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Day 365.

It's been a whole year, yet it still feels like yesterday. It makes me wonder if the pain will ever really "go away".

I remember stopping by the night before. Natalie and I had just gotten Panda Express to eat. It was your first night in the hospice. Natalie and Grandpa walked around, while I sat there hoping you would wake up before I left so I could talk to you. They had you pretty drugged up, so you never awoke before we left.

The next day as I was just preparing to get ready to go see you, Vince called. I knew before he even told me. Guess I just knew from the sound in his voice that something was wrong. As much as we all knew this day was coming, nothing could prepare me for the pain and shock of it. At the time, Ruben was at home in Elko preparing for a move, but came down as soon as I called him. I didn't know how to tell Natalie that Grandma was gone. She was so angry because she never got to say good-bye to her. I told her that even though Grandma had been sleeping, she still heard us last night when we told her that we loved her. I know that really didn't make things any easier or better, because I myself had the same anger she did.

I left her with her Uncle Danny, while Ruben's other brother drove me to the hospice so I could see her one last time. Once inside her room, I just stood there looking at her lifeless body, not wanting to believe what I was seeing. I waited for my brother's wife's kids to leave the room - there were too many people in the room and I wanted a little privacy with her before I left. So once they exited the room, I walked over to my mom. At first I was really freaked out because her eyes were open, and I just couldn't bare to look at her like that - and I wasn't about to try to shut her eyes. So anyway, I ended up putting my sunglasses on her since it was the only thing around. I remember the bed being pretty low to the ground, because I got on my knees, leaned over, and just laid on her chest and cried. We had a deal. She promised me that she would fight for her life and not give up as long as I did the same.

Part of me just wanted to die that day. Part of me did die that day, and in it's place grew anger. Anger for the insurance companies for not approving a transplant sooner. Anger for these stupid TV shows like House that make it all look so easy - oh, you need a new organ, let's get on that stat! and voila within 24 hours they've been saved. Anger that she had to go so quickly, diagnosed in February, died in July. I know life's not fair, but even cancer patients get better odds, and most end up beating those odds too! But most of all, I am angry that I will never again hear the phone ring, and it be her. For years I took her calls for granted, and at one point when they were daily, they drove me insanely angry. And now those calls are the one thing that I miss most in life.

"They" say that the first year is the hardest. I'll agree that it definitely hasn't been easy. I know that I probably should start working on letting go of some of this anger, but deep down I'm afraid that if I let go of the anger that I will also be letting go of her. I know that sounds kind of dumb, but I'm just not ready yet. I'm afraid of forgetting, and there is so much I want to remember, and so much I've already lost. I miss you Mom.

I gave this photo of her that we had used during her Memorial Service, a "Vintage Hand Tint" look using Adobe Photoshop CS2. So far it's the only thing I have taught myself how to do.

1 comment:

Debora Lynn 1st born said...

That picture is her beauty, grace, and open-heartedness to the core. The person who could find a friend in anyone. The person who lost her own mother at the age of 30 and survived despite having 4 kids to raise and a no good 1st husband and a low-life good-for-nothing 2nd husband. Thank God she was blessed with meeting someone in Vince who would care for her and treat her right.