Question: Dear Luise: My mother just died three months ago this week (Sat, June 25th ). She was only 67. She began acting sluggish and seemed a little dazed . After three days of telling me she was just tired with her adjusted schedule at work (5am-1pm) I said enough and somewhat physically dragged her to the er. Three weeks, discovery of a mini stroke, two anuerysms, a major stroke from surgery for one of the A-words, collapse of lower ventricals , staff infection in lungs from breathing tube, a seizure , and paralysis on the right side later,she was gone. Disney World couldn’t touch that roller coaster . My best friend and nurturing role model , she moved on and my heart is broken in two. I am number three of four sons and being gay gave my mom and I a “best girlfriends ” twist. We spoke daily. We shopped, ate lunch, went to breakfast, went to salon (I color my hair in summer) , laughed , cried , baked on the holidays and made Apple butter every year in fall with apples from Smoky Mntns camping trip that was our yearly escape for 10 years running. She and I mutually decided I would be best for power of atty so lucky me got to make the call to remove life support. The shock is just beginning to morph into that reality based version of emotional turmoil we call grief. Just found out that my DAD has lung and liver cancer. They give him less than a year. I’m fearful after that one because I’m warped enough right now from this. I haven’t seen him in 9 years and there’s lots of unfinished business there that could leave me institutionalized. Please offer some of your wisdom. B.
Answer: Dear B. Your mom was so lucky to have a close relationship with you. No matter how we relate to a beloved parent, facing life without them is beyond anything we can imagine, when it happens. When we don’t get along…then the regrets also tend knock us over, as well. It’s tough stuff.
Celebrate the wonderful person she was as much as you can and do what you are doing in letting your feelings surface. I know it is hard…but those who go into denial usually have a more difficult time healing. We know we’re all human and we know we will all die but we’re never prepared. Love her. Talk to her. She isn’t far away…just out of sight.
With your dad it may be wise to leave unfinished business unfinished if he doesn’t understand you and respect you. He has a painful road ahead of him and you are never going to be anyone else but yourself…and I hope you don’t even want to be. My guess is that continued distance between you would serve you both. I may be wrong, of course. Many such situations, unfortunately, can only be judged in retrospect. Blessings, Luise