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silverkitties

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Everything posted by silverkitties

  1. September has been a very difficult month for me this year--and not just because of professional pressures. Traditionally, it's always been a refreshing month of sorts, if not mostly because there's the first real whiff of fall in the air (now that seasons seem to be starting later and later). It's always marked a new school term with all of the excitement that it brings. Hopes of new projects. A time to break out new fall fashions. And yes, the approach of Halloween: meaning more horror to watch on TV. Last year changed that optimism so drastically. It was last September when my mom's decline assumed a frightening pace--right up to her death on October 4, 2014. Not that we ever gave up hope entirely. After all, her CAT scan had shown that she had improved in some places, and deteriorated in others. When my cousin and her husband came to visit us in mid-September, she seemed happy. Yet, it seemed strange to us that her red and white blood cells kept declining so markedly, even though she was still fit for chemo. That she suffered more and more severe stomach pains: not just once a day, but multiple times. That she could not see objects placed straight in front of her. That she could only go down the stairs with extreme difficulty. This was not the mom I had in February or even in May when she could still go up and down with ease, despite her stroke in April. It was on September 21 that she looked so uncomfortable and very cranky. Strange, because she seemed be doing much better the day before, a Saturday. She ate a good deal and I was happy. On Sunday, tempers flew. I threatened Mom if she didn't start eating or stop talking the way she was, I was going to call the visiting nurse. It was meant as both a threat and yet also as a possible life saver. After all, what if mom was about to suffer a stroke or heart failure? Finally, by early evening, I thought it was better to give a call. Up till very recently, I still had (or have?) no idea if I did the right thing. The nurse decided she needed to go and so she went. My mom was furious at me--and also began to suffer severe pains and low oxygen. They put an oxygen mask on her which made her even more uncomfortable and I almost wanted to cry for her. One of the nurses came by to give her morphine. In the meantime, it was discovered that she seemed to have some masses around her lungs. They didn't know if it was the cancer spreading, or if it was pneumonia. The next day, she was better but still seemed quite weak. We were relieved that her roommate appeared to be very friendly. In the next two days, as we had requested, my mom got moved to a single: this was partly so my dad could stay with her as it was clear she wanted one of us to stay with her. Since I was already spending so much time there in the daytime such that I wasn't able to respond to my students, we decided it was best for dad to be with her. The weekend of the 26th and 27th were beautiful, sunny days--sort of the eye of the hurricane. Mom was still somewhat weak, but she was eating more and seeming more alert as she wanted to be wheeled down the hall for her "exercise." Two women from the Taiwanese Association came to visit her (the ones I was complaining about earlier); one brought a roast Chinese-styled chicken from the local Asian grocery. On Sunday, she seemed even better and more alert. She ate with more gusto. We were pleased when the doctor making his rounds confirmed that--adding that her lungs were clearing up and she seemed to be recovering from what they were calling pneumonia. Already, I was mentally preparing a discharge from the hospital the next day: I would make or buy whatever breakfast she wanted--and then we would leave for home where I would make extra certain that she did not get sick again. Mom couldn't quite decide what she wanted; so I told her, "look I usually call you in the mornings anyway. So I'll call and you tell me then." I will never forget our goodbyes that weekend. She was awake both afternoons and managed to say "I love you." On Sunday when one of dad's friends was picking me up, she told me "don't get into trouble." Ever the protective mother. That evening, it seemed as if a cloud had been lifted. I had a chat with the lawn service guy who lived across from us. I then called mom to tell about a fly that had gotten into a water bottle which I had sealed immediately. Even after 3 days, it was alive and kicking in that water. Mom, certainly you can thrive right? But she was drifting off. Dad told me she had only eaten some of the food. As I got up next morning to call mom--the morning of the 29th, I received a shock. It was not mom or dad who picked up the phone, but a doctor. And strangely, a doctor with the same surname as my dad's personal physician. (Turned out to be his niece.) I was told mom had suffered a stroke. It would have been her second that year. When I arrived, she (and my dad) had already been wheeled to the ICU. Her room was a wonderful one, all clean and modern, overlooking the hills: it was her best one so far and it was too bad she could not enjoy it. I went and asked what meds she had been given to see if it was any different from what she'd gotten that week--before blowing up at my dad who told me he had also given her aspirin because she'd requested it. WHAT, YOU IDIOT, YOU GAVE HER MORE PAINKILLERS AFTER SHE'D ALREADY GOTTEN A HUGE DOSE?! (Later that night, my pharmacist cousin told me she thought those meds she got over the week were somewhat heavy for someone her age.) There was one only hope left at 12pm: that she would wake up like she did after first stroke. It had taken about 4-5 hours before she had gained consciousness the first time. Maybe this could happen again? The hours went by. 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm....and the day becoming increasingly overcast whereas it had been somewhat bright and hazy that morning. It was becoming evident that the hoped-for miracle would not recur. But my dad did tell me something interesting. Late Sunday night or the wee hours of the morning, she had called out for me. Then she proceeded to call her mother and all her siblings from oldest to youngest, not missing a single one. We wonder if she knew the end was coming. (More to come this week...I have so much to do but I feel I need to chronicle her passing. )
  2. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Hello, Eliz--know all too well what you're feeling. I went to our local mall for the first time since my mom died cuz I had to retrieve my photos from my broken ipad. I think I was too nervous about not being able to do so and as such didn't feel as overwhelmed about the memories. Yet, it was interesting that on the preceding day I was freaking out on this...thinking how can I bear being at the mall where my mom and I used to go all the time? ANd how would I not be able to think about the time I went there on my own in August 2014--only two months before mom died--and not be able to think about that all that happened afterwards? At the end of the day, the trip was not as terrible as anticipated: partly because I was surprised and happy that Apple was able to get my pics back (including the last pics of my mom). I think if I went to the mall more frequently--like the restaurant I go to with my dad or the Marshalls nearby--I might have felt less distraught at the prospect of going there. It may well be that if you go the mall often enough, you will get more used to it and suffer fewer pangs; perhaps you'll even begin to relish the memories. Why not take your daughter and family out there to eat or enjoy an event? Maybe if you take her to see Santa around Xmas, you might feel thrilled by her happiness. What I don't expect though is to still feel blue when I'm shopping online. Looking at clothes, shoes, or makeup that even reminds me of stuff I bought in the year she died can still bring a pang to me, depending on my mood. The other day I was watching a Ralph Lauren fashion show and couldn't help but think of all the times that we watched one together. Sometimes I see clothes that I want to buy for mom....before suddenly remembering I can't buy them for her. When that happens, I try to get back to work ASAP so as not to feel too bogged down in memories. Yes, still a challenge, even after 3 years.... I won't deny that the first Xmas can be tough: for me, it was less than 3 months after her death. Now, that year, we were still in contact w/ the Taiwanese Association, and they brought us to a few performances. But it made my loss feel more acute than ever when I saw all those happy families with their mothers and grandmothers at the church concert. It brought back memories of my last Xmas concert--when I was 4 and stlll had Mom.Why couldn't mom be here? She would have enjoyed the lovely surroundings of the church and the great music. Not surprisingly too when I cooked Xmas and New Year's dinners, I couldn't help but think of the previous year when mom was still seated at the head of the kitchen table. I hope, with your husband and daughter around you, that you will not feel too lonely, Eliz.
  3. Eve, this year I didn't do much--partly because I am on the home stretch of the book. I just want it out of the way at this point. I can't believe it is three years either. Do you feel differently this year from the previous ones? I still think my first year was beyond a doubt, the most difficult one. Such a double whammy--missing my mom and feeling so lonely. (And of course my dad doesn't make it any easier for me.) When I'm actively engaged on a project, I'm fine. But I would be lying if I didn't admit that sometimes it's still hard to get up and know that there's really nothing to look forward to. No mom to go out with. No mom to show my work to. No mom to make me feel comfortable. The fact that dad is so different from mom hurts even more, especially when I KNOW that he helped end her life. It pisses me off so royally that he has only cared for himself and never cared about me or mom--and here I am, taking care of HER MURDERER. Mom and I should have had the chance to enjoy more trips together. She should have had a few relaxing years without the asshole telling her to do this and that. Especially whe dad has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for our family. Everyone used to say that my mom looked so strong and dad so weak; yet it was my dad who outlived her. IT'S BECAUSE HE KILLED HER BY DRAINING HER OF ALL ENERGY! I hope to make the remainder of his life as miserable as possible.i tell him each and every day that /i hold his kunt mother responsible for raising such a weak, no-dicked man. Honestly, she should have just let him die when he was a sickly boy isntead of spoiling him. He has NO business living up to his late 80s! I hold his kunt cousin for distracting him from his work: and of course my dad for not being able to resist. ( It is interesting btw that while I have had opportunities to flirt with men these past 2 years courtesy of LinkedIN (LOL!!!), I have withheld them in the knowledge that my completing book is far more important! )FINALLY, HIS KUNT STEPMOTHER FOR AIDING AND ABETTING THIS KUNT (BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER) AND ADOPTING MY DAD'S YOUNGER BROTHER SUCH THAT HE OWNS all THE PROPERTY DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE ALREADY EARNS FAR MORE THAN MY DAD. SHE AND MY ASSHOLE GRANDFATHER DEMANDED $200-300 A MONTH FOR 20 YEARS IN THE 1970S AND 80S. HIS WHOLE FAMILY SUCKS! (Sorry about the caps....typed it all, discovered it, and didn't want to retype.) I blame my dad for not researching health insurance in 2013/14 when he was being switched from Cigna to United Healthcare. I 've always wondered if this 2nd rate insurance is what made the doctors give up on her. I blame my dad for pressuring me in my younger years...while he busily played with his kunt cousin. Honestly, I know of no man who uses a sabbatical to fool around with a prostitute. Sabbaticals are used for writing books! No wonder this jackass never made as much money as other engineers. And no wonder he wanted me to study medicine or engineering....so I could support his sorry ass in later years. He's not like those good American fathers who say I will earn as much as possible so my daughter/son can study anything s/he wants. (Interestingly, this is what his younger brother did....shows you how much better a father he is than my jackass father. A good father fights so his children can have EVERYTHING! ) I MISS MOM SO BADLY! IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE TWO OF US TOGETHER....NOT ASSHOLE DAD! I hope he dies in pain. GODDAMN THE MOTHER PHUCKER.
  4. Well, Eve, mine has come and gone....although today was wet and muggy, reminding me of the day she passed. I guess another warm, rainy October day will never be the same again. I thought of you the other day too when the anniversary of your mom's stroke approached. Reader, yes, sometimes getting up and out is just half the battle. Sad but true.
  5. Those are all great ideas, Reader. I remember preparing my mom's favorite chicken soup: actually, it was consistently one of the favorite dishes my mom prepared for us over the years, especially when one of us was sick. Then in the last 2 months of her life, she taught me how to do it. It was one of the dishes I brought to my mom when she was still conscious. This year I got really busy...so I decided to resurrect this thread and write about my current thoughts on her. Mom is, of course, rarely out my head; I guess reading my earlier thoughts on her and writing about her helps bring her back to me just a bit. Life will never be the same for us. when i am not busy working on something, my life feels like such a vacuum without her. Sometimes, all I want to do is listen to sad songs and cry.
  6. Tessa, because my dad is such a big liar, I don't even know if his kunt cousin is still alive. Dad told mom she was dead and when I asked him later, he said that her neighbor told him. And now I wonder....did he find this out when he was visiting her? Or did her neighbor call up my dad to tell him? Either way, it makes him look very bad. Later on, when I asked him if she was dead or alive (because I know what a liar he is), he said he didn't know! Last night, we had yet another fight. Scumdad complained that I didn't put his meds in his box. I hit the ceiling. EVERY WEEK, I do his meds and show him how everything has been placed in its proper slot, Monday through Sunday. If he's missing anything, it's his fault. But, of course, it happens just about every week, because idiot doesn't know what day of the week it is and is not smart enough to figure out that he must have taken meds for a different day of the week. (They're actually all the same for the morning, and for the afternoon.) Nor surprisingly, we had another huge fight. I make sure to tell him every day that I hole him responsible for killing mom and that he's better off dead. AFter all, if you're braindead, you might as well be dead. I just saw the best obit by a woman who hated her father. I'm planning on doing much the same: http://obit.carnesfuneralhome.com/leslie-ray-charping Reader, when did your dad pass? You may have mentioned it once, but I've forgotten... (maybe I'm braindead too) Are you planning anything special? I remember preparing my mom's favorite chicken soup that firswt year.
  7. It's so lonely

    No kidding,--that's exactly how I feel,Tessa. I worked from home teaching and grading online so I was here more or less 24/7 with mom hovering around nearby unless I was actually teaching on campus. Now, if my deadbeat, douchebag, dimwit, dipshitt, dingbat dad were not here, life would have been heaven. I used to fantasize that once D(e)ad kicked off, mom and I would travel again. No more having to bend over backwards for the overgrown 4 year old. The mentally ret@rded affirmative action graduate of Princeton. The incest pest. But alas, he wore mom out and she died instead. I do miss her so much. She was my best friend, mentor, and everything in between. Like you, I don't have lots of friends either....I had just gotten rid of one two years before her passing and I have another one whom I do like a lot but she lives several states away. I miss not going shopping with Mom after finishing a big project. I miss not going to the library and Barnes and Noble in the late afternoons when we would check out DVD's to watch. I miss not going to the drugstore where mom would simultaneously complain I had too much makeup AND urge me to buy yet another nail polish. I miss not showing my mom my articles and course evaluations.....just like the days when I was a little girl in school. Those days are gone. (All together, CUE Eric Carmen's ALL BY MYSELF, DON'T WANNA BE ALL BY MYSELF....ANYMORE). The silence can be difficult....and even worse are the reminiscences, especially in the beginning. I'd look out of the window and think of the time that mom and I had gone out grocery shopping and discovered the best wings ever. And sometimes, if I happened to be watching a Spice Girls video, I would inevitably think back to late 1998 when mom spent Christmas with me in England. What a wonderful holiday. I can still remember going through those crowds of people on Oxford St. in London, feeling tired, but so happy with mom. We'd go to a carvery and eat to our heart's content. Or sometimes we'd get sushi and mom would laugh at the number of plates in front of me. (Oh no, this is starting all over again!!!!) So before I get lost in memories again...can you tell us more about your mum, Tessa? Sometimes you''ll feel better just writing about your mom and sharing favorite memories.
  8. Hi Tessa and Lisa--Tessa, i'm sorry to hear about the loss of your mother: and that your in-law is part of the asshole dad club as one of our posters here calls it. I can tell you first hand it definitely hurts because you can't help but think how much better it would be if he--rather than the mother--died. Every day I can't help but think how much more superior my mom is to my dad in every shape and form. And that she was probably the only one who ever loved me. I am pretty much stuck yelling at him because he's the type that if you are nice to him, he takes full advantage of it. Plus, he's deaf. I really wish I had the money to just stuff him in a nursing home, but alas I don't. Maybe when I earn money from my new book, I can Plus, I need to vent especially since there is no other release for me. How I long for mom. My last 10 years have not been easy, and mom always made everything feel palatable. She was almost a reason for remaining alive. When I went away on trips, it was always great to call up and chat with her: and those chats would inevitably be over an hour even though I otherwise lived with her, Then when I got home, we'd go out to eat. She was there whenever I finished my work, and would always be sure to fix a favorite meal if I was very busy. And now, what a contrast with my dad: a man who never listens, is slow and stupid so that one has to repeat everything at least 10x before he gets it. Sloppy, scattered and unrefined so that I have to clean up more than ever. What a difference from mom who was always fast, tidy, knowing and, above all, appreciative. I know, no amount of wailing will bring her back. I can sing "My favorite things" till I'm blue in the face, but she won't come running to the backdoor from outside. I can listen to all the songs I used to listen to in high school and know that I won't hear her call my name to go down for dinner. The phone will ring and I know it won't be her telling me that she'll be in home in a few minutes. At the same time, when I'm out, I can't help but think of how i passed by the very same places only a short while ago with mom. So strange to think that depiste the passing of 3 years, I am still struck by little things like this.
  9. Hi Lisa, I've thought a lot about you, wondering how you were faring with your mastectomy and chemo: I recall you writing back sometime this past spring or early summer but was too exhausted to write at that time. Teaching, writing, my own health issues, and of course, my crazy ass dad were a struggle for me. Everything that could go wrong seemed to happen. Let me give you one example that happened back in early April. Since we were going to see Dad's doc, I begged him to change his diapers and clothes. He refused. Anyway, when we got there, the doc commented on it and suggested that he get a guardianship. A few days later, this one nasty, officious SS worker came over and said he was going to push for it. That got me worried as guardianships are riddled with problems--not least, serious abuse. Anyway, it took nearly a month to get these POS off our backs--only after I complained to the SS department about the worker and threatened to report him to our state legislators as well too. This ticked me off because if dad had listened to me then, none of this crap would have happened. Even now, I have to yell and yell at him before he does anything. If I don't die of a heart attack or stroke, I will count myself lucky. In fact, I even wonder if my eczema is triggered by my dad. When I feel irritated, I can't stop scratching. I've decided when he dies, I am going to write the nastiest obit ever. He's screwed my life from beginning to end, refused to fight for his share of our property and wasted our finances on that kunt of his. He has NEVER done anything for our family, and yet I'm slaving away for him. WHY???? This is not to say I don't have qualms. I know mom loved him: I have no idea why. He's plug ugly, stupid, and I hold him responsible for her death. In fact, not a day goes by without telling him he killed mom. I really want to dump his ashes when he dies. Yet I know she would not want it--and so every night I wonder what to do. All i know is I want to reunite with my mom. That's all I want....I guess that's what we all want.
  10. I can't believe it's been 3 years and a day since Mom passed away on that rainy morning of Saturday, October 4, 2014. 3 years have passed...and yet so much and so little seems to have changed. I'll start with some of the positives. I can safely say that 2015 was undoubtedly the most difficult year. All the memories from 2014 and the preceding years still seemed so fresh and raw. Every day was packed with memories. Sometimes I'd wake up and the skies would remind me of a certain day I visited mom in the hospital. Another day, it would remind me of a day in England. Then when it came time to pick a lipstick to wear, going through the stash I had bought that year would remind me of the day I had worn one out with Mom. Or the day it arrived in the mail before mom and I went out to shop. Going out to shovel snow would bring back recollections of early 2014 when I shoveled the driveway while mom was in the kitchen. To make a long story short, every day was filled with so many different thoughts, reminiscences, and snapshots of the past, shot through with acute longings for a happier time together and knowing that I would never have them again. As the one-year anniversary came and went, I continued to be haunted by memories....but they were now becoming suffused with a softer light. Sure, sometimes I would still feel immense hurt, especially on the days that my dumbass, deadbeat, douchebag dad behaved like the true unthinking moron he is (granted, a LOT of times), but happy memories were no longer always accompanied by the sharp pangs I felt in the preceding year. I began to look back on our times together in a new light. I thought about how fortunate I was to have mom and to have experienced all that we did: our travels, our celebrations, our shopping excursions, our pizza nights, and gardening stints. I began to feel grateful that my mom did not die suddenly and unexpectedly when I heard news of that terrorist attack in Paris. So glad that I did not lose mom at an earlier age when I needed her even more. Could I imagine losing my mom at the age of 3 when I was so attached to her? 16 when my dad began cheating on mom? 27 when I lost a guy whom I had been seriously interested in for 4 years? I wondered too....what would it be like to lose mom at a later age when we have even more memories together? What would it be like to lose mom when I am old and feeble myself--how would I help her? And so on...Not that there is ever a right time to lose her, of course. Was 2-14 the most opportune year to lose her if I must? 2017 has been an especially challenging year, not so much because of grief, but because of personal difficulty with my father --reasons that are too much to deal with here. (Indeed, I already feel tired just thinking about it): much of which wound up making me long for mom all the more. If mom were here, I'd tell myself, Social Services wouldn't be making their troublesome visits. I wouldn't feel so worried about staying in the hospital for a full recovery. I would have a chance to relax, kick back and watch more movies with her. And on those days I went to teach in NYC, I couldn't help but wish that she were with me on the bus. How I longed to ask her more about the route taken by the bus on the Henry Hudson Pkway in the Bronx. WHen did we take this route? Is this how we went to Chinatown? New Jersey? And is that mall on the right hand side the old one where we used to go on Friday evenings? How nice it would be if mom were on that bus with me, staring at the stars through the bus window as we had done so many times on our night travels in NYC. Mom, if only you knew how much I still think about you every week, every day, and every hour.How I wish I could get a sign from you. Was that you last night when the proch light that had been out for sometime suddenly turned on? Or has it just been temperamental on other occasions? But I was very happy to have a vivid dream about you last night. Perhaps because I'd been thinking about you all day as it was the third anniversary of your passing. Perhaps it was because of the porch light. Or the full moon which was shining through the windows facing the back yard. Whatever it was, I dreamt that I was working in the yard one sunny afternoon. Then suddenly, I saw you waving and heard you calling "I"m home": and I was so surprised as if I didn't expect to see you at all. And so you did too when you gave me a big hug, showing me a few yummy items you had bought. It reminded me of the moment in The Sound of Music, my favorite childhood movie, where the kids suddenly see Maria again after searching for her at every abbey. (Maybe if I sing "My favorite things," mom will return?) As if I didn't know you had already died. Or had that occurred? (Sometimes it's hard to tell in dreams.) You looked so spruced up, dressed in a yellow sweater and white skirt. Some of the people from the Taiwanese ASS-ociation showed up and they were surprised to see you too. At any rate, I had paperwork to do that evening but I was so overjoyed to see you that I didn't mind. At least you would be with me by my side. I don't know when I realized I was dreaming but it was the most soothing one I'd had in a very long time, helping me drift further into sleep (I think).It wasn't until several hours later as I was waking up that I realized it was all a dream.I found myself in tears...something I hadn't done in a long time after a dream about mom. How I wish I could see her again so badly. How I could get a hug from her. I thought I was healing?! Mom, there is now only one thing I wish for:that we will be reunited one day. I don't know how, when, or if that will take place. I want to be happy like all those other occasions when you picked me up at the airport or train station. Or when I waited for you at the bus station. Or those other occasions when I was so relieved to see you like when you returned home from Taiwan. Or even those times we bumped into each other unexpectedly at the mall. Life without you has been so incomplete: no wonder our meetings together are always happy, however brief. Only you can make me whole again, Mom. I long for a time that we will never be separated again-- and you will be my side forever. A time when we will never worry about illness, departure, or anything else.
  11. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Athina and Eliz, I don't want to give either of you the impression that nothing ever changes or improves--or that you will feel miserable forever. It all depends on your individual circumstances. I know it hurts tremendously right now, only a few months after the passing of your moms. It's only natural. But I think one way of making your grief feel a little more manageable is remembering that both of you have husbands who love you and wonderful children to boot. This can make all the difference. I have never liked kids myself but after my mom died, I found myself wishing I had a few of my own just so I could look at them and trace out mom's genes. Maybe if I had a little piece of mom in a child--her eyes, her nose, her temperament, her wit, I would feel that life was definitely worth living. As such, I can't help but think it is a good opportunity for bonding more closely with your children. Here, I think of my relationship with my own mom after the death of her mother in 1992. I still remember the night when she got a call from one of her sisters in Taiwan telling her her mom had died. I absolutely deplore my own insensitivity at that time: mom wanted me to sleep with her but I didn't--just because I hate sleeping with others. I so regret that now--even though my mom and I sometimes shared rooms together later on our trips and certainly during her last year after the stroke. But at that time, I selfishly said no. In fact, I even wondered if she had to go back to Taiwan--after all, she had just returned home. But I did understand when she said she had to. No one misses the funeral of her own mother! When mom returned from Taiwan, she looked no different: yet, now, having read so many experiences from mothers here missing their own moms, i'm beginning to wonder if I didn't miss anything. Did I assume mom got over it because she lunched and shopped with me right after her return? Shared laughs? Or did she secretly cry herself to sleep without my knowing it? Or were her ties to me and my dad just naturally stronger so that her mother's death did not overwhelm her--especially since she'd been away from her mother for several decades except for a visit every 5 years? (Remember that my mom was my one and only one....and there is no one to buffer the loss in any way) At the same time, I like to believe that mom did share a great deal of happiness with me afterwards: our relationship became much stronger over the course of the 1990s when I turned 30. She did not get to travel with her own mother, but she traveled with me and I have reason to believe that she enjoyed herself when we tried new pastries, got excited over bargains, tried on different outfits, and marvelled over breathtaking scenery and architecture. I know mom enjoyed many of our intellectual discussions and bawdy talk too; I can still remember our giggles and sometimes ringing laughter. And of course, I know she shared a lot of my personal and professional triumphs. I myself came to be much more aware and sensitive of her needs, particularly as she aged. When she felt uncomfortable in any way I tried to comfort her as best I could. At the end, Mom may have lost a mother, but she certainly gained a daughter. As such, I hope you mothers--Athina, Eliz, and others here--will also begin to relish life with your children. Your moms were great to you, and you will be great to your children. You will create your own memories. Eliz, I know you mentioned something about travelling--and I hope you get to do it with your daughter. I hope you will share as many happy memories as me and my mom. Athina, I do the same thing you do--categorize my clothes, makeup, and other belongings by phases in my mom's life. And not just material things--but recollections of events and music. Yes, it really does sound exceptionally silly, but this intensity is only proof of our extreme devotion. It just goes to prove how involved they were in our lives. Right now, my one antidote to depression over mom is telling myself to "be like mom." Mom always did her work, regardless of circumstances. I tell myself to do just that. (OK, back to work!)
  12. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Hello, All--Eve, May, Eliz, Athina,, Mission, Reader, Cindy Jane, The Girl, and others I may have missed It's been a while since I've been here and I can assure you for good reason: less than a week after my dad arrived back from rehab, I wound up in the hospital myself--the first time EVER for me. My left foot was hurting so badly that I ended up taking a cab to the ER in no more than a nightgown and bathrobe. Turned out I had cellulitis and a fever to boot. All of this was further complicated by my dingbat dad and an oncoming blizzard. I had told my dad to answer the phone....which he did not. After several hours, I called his nurse who told me to call the cops. The nurse convinced them to send my dad to ER since there was no one to take care of him at home. This really screwed things up since I needed someone to be home to feed the cats on Tuesday and Wednesday. As it was, given the threat of an 18" snowfall on Tuesday, I had to beg the docs to discharge me early. If only my dad had answered the phone, I would not have to worry and he would not have been sent to the hospital--and I could have taken my own sweet time to recover. And btw, yes, I'm still furious about my dad for not fighting his younger brother for his share of the inheritance. Seriously, only someone who didn't care about the welfare of his child/ren would do such a thing. I'm sorry, but there's just no excuse. If you have a male appendage, you should FIGHT TO THE GILLS. After all, mom and I always fought anything we found unfair or unjust. I once spent 3 weeks fighting to get $800 back from a hotel....and another 2 weeks for $300 from our moving company: successfully too! My mom would always call up to contest late fees (even though they were deserved, LOL!). I am angrier than ever before at the fact that this asshole sent a good deal of money--$200-300 a month every month for 20 years to his father and step-mother--and DIDN'T GET ONE PENNY OF THIS BACK. Talk about POOR INVESTMENT SKILLS! Meanwhile the same shitforbrains used to talk as though I used his money on college and grad school. NO, YOUR PHUCKING PARENTS SPENT ALL OUR MONEY. AND WHAT KIND OF ASSHOLE PARENT SPENDS MORE ON HIS PARENTS THAN HIS OWN CHILD, AN ONLY CHILD? He spent at least today's equivalent of $600,000 on his crappy LOW-CLASS policeman and teacher scumbag parents, the same ones who encouraged him to cheat on mom. So, yes I have every right to be ticked off at him: unless someone wants to pay our bills, they have no right expostulating with me. I HAVE EVERY REASON TO BE ANGRY! At this point, I do not want to pay for his ashes....as far as I'm concerned they should be dumped in a landfill, where they belong! By refusing to fight for me, he has essentially put me in the dumper--and this is after years of his pisspoor parenting: one that has damaged me thoroughly. HONESTLY, WHAT DO I OWE HIM? We need this money so badly...it's not even for me anymore, but for his nursing. Because of this we might have to sell the house. Unfortunately, my dimwit dad never considered this when his younger brother took everything....chances are my dad was too busy sleeping w/ his kunt cousin to care. All of this makes me more depressed than ever. I want mom so badly it hurts....she was the only one who cared for me. I still remember her telling one of my aunts to make sure I got a share of her mom's property even though the chances it will be sold are very slim. Yet, that was mom. I happened to read an article on What's Your Grief and found a very interesting one about yearning....before realizing immediately that it described my feelings to a T. I have always yearned for the past, possibly because I was much happier then. Back then, I suppose, there was still hope. And now that mom has passed, I long for the past even more. I can't help but think how my Tuesday and Thursday mornings--the days I go to NYC to teach--begin with a ride past the hospital where my mom died. I gaze at it, thinking to myself "If you are still there in spirit, mom, God bless you, I love you so much." As I'm heading home from NYC in the evening, I think of our years there all over again as we pass by the George Washington bridge. I think of the times we passed it at night when I was growing up in the Bronx, with the twinkling lights and stars still up above as I looked through the windows of our Vokswagen....I reminisce over the picnics we had there with my cousins in the evenings; and as I see a sign for Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, I look out at the buildings, knowing that my old apartment is tucked somewhere in there. I think of the times when we were so happy....when mom was in the kitchen as I played with my dolls....when she read to me....when she sang to me in bed in my toddler years...when we watched TV together. And now, here I am, 40 years later, seeing the same sights and heading back home but without Mom. As I arrive back in Hartford, I inevitably think of our more recent past....the time Mom and I took the very same bus home in March 2008 on a Monday evening. How long ago that seems...I think of the times when mom picked me up at the train station in 2013....and now there is no one to pick me up. On the cab ride home, I think to myself how mom and I passed the hospital many times but never thought anything of it, probably because she had never been there for her own issues. Then when I'm back home, I'm happy to see my cats....the only thing that's missing sorely is mom. Sometimes, I'll be reminded of England--or Europe when I hear a song from the 80s and 90s. If it's from the 90s, I think of all our jaunts to London. Random songs from my college summers recall our times in Salzburg. Sometimes, I'll think of our visits to the various Viennese delis when I'm eating a coldcut sub. And now it's coming up on the anniversary of my mom's first stroke. Funny, how it happened 3 years ago, but I still remember some of the days before the event so clearly. I still remember all the hope and enthusiasm I felt when I turned in the first chapter of my textbook. And just the other day, I found a Lowe's receipt from June 4, 2014: exactly 4 months before she passed. Couldn't help but remember what a happy day June 4 was, little realizing she would disappear so quickly. I remember it was a day right after I had successfully fought to get my class back; my mom was so thrilled for me. On the 4th, we all went down to mom's rehab for her health check; I remember feeling just a tad apprehensive, worrying that she might have to stay there again if there was something wrong. It was the same day that I finally received a cat bag that I ordered....mom wanted it so much I let her have it even though I wanted it myself. I remember how we got a ride that afternoon from one of the Taiwanese when they brought us to Lowe's where we bought a fan and some bottled water. We were so glad to be back home that evening--and I felt especially thankful that I still had mom. I told myself that I would make her as healthy as possible. Three years have come and gone. It seems as though little has changed. I can't help but look back because I am so unhappy--never knowing if I am going to finish that textbook. Never knowing how our finances will hold up. I am so scared and need mom more than ever. All I have are memories...
  13. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Welcome back, Eve! And hello to our circle of friends--Missionblue, May, Lisa, Athina, Reader, Eliz, and probably a few more.... Eve, I was not initially going to reply because I am so busy: dad is returning home tomorrow and there is still so much I have to do. But those sock monkeys are so adorable! Like New133, I marvel at your willingness to pursue an activity that is so associated with your mom! There are times when I finish a project and think to myself, mom would be so proud! I feel the same here. These are so amazing! Your mom would be beaming.
  14. Hello Sweetisabelle, idontknow, and Athina--let me offer my condolences to you. I can't even begin to imagine how horrible I would feel if I were a student rather than a faculty member experiencing a death of a parent. Let me just begin by saying that my own mother died during the middle of a term, back in fall 2014.Although my first impulse was to quit, I did not; in fact, I got back into the swing of things the day after her passing. I also had a paper to present at another college later that week. However, the challenges for students and faculty are anything but the same; you are all building your foundations so it's especially important to be on the right foot. I hope you've thought about Reader's suggestions. Have either of you gone to see a grief counselor on campus? I think this is a good place to begin--as well as paying a visit to your college advisor. Perhaps you can sit down together and decide whether your current course lineup is realistic for what you're sustaining right now. It goes without saying that grief is a huge load. If there is a course that you think will bring back more triggers or pangs than you can bear at the moment, you might want to think about dropping it this term. And if you think at all that your work might be compromised, sometimes a leave of absence can help. I bring this up because I had a foreign student who took one of my classes last year before losing her mom towards the end of the term. I remember asking her if she really wanted to take my class because she had already missed the first 10 weeks; that was already a lot even without her mom's illness. (IMO, she should not have taken it in the first place.) If you have trouble keeping up with a class, it's going to be even worse when you are going through bereavement. Anyway, no one has any right to decide for you. If you think you can weather it, go right ahead. But if in doubt, take it at your own pace.
  15. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Hello, All--Lisa K, May, Mission, Eliz, Athina, Reader, Cindy Jane, Dgiirl, Jackie, and probably a few I have inadvertently missed-- Lisa, I hope everything will turn out OK for you. I wish the best for you on your surgery....I know I'd be scared too. We will all be here for you. May, I love songs from the 70s and late 60s--and have found myself listening to a lot these past few years. They're kind of wistful for me, as they remind me of my happier past in NYC when mom was still around. I love the Carpenters ' songs "Superstar" and "Top of the World". The first one, kind of sad and bittersweet, was one of my faves growing up....today, it helps me picture our small apartment where mom was never far away. These days, I choke up when I hear this part: Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby You said you'd be coming back this way again baby Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh, baby, I love you I really do Loneliness is a such a sad affair And I can hardly wait to be with you again What to say to make you come again Come back to me again And play your sad guitar I also remember "Nights in White Satin" (a sad song that was a hit when mom was in the hospital), but I also l like "California Dreamin," Downtown (reminds me of all those great days mom and I went down to Manhattan), "Windy," " Georgy Girl," and a song by the Cowsills "The Rain, the part, and other things" Well, back to the present. It's a beautiful, warmish, sunny day today. And it also happens to be what would have been my mom's 85th birthday: yes, she shares the exact same birthday w/ Liz Taylor, who died even younger than my mom. They must have been passing out the looks on that day, because my mom was quite the beauty too (see my gallery of pics). Too bad she didn't get the acting talent! I remember thinking to myself when I had first heard of Liz's death, look at mom--so hale and hearty. She'll last well into her 90s. 85 will be nothing at all. Little did I ever expect to lose her at the age of 82 and 7 months. Even younger than her own mother who was obese. I can't help but think how our future was cut tragically short. I know there are others of you who've lost your moms at even earlier ages....but I guess we never have time enough with our moms. I remember thinking that as soon as dad kicked off, being the perpetual bother, nuisance, castrated POS that he was, mom and I would have a much easier life. No more strange hours for mom to accommodate herself. No more last minute drag racing for mom because dad didn't get up in time for his appointment. No more countless reminders to dad. Eliz, I was going to do just what you were planning too. Mom and I were going to book a cruise or train travel as soon as I sent that book off to the publishers. I was going to buy her a new wardrobe. We were going to enjoy a peaceful life together. We would finally get the life we deserved and that we waited for so long and so patiently! But, of course, it didn't happen that way. I got stuck with the crappy parent--my dad. The parent who never behaved like a parent. Most of you who've been here long enough know my feelings about my dad--how I hated him for screwing up my education and career, cheating on mom, and on a being a generally financially irresponsible parent. Well, yesterday, I got further confirmation of this-- as is any more were necessary at this point. One of his relatives--an uncle whom I remember fondly from our days in the Bronx--contacted me yesterday. He actually thought dad was at home, but I explained the situation. Anyway, I learned a lot of interesting things....it turns out that when my paternal grandmother died and left the property to her 3 kids--dad, his sister, and younger brother--the latter took ALL of it. My dad never got his share--and he was too chicken to contest him. FOR GOD'S SAKE, HE WAS THE OLDEST BROTHER! WHAT A Phucking measly, NODICK ahole--NO WONDER HE WAS ALWAYS WEAK AND SICK growing up! HIS PARENTS SHOULD HAVE JUST LET HIM DIE! A WEAK MALE IS A USELESS MALE AS FAR AS I SEE IT! Anyway, his younger sister died a decade after the grandmother....so now the youngest son is using his parents' house as a medical facility for a son or son-in-law (also a doctor). In other words, he is using it for himself without paying any rent. WHY IS IT THAT EVERY FATHER I KNOW KNOWS HOW TO LOOK OUT FOR THE INTERESTS OF HIS SONS AND DAUGHTERS AND MINE COULD NOT BE BOTHERED? Right now, we are owed a substantial 6-digit figure. My dad always assumed that his brother would give him a share because he's become quite wealthy as a doctor himself....that alone should show how dumb and naive my dad is. (Just because he's a a pansy himself doesn't mean every one else is a pansy too.) My loser dad does not have the common sense to realize that THE WEALTHIER SOMEONE IS, THE GREEDIER THAT PERSON WILL BE. Right now, I hate my dad so mcuh for not having claimed his share....he only wanted to make himself look good, i.e., not greedy, without caring about MY futur! What's even worse is that my dad himself had also given his parents $200-300 EVERY MONTH when they were still alive--and that was between the 1960s and 1980, when $200-300 a month was worth about $1300 today. And meanwhile, that shitt-for-brains had the gall to push me to apply to the best universities before ultimately denying me the chance to go when I did get in. PHUCK YOU DAD FOR SENDING ME TO S. college, NOT U.C. BERKELEY, which is a world class institution. (My college is just as good.....but in academe, as is true everywhere else, popular reputation matters!) It's like he wanted to screw me out of EVERYTHING IN LIFE! And here, I have to WASTE TIME. going to see this phucker in hospitals and rehab. HE SHOULD JUST DIE! THAT'S HOW HE TREATED ME AND MOM! NOT CARING ABOUT OUR FINANCIAL SECURITY! Just contrast the way that mom wanted to make sure I would get a part of her mom's property. She talked about it on a weekly basis. Yes, it's true, MY MOM WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO EVER CARED FOR MY PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL WELL BEING. I AM DONE VISITING HIM! HE DIDN'T CARE ABOUT ME. WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT HIM? To those of you who lost your fatherS....I honestly wish I could trade mine with yours. I wish mine were buried and yours still with you. At least, yours fought tooth and nail for you all the way as a TRUE parent, father, and family provider. All of your fathers probably supported you in your every endeavour, fought for your inheritance, didn't cheat on your moms. Mine was only a sperm donor and leech. If I can find a way of not paying for his burial or dumping his ashes down the toilet, I will do so. I don't want his ashes mingled with mine or my mom's.
  16. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Well, I've been an offender here as well, Missionblue. But the only way I could ever explain the dimensions of my relationship w/ my mother was through her steady support for me. At the end of the day, the man who seemed to be so promising turned out to be a big nothing. It made me cherish my mom more than ever. Honestly, the whole experience I went through felt a bit like Sense and Sensibility. Mom truly defined unconditional love for me--just like Mrs. Dashwood did for the Dashwood sisters. I bring this up as I have no one and know I have no real opportunities at the time being to find a relationship. Finding a man is not at the apex of my needs right now; it's finding a decent job to provide for me over the years. I want that more than anything else at this point. However, I hope everything works out with you and Ernesto. I get the impression that once you're moved, he will settle a bit and love you on your terms. He really cares for you--don't lose it. It's the chance of a lifetime. I can tell he is basically an honest person who has own little quirks too and a sense of fun. He almost wants to shelter you like your dad did and that's not a bad sign at all.
  17. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    MsPak, the fact is that it is not always easy to just talk about the deceased: that is why Eve set up this thread. It's intended to let us voice our feelings at any given time, to share thoughts during a difficult period where some of us do not have understanding friends, family, partners, or spouses nearby. Because many of us have become friends on this thread, it has naturally become easy to drift to topics not entirely focused on grief over one's parents. You should have seen some where we started writing short stories for the hell of it! Let's not forget that none of us grieve in a vacuum. We are here in part because those around us neither fully care to or understand the intensity of our grief. We have relationships with others around us--siblings, spouses, children, the remaining parent, etc. Many times our own relationships with others are also influenced by our parents. Sometimes we feel terrible because a spouse does not show the same understanding that our deceased parent would. And although I don't have a partner, I have seen many spouses or those in a relationship get valuable help over their grief when their partner showed little empathy. It is as such that some posts are invariably long. Sometimes too, our feelings for the deceased have a lot to do with what they have done for us: hence, stories about how our parents have helped us over a failed marital/romantic relationship in the past. Or how we've reacted to their own failed relationships. While seemingly trivial, it's these recollections of how our parents have supported us emotionally and mentally that demonstrate just how much they loved us--and why we grieve in return. That's why they really wouldn't be suitable for a section on grieving a significant other. I think you're better off just starting a new thread and posting questions there if you hate wading through those posts so much.
  18. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Cindy Jane, it's good to see you pop in--I hope your knee will improve through the spring w/ rehab! May, I happened to have found one Nyquil I bought on the kitchen counter. I didn't think I stuck it there and forgot about it! As for my dad, no one knows if he has gall bladder cancer: because his kidneys and heart are very weak, the surgeon is afraid that he would not be about to survive the staging tests. That was last Friday: he also happened to have caught the flu. I think I caught it from him!! Eliz, I will have more memories to share later, but just wanted to say that today is a day that reminds me of all of our jaunts to the nearby mall: bright ,sunny, and warm. My mom was the one who drove (long story here which I will explain later), but suffice to say that we liked going out on Thursday or Friday afternoons because they weren't quite as congested as on the weekends. These weren't necessarily long trips--they would be anywhere between 2 and 4 hours--but Mom and I would sometimes head to Macy's, look around together before separating; then we'd meet for tea or coffee. Much of the time we did not pick up anything--I did the vast majority of clothes shopping on ebay (go to stores to look, go home and find it on ebay)--but it was still fun to browse and dream together. Sometimes, on the way back, we'd stop for pizza or go to the grocery. They were simple pleasures, but pleasures all the same. But then mom has been my shopping buddy for years. I'll never forget those sunn days in my early childhood she'd take me on the subway from the Bronx to Manhattan. I remember being fascinated by the fast pace, velocity, and sense of excitement. There was just so much MORE! Mom and I would resume these habits when we moved to Chicago. How fantastic it was to spend a day at Marshall Field's, revelling in the sheer abundance of clothes, and even books, as well as the famed sandwich room, the Walnut room, and the place for sundaes. Or getting away to the Bloomie's building to eat at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. Everything seemed brighter and possible with mom. Then when I went to England for graduate study, we'd head to London for the weekends (mom usually stayed w/ me for a month.) How wonderful it was to hop on a bus, explore Selfridge's, Fenwick's New and Old Bond STreet, Piccadilly Mall, and eat at a carvery. Or stop for afternoon tea. How happy I was to to introduce her to new shops and restaurants! We would head back to Oxford happy but exhausted. Heck, even there on "home turf", I enjoyed hitting the shops and doing lunch with her at one of the many Indian restaurants. I always felt more than a little sad in the few days before her departure because I knew it meant a return to my lonely, humdrum life of a graduate student When mom passed, I had many dreams about shopping with her. In many of them, I would dream that I bumped into her accidentally, i.e., that she had arrived at our meeting place earlier than expected. Sometimes, we were showing each other what we bought. At first, I felt depressed that these were just dreams--and sometimes I would cry. But I knew I was healing when I got up one morning and laughed that I had yet another dream about shopping. We did way too much of it! (I know mom would have laughed because we were already laughing about my shopping dreams.) So enjoy your time with your daughter,Eliz. I am sad that I can not travel and shop with mom as we planned to do (we always thought Dad would be the first to go since he was so weak). But I am happy to seen as much of the earth as we could possibly manage. And bought more than enough (some clothes still have tickets!) Whether it was NYC, Taiwan, Japan, Munich, Salzburg, Paris, London, Oslo, mom has given me memories I will never forget. Her enthusiasm, her taste, insight, warmth made every shopping expedition worth it, regardless of anything we bought. After all, you can't buy experience. It's like the words of that Helen Reddy song, "You and me against the World" (in many ways, so evocative of our relationship): "And when one of us is gone, And one of us is left to carry on, Then remembering will have to do, Our memories alone will get us through Think about the days of me and you, Of you and me against the world." [Read more: Helen Reddy - You And Me Against The World Lyrics | MetroLyrics]
  19. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    So many exciting posts! Alas, I was hit hard by the flu. It probably started on Sunday evening when I thought I was going to collapse in the shower. (I was already feeling somewhat weak that day). On Monday, I felt I had deteriorated and on Tuesday, I knew there was no way I could go to teach that day. I was basically huddled in a ball Monday evening through much of Wednesday wondering even if I was going to recover because getting out of bed seemed like such a monumental chore. I felt a little better on Wednesday night but still didn't want to risk it today. I then felt more alone than ever. The last time I was this ill was back in early 2013, when mom was still alive. She was not only her active, bustling self, but so concerned about her 49-year- old baby...LOL. I remember thinking at that time, thank God I have mom. I have never been bedridden for more than one day at a time. Even my mom herself never had this experience--and she was 81. (Come to think of it, my mom was rarely ill--which is why none of us ever suspected that she had a deadly disease raging within her.) So here I am...no one to buy me medicine, no one to tell me h/she cares. The only ones who came to me were my cats because they were thinking how bizarre it was that I never got out of that room. (The more cynical ones among you are no doubt thinking they are plotting when to eat me!) One hopped on the bed (the possessive one who normally sleeps in my mom's room) Tuesday evening and the other came Wednesday evening. At least I have them! Not wanting my poor babies to get sick, I knew I had to change their water and provide more dry food. I couldn't help but recall some of mom's last words before she was sent to the hospital. She burst into tears wondering who would care for me; I remember crying with her, but you'll live mom. You've always survived." She said "no." How right she was:( Eliz, your experiences w/ your mom sound almost EXACTLY like mine. We both liked to bargain hunt....this started with mom taking me to the local stores in the Bronx. We always enjoyed anticipating one another's wishes. She would always say "I want this but it's so expensive...." but I would find a way to get it for her. It was always a thrill to see her delighted. I still remember the things I bought for her in the last year--but which she unfortunately never got to wear:( I have to admit I have not been to the nearby mall where we used to go. As it is, even looking at the websites where I bought stuff for her can bring pangs....I want to say, "mom, you have see this"...and then realize in a split second that she can't. I felt the same way when I watched the Ralph Lauren fashion show online just last week. If my mom were here, we'd be watching it together. Just going out together was sheer pleasure. My mom noticed that every time we went out together, I would always get compliments on my outfit. She's always say "what makes you think you're unattractive? Every time you go out, you get praised. Everyone tells you how elegant you are,etc. That you look like something out of a magazine." I would say, "men don't care about taste, they care about looks--i.e., how phuckable a woman is. That's why so many men need viagra." Then we would laugh. Yet, my mom always made me feel happy by noticing these compliments despite the fact they were pretty futile. Even going to the drugstores was fun with mom. My mom had an eagerness for buying dollar items, just when I was beginning to realize that drugstore makeup was in many cases as good as dept. store makeup. Even though mom would always complain I had too much makeup, she'd egg me on. On one of our last trips before her stroke, she convinced me to buy a golden dusty-pink nail polish. Missionblue, I strongly suspect that your uncle's visit to China may have done him in. There is a high incidence of GI cancers for all the reasons that May mentioned. It is true: they cook with industrial oil, barely wash their dishes, and more recently, have gotten contaminated food from Fukushima. Btw, stress can make you forgetful. I'm usually the one blaming my dad for leaving the stove on....but just last week, I found myself doing it! I think Ernesto is particularly stressed out because he really does love you; that's why he wants to do so much but is aggravated by his physical setbacks. Believe me, my mom and I had many harsh words between us too; of course, a parental relationship is different from a romantic one, but I believe that sometimes great conflicts come with great love. Athina, I hope you are able to make progress on your dissertation. One of the things that has kept me going was working on a book that I know will be dedicated to my mom. Reader, if it's any comfort, I always thought that both of my parents were very health-conscious. They tried to keep up with research on foods--yet, just like Missionblue stated earlier--it's kind of hard to keep track of "research" when it is changing all the time! You tried to let your dad live a normal life...and perhaps that is the best that can be expected.
  20. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    I couldn't help but notice the common theme of regrets over our care for our parents. We should have fed more X,Y,Z--and less of A, B, C. I suppose I could consider myself guilty of "killing" my mom given some of the stuff I cooked--for instance, pasta. It's only been relatively recently that I discovered that canned tomatoes can be very carcinogenic because of the aluminum canning. Yet, I did not know that: in fact, my mom and I even thought that tomatoes were very healthy. Not to mention sausage, as processed meats are carcinogenic. I could also blame myself for the movie theatre microwave popcorn. Yet, I rationalized to myself then, we only have it once a month....it's not like we eat it every time we watch a movie at home. Ditto the pasta which we would have for several days once a month. All I remember is that mom had so much pleasure from my cooking. So long as I didn't make cheeseburgers or other fattening foods every week, I felt exculpated. I have now come to reconsider all the things for which I've blamed dad--i.e., taking the position in Taiwan. Now, there is admittedly a part of me that still begrudges him for it because of my mom's prolonged stay in Taiwan and visits to Japan may have contributed to her bile duct cancer. Ditto my dad's possible gall bladder cancer. I always used to regret that we were not a normal American family who stayed put in the US., away from the disease and unsanitary food in Taiwan and Japan. But it's not like any of us had real control over that. My parents enjoyed going to Taiwan. How were we to know of the dangers posed by food preparation there? It seems that all of us have tried to make our parents happy, regardless of the mistakes we've made in diet....that is arguably the most important thing. Unless we are actually Ph.D's or MDs in medicine, we have no idea. And even then, not all answers are immediately available. I think what matters is that we all loved our parents so intensely. I can't help but be somewhat pleased that even as I was depressed over John, it was still nowhere near as acute as when I lost my mom. Yes, I had some pangs over the fact that I could no longer have a fantastic looking escort to the opera and no longer enjoy our discussions on music and literature. Yet, the ache I suffered was not anything comparable to that I suffered for mom. Every time I looked at something I wore would inevitably trigger memories of the time that I visited mom in the hospital or the various places we went. I never had such a reaction after the loss of John. It really makes me realize that I did truly love my mom more than anyone else.
  21. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Lisa, I feel so badly for you....and can only pray that the progress that has been made in breast cancer treatment over the last 3 decades will prove a life saver for you. We don't want you to join your mom just yet;) I hope you have happy, or at least less unhappy years ahead of you where you can enjoy the fruits of your work in the garden. For now, though, I can imagine the pain you feel going to chemo....but without your mom:( Whenever I pass by my mom's hospital on the way to the train station, I inevitably feel pangs and whisper to myself...."wherever you are, mom, I hope you know I still miss you so much and that we will be together again. For now, everything I do, I do for you because you have given meaning to my life." May, I never saw that 3's Company episode--and I used to watch it in the 70s! (Boy, talk about blast from the past!) I'm going to have to search for it on youtube one of these days. Since we've been talking about dating, let me share a few memories....that will hopefully also shine some light on my relationship with mom. For a few years in the late 80s, I had a BF of sorts, a friend of a male friend. This BF--let me call him John for now--was almost everything I wanted in a man. He was slim and very elegantly dressed for a graduate student: and to top it off, bore a very uncanny resemblance to the young (mad) King Ludwig who built the fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein, near Munich. (He was a future patron of the composer Richard Wagner.) He was also exceptionally bright and studying philosophy at a top university; even though he intimidated me a bit, I enjoyed going out with him. He was someone who knew literature and music inside out, apart from his academic specialization. I imagined that one day, he would become a star academic at a top university. We had an interesting relationship. Although we attended concerts and art openings, I never quite felt like "a pair" with John. He was friends with other women, and I had plenty of male friends. I remember how he seemed very jealous when he found me walking with one friend, who noticed it too. ("Did you see that look on his face? He was jealous! I should have kissed you!" LOL) He would always ask about them even though he should have been able to tell from the parties I held that I was not romantically interested in any of them. To make a long story short, there were a few incidents that made me think that he was in love w/ me...I remember thinking "finally!" When I returned home from a surprise vacation in Europe, I expected that he would call me immediately as soon as he returned from a visit home. Except it didn't happen. As days went by, I wondered....and finally wrote him an ultimatum. He confessed he was not ready at all and that over past years, women had drawn the wrong conclusion with him. I immediately decided to dump him and told him in so many words. I immediately regretted it but did write back....the following year was almost a year spent grieving over a lost relationship. If only I hadn't been in such a hurry, I thought, I might still be enjoying his company. There were times when I felt close to suicidal. Through all of this, my mom was my one and only comfort. It made me long for her company when she was away in Taiwan--and relish her visits home even more. I really have no idea how she had so much patience listening to me talk about this POS for over a year. I don't even want to think how I would have felt had I lost her then: thank God, she was there for me all the way. It was she who reminded me over and over that I wasn't worthless. She was the one person who gave meaning to my life. I didn't fully relinquish him, however, until I got admitted to my 1st choice grad school. Finally, there was something bigger and better! There would be other fish in the water (so I thought!) Even though I found no one there, I stopped thinking about John altogether. What did shock me later on when I googled all of my acquaintances from the 1980s was that he did not become the prominent, up and coming academic I'd expected he would become. In fact, even though he did finish his Ph.D. at his university, he never got tenure and taught at a 4th-tier college. When I googled him a few years later, he was at another one....and had very bad course evaluations to boot too. It seems that his students find him a pompous yet insecure ass. Dang! If only I had realized that then...I now consider it a blessing that we did not become a couple. (My friends joke about him, "how the mighty have fallen! You used to think he was the next best thing to sliced bread!" I would inevitably respond, "I can't believe how much I wasted feeling depressed over him. A year gone down the tubes") Maybe this is why I never searched as hard for a BF later even though there were a few who did interest me....ultimately, I didn't want to get hurt all over again. This reminds me of your words, Reader. What does it say when the relationship I grieved most after the death of my mother was that of my 16 and 1/2 yr old cat? My best friend joked that that was longer than many marriages! I guess this is how my mom assumed such an important part of my life. Why would I need anyone when I had her with me? She was the only dependable person I ever knew--one who rescued me from the abyss time and time again. This is partly why, for the longest time, the Diana Ross song "Ain't no mountain high enough" has such sentimental value for me: "I know, I know you must follow the sun Wherever it leads But remember If you should fall short of your desires Remember life holds for you one guarantee You'll always have me." I remember feeling really struck when I heard this song at her first rehab facility right after her first stroke. And now, I thought to myself: "If you need me, call me No matter where you are No matter how far Just call my name I'll be there in a hurry On that you can depend and never worry No wind, (no wind) No rain, (no rain) Nor winter's cold Can stop me, babe (Oh, babe) baby (baby) If you're my goal " And indeed, for the longest time, as I grew increasingly aware that my mom had done so much for me, through thick and thin, tolerated so much of my crap, my goal in life seemed to shift to making mom as proud of me as possible and to do as much to help her. I imagined that one day, as a possible star academic, I would buy mom really nice clothes and a car. I would give her a beautiful condo and/or living quarters. I would spoil her the way she spoiled me. Alas, it didn't really happen--even though I did buy some of the things she hankered for. But for now, all I can hope for is that some sweet day in the afterlife, we'll be together--just as sung by Diana Ross.
  22. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    May, you almost made me cry when I was reading your post prior to boarding the bus to NYC the other day! In answer to your question, the commute is close to 5 hours, including getting from my house to the train station, the bus ride to NYC, the cab ride from the bus station to my university--and back again. It's funny that you mention how your sister's mother-in-law was trying to set you up with an older guy. I used to have nightmares about my parents setting me up with a guy and that I was running away on the day of the wedding: in fact, I've had that nightmare TWICE! I had another dream where I was set up by friends but made myself deliberately unattractive because I was not interested in the guy they found for me. (This is most likely based on a scenario where I tried to make myself unattractive by not wearing any makeup on a date with a guy whom I was NOT interested in....he ended up getting more so, LOL!) The trouble is, I could never find the kind of man I find attractive. You see, I'd rather not marry for the sake of marrying especially when I've seen so many marriages go wrong, including my parents'. At the end of the day, I want a man who is at least as educated and professionally motivated: alas, those sorts of men only seem to want trophy wives or least someone who is very conventionally pretty. At the same time, however, I find myself disgusted by men who are merely interested in my looks. Just in the past few months, several men have flirted with me on Linkedin: although I was somewhat flattered that they found me attractive, I hated the fact that their political views were so different from mine and that they did not bother to read or comment on anything I'd written. The one who said he "enjoyed history" obviously knew very little about history. Instead, these men seemed to be more obsessed w/ my appearance; one asked me my height and weight and even inquired if I was a virgin. He sent me pictures of himself and asked if I could send any! Another asked me if it was OK for him to fantasize about me. Sickos. (The least offensive one does not know how to carry on a conversation.) I also didn't like it when they complained about my being "too fixated on work": considering how these idiots have looked at my profile numerous times, shouldn't they be well aware that someone of my education and work habits IS going to be "obsessed" with work--particularly when I've also reminded them that I have several writing projects due in the near future? Even more reprehensible were their political/social opinions. Nearly all of them have professed considerably different, if not downright antithetical views from mine....I realize I may be narrow here, but politics matter a great deal to me and I don't want to waste the rest of my life with someone who clashes with me. After all, I'm going to be 54 this summer and have no intention of being bogged down with someone I deem unenlightened: a certain recipe for unhappiness! For instance, one told me how he was going to shoot a coyote because it attacked three kittens in his backyard. If he cared so much for those kittens, why didn't he take them into his house--especially when he knew that there were wild animals in his area? Coyotes kill when they have to eat--they are not killing maliciously like human beings when they go hunting. (IMO, any reasonable person should know that it is only acceptable to kill any animal when it poses a direct threat to you: for instance, a grizzly running after you!) I also disliked his narrow-minded views on war and immigration--and told him to find himself a nice Southern girl with his views. Surely, there must be one out there who is reasonably well-read but shares his political philosophy? He actually had the gall to tell me that he couldn't find any who were "educated" (never mind that his level of education is not anywhere comparable to mine: lest this sound elitist, I should add that women usually have far more sense than men of comparable education...as is true in the case of my parents. That's why I never want to marry a man with fewer academic credentials.) I guess that's why I feel so isolated in my grief. If I had someone I loved and respected, I probably wouldn't feel as lonely as I do. As it is, though, my mother is the only person who has ever loved and admired me consistently: whether it was something as banal as putting together an outfit on one hand or writing an article on the other. And although our political and social views were not always exactly alike, they were more similar than not. When am I ever going to find someone who will appreciate all that I do? Where am I going to find someone who will appreciate both my looks and talent? Share my philosophy of life? Share views on books, movies, music--and yes, scenery? I am envious of all those people I know who have a loving spouse (particularly one who is at least an intellectual/professional equal) and children while enduring a loss: at least, they have a buffer. I DON'T! Unlike them, I cannot find a physical or mental reminder of my mom in a son or daughter because I don't have any children. Unlike them, I don't have a husband who can show me some affection just so that I know I'm not all alone.
  23. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Hello May, Reader, Missionblue, CindyJane, Lisa, Athina, Eve, Belle-- May, I hope your wrist is improving. I wish I could be there with you, if just to cheer you up. I know how you feel with the approach of your mom's angelversary date. You did all you could, even with your stroke. Reader, I hope you have had some respite. I'm sorry I haven't been here for a while. i've just been crazy busy with the class, seeing my dad, shoveling my way out of the big snow we had last week, and worrying about his release and the possible cancer diagnosis. I've been sick too w/ a cold to top it off. Just like Belle was saying, things get a lot more complicated with the stress that comes after a death....in fact, unless you're very comfortably well off or are on perfect terms with your siblings, estate matters and all finances affected by the death of the loved one can complicate things. I've never been one for finances--except stock trading--and there are so many questions I want to ask my mother but, of course, she's no longer here--and makes her absence even harder to accept. In fact, because I am so worried about the money that will be needed for my dad's caregiving, I've been more depressed than ever.It doesn't help that when I commute home from NYC, I am always reminded of my mom....as I sit gazing at the city lights, I think about our times in the Bronx as well as the one time mom and I took the bus to NYC and back in 2008. Sometimes as I sit there, eating my dinner--my one chance to fully relax--I can't help but wish mom were here with me so we could just chat about the day and reminisce about the places we visited in NYC. Then when I get to the rain/bus depot, I can't help but think about mom picking me up 4 years ago....and now I have to wait alone. Right before I head to bed, I always wish I could see mom just one more time....how much happier I would be if I were assured that we would be reunited after I die. I hate the Buddhist belief that I may never see her again....that we will both be reincarnated at various times, never to share our lives together. And now as spring approaches, I think more and more about the weeks leading up to her first stroke in April 2014: this is especially so as I go over my textbook. Yes, it's been 2 and a half years, and yet sometimes the grief feels so fresh and raw. I still recall those happy afternoons that winter and early spring when mom and I would go drugstore hopping enroute to grocery shopping.How wonderful it was at other times to hear her voice on the phone, telling me she would be home in a few minutes. When I hear old songs, I inevitably feel happier at first, recalling that at least then, mom was alive.... bur, of course, now she's gone--and I feel like the refugee you've mentioned Missionblue (especially with our own refugee situation today....) The fact that my life feels so uncertain--no job certainty, no one to love romantically (or at least to share the closeness I had with my mom really aggravates my grief.) I have a good feeling about you and Ernesto. From here, it really seems that he cares and loves you even if he seems kind of gruff. That con man will always be a big IF....sort of like the Brad Pitt character in Thelma and Louise.
  24. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Hello, Everyone--May, Eve, Lisa, Reader, Missionblue, Athina, CindyJane, Belle, and some I may have inadvertently forgotten, I would like to begin by wishing May, Reader, and all those who celebrate the Chinese New Year, a Happy New Year. Although, as in the case of the Western New Year, it's hard to imagine so. I hope all of us will find a little more happiness. It's been a tough week. On Monday, a publisher wrote to me and asked if I would be interested in writing a textbook for them: it reminded me of 4 years ago when the textbook publisher informed me that my proposal was accepted: how happy mom and I were that day. Of course, since I was about to teach again on Tuesday, I couldnt help but remember that day. And now, how different things are! My travel now involves a ride to the train/bus station, the ride to NY, then a ride to the university. It's 4 hours of travel each way: honestly, one leg of travel is twice as long as my actual class! And yet, it's a class I enjoy and money that I need. Since I'm taking the bus rather than the train, the pangs are not as bitter; I'm mostly sitting there trying to read and nap. Sometimes, it's interesting to look through the apartment windows at night--even if it made me wish mom were beside me so we could reminisce. However, her absence really hit me on Thursday when we arrived back an hour later. The station was pretty deserted; couldn't even find a cab.Meanwhile, other people were getting picked up by loved ones. It made me long for mom so hard. It is so exhausting--and more so than 4 years ago when the class met only once a week. The day after each class, I really slept in. Yesterday, however, I had to see my dad since the last time I saw him was Sunday. It was only right to do so. So I went. At that time, he wanted to call one of his Taiwanese friends in the area on my phone, so I let him. Then I got ticked off as I thought of them. I started wishing death, cancer, everything, etc. on them and their children--out loud. To add insult to injury, a manager and nurse stopped by and told me to stop it--that it was disturbing people. (LOL, I should have said it in Taiwanese!) I suppose it probably could be disturbing to anyone hearing it--especially where people are already sick. But it angers me so much that EVERYONE ELSE has something going for them, or someone helping them. I HAVE NO ONE! IT'S NOT FAIR!!! Everyone else has a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, children, etc. so they have occasional bursts of life, and here I am worried about dad, about our future, and mine. Not one moment of respite or remote happiness. Can't spend money or shop otherwise. GODDAMN ALL THE PHUCKING TAIWANESE ASS-OCIATION IN CONNECTICUT! GOD DAMN THEIR CHILDREN! GOD DAMN THEIR GRANDCHILDREN!!! MAY THEY END UP ILL, DISEASED, BURNED, MAIMED, MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED! I HOPE THEIR SKINNY LITTLE DAUGHTERS GET BLOODY RAPED IN THEIR KUNTS AND ASSES! I HOPE THEIR SONS GET BEATEN, RAPED, AND ROBBED! I HOPE DONALD TRUMP WILL DEPORT ALL OF THEM--THEY MIGHT AS WELL BE ILLEGAL! I HOPE ALL THOSE ASSHOLES DRIVING AROUND TO PICK UP THEIR LOVED ONES SLIDE DOWN AN ICY ROAD AND HIT A 18-WHEELER! OR CRASH AND BURN! OR SLIDE INTO AN ICY RIVER! I WISH CANCER, STROKES, AND OTHER FATAL DISEASES ON THEM! GOD DAMN THEIR SKULLS! GOD DAMN THEIR BRAINS! GOD DAMN THEIR EYEBROWS! GOD DAMN THEIR EYES! GOD DAMN THEIR EYELASHES! GOD DAMN THEIR NOSES! GOD DAMN THEIR NOSTRILS! v GOD DAMN THEIR NOSTRIL HAIRS! GOD DAMN THEIR MOUTHS! GOD DAMN THEIR LIPS! GOD DAMN THEIR TONGUES! GOD DAMN THEIR TEETH! GOD DAMN THEIR CHINS! GOD DAMN THEIR ESOPHAGUS! GOD DAMN THEIR LUNGS! GOD DAMN THEIR HEARTS (IF THEY HAVE ANY)! GOD DAMN THEIR STOMACHS! GOD DAMN THEIR LIVERS! GOD DAMN THEIR BILE DUCTS! GOD DAMN THEIR GALL BLADDERS! GOD DAMN THEIR KIDNEYS! GOD DAMN THEIR LARGE INTESTINE! GOD DAMN THEIR SMALL INTESTINE! GOD DAMN THEIR COLONS! GOD DAMN THEIR URETHRAS! GOD DAMN THEIR TESTICLES! GOD DAMN THEIR DIX! GOD DAMN THEIR UTERUS! GOD DAMN THEIR OVARIES! GOD DAMN THEIR KUNTS! GOD DAMN THEIR ANUS! GOD DAMN THEIR THIGHS! GOD DAMN THEIR KNEES! GOD DAMN THEIR CALVES! GOD DAMN THEIR ANKLES! GOD DAMN THEIR FEET! GOD DAMN THEIR TOES! GOD DAMN THEIR ARMS! GOD DAMN THEIR ELBOWS! GOD DAMN THEIR WRISTS! GOD DAMN THEIR FINGERS! GOD DAMN THEM ON THE YEAR OF THE BLOODY RED ROOSTER, COCKSUCKERS ALL! GOD DAMN THEM AND ALL THEIR HAPPY FAMILIES! MAY THEY SPEND 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, , 2021, ETC. MOURNING! THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE WHAT I DON'T HAVE! PHUCK THEM!!!!! Ma, what you said about your relatives in China resonated with me. My parents were sending $300 a month in the 1970s to my dad's parents in Taiwan. Meanwhile,. they had a really large house, at least twice the size of ours. My grandparents also spent much of the money on travel and gifts to my cousins in Taiwan. I got nothing at all. And now, my dad is trying to get some money from his younger brother, as he took the bulk of the estate--presumably because he gave the grandparents even more. I told my dad he should have taken as much as possible earlier since HE was the oldest son after all and gave him $300 a month. It really ticks me off because in the US, grandparents are usually the ones leaving money to their grandchildren for college. I NEVER GOT THAT ADVANTAGE--and this is in addition to the fact that my parents would not let me pursue my studies. I wonder why I don't just commit suicide: sometimes, I think I was never meant to be born and or to be alive. My maternal grandmother did not want my parents to marry (not altogether unjustified). My mom had 2 miscarriages before she had me. It was as if God were telling my parents they should not have gotten together or created me. I will never get what I want. I need a rich, highly educated man so I can sit at home and write books a la Barbara Tuchman--or give lectures. I want someone who will read my stuff. Someone who will understand me. Someone who can either drive me or hire a chauffeur. To get a nice,. private room when I am sick and be treated with respect. Let's face it, in America, you are only well treated when you are rich, married, and pretty. Be damned otherwise! Right now, no one gives a shitt about me--with the possible exception of folks here on this board. No one feels compelled to call and ask how I am doing. Not even my cousins. One keeps asking me to learn to drive. I can't when I am stressed out!! why can't people understand that?????? i already have so much on my mind--the book, the class, and of course, my dad. Can you imagine if something were to happen to me? Lisa, don't give up hope: breast cancer is not as deadly today as it was just even 10 years ago. I'm agnostic, but you are in my prayers. I do hope you improve. And yes, Eve, do get that lump looked into! Your problem and Lisa's are just so unfair, given all of your suffering over your moms. And all your hard work: you've helped pack your mom's stuff while working on the estate while Lisa has revamped the garden. Your moms would be so proud. I hope it is not cancer; please tell us it is not. Missionblue, I think Ernesto is a keeper--in spite of your difficulties. He may have his outbursts, but deep down he seems to care a lot. No relationship is ever very smooth. Even when I think back to my mom, we had LOTS of arguments, usually about the same things (dad). And many times I thought I was cursed. But when we got along, I knew there was no one better. I bless Ernesto for making you happy. I know no one wants to be told to be paient, but you've only lived w/ him for a year-- and he seems for the most part, willing to help you whenever opportune. Some people won't even do that. Cindyjane, I hope you are doing better.
  25. Loss of a parent - daily thread

    Hello everyone--Eve, May, Cindy Jane, Lisa, Missionblue, Reader, Athina, Belle, and welcome back, Zsusie: Thanks for asking about my dad, May and Eve: he is now discharged from the hospital and in rehab. Mentally, he is more himself. I am still concerned about his oxygen though; he is still on the machine even though they have reduced the quantity. We still have no clue on his gall bladder cancer. One of the tumor marker tests came back negative; we are still waiting for the other. The question is if we should get the gall bladder removed in case it is cancer. Some have told us yes, some have said no; sometimes gb removal ends up causing more problems. Right now, It seems that if he does have this cancer, it is in its early stages because it has not metastasized to other organs: that seems to be the only positive news for now. My dad is presently relatively conscious. I always get nervous when he says strange things--like that other week when he was babbling in Japanese and bringing up "thirty years ago" (still do not know the significance.) Now that i'm thinking about his behavior over the past two years, I wonder if it's stemming from his physical problems. Is it from anemia and lack of oxygen? I now feel so bad about the way I yelled at him when he was confused. When I was leaving his room last week, he told me he wanted to stay alive and live with me as long as possible--whereupon I burst into tears. (On several occasions this year, he has said he is worried about my feeling lonely when he passes.) Today, I felt particularly sad. It's partly over the fact that my dad's situation has not been entirely resolved and wondering about how much it's all going to cost. But it's also about the end of Obama's 2nd term. Naturally, I couldn't help but think of his election in 2008 and his first inauguration. What a great time it was for me! Mom and I walked to the nearby highschool and voted for him; we were thrilled that night when he won. (It was the first and only time someone I had supported in the primaries had won!) I can remember how we went out to dinner a few weeks after the election and a lot of people were still celebrating it, all bedecked with Obama gear from head to toe. I recall being happy for other reasons at that time as I was teaching a new class and our two little kittens who arrived in August were so adorable! I also remember the afternoon when mom and I walked again to the highschool to vote in 2012 and were relieved that he won. And then in 2014, when my mom had her stroke, one question they would always ask her to test her memory was "who is the president?" So yes, I have sort of come to associate Obama with my mom: we were closer these last 6 years of her life than ever before. We talked a lot about the Obama family too and thought was wonderful that Michelle's mom lived with them--and what a great mom Michelle was to her daughters. Now that they are gone, I feel even farther apart from my mom. Yes, I know that sounds extremely silly. But grief can make us cling onto the past even more. This brings me to the issue of staying where our parents have lived. For some people, the memories are too much. And indeed, I have pangs whenever I pass by certain stores that remind me of the good times my mom and I had shopping there. I certainly felt it last night when I went to the local Marshalls to buy some loose exercise clothes for my dad: I could remember the various occasions mom and I visited, rummaging through the spices, cookies, and kitchenware. And I felt the same when taking the taxi home from my dad's rehab passing by the prettily lit-up houses mom and I always passed by when she drove home from downtown. Yet, at home, I take strange comfort in knowing that I am still living in a place where mom and I shared happy times together. Somehow I feel closer to her here....because I can still imagine her moving about, going up and down the stairs. I can still "see" her at the sink. I can still imagine her on the couch, with the windows behind her. If I were to move, I would feel even more displaced. Lisa, you have my prayers. I can imagine how you feel....wanting to join your mom yet not quite ready. From what I've seen and read, breast cancer is easier to combat today than say even 20 years ago. So don't give up hope.
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