least she was able to have some amount of independence and mobility towards the end of her life preserving some dignity--even if it was only really for going to the bathroom. My last memories of my grandmother are good ones because I did go visit her at the end of March. She recognized me right away, she was in good spirits and she laughed. She teased my dad about his greying hair in asking, "Tommy, where is your red hair?" However, I am sad because I did not feel a closeness with my grandma in a way that I would have liked. It took me a long time to come to a place of acceptance in this. As much as I wanted to know more about her, I felt shut out on a certain level. I always felt a distance in that our relationship was just on the surface--politely supportive. I knew she was not a warm and fuzzy kind of person, but my dad would say she would always ask about me. I wonder why she couldn't show me a deeper love?
I am glad and proud of my dad for taking the time to visit my grandma regularly--well before the end and near the end. I hope that it helps to give him closure in saying good-bye to his mother. I imagine it could not be easy to watch a parent slip away and change before the days came when her awareness was seemingly gone and she mostly slept.
I will miss her laugh and her smile--the real smile--the one with the twinkle in her eye or when her whole face would light up.