Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melody Beattie
It’s officially been more than half my life that my mom has been gone. It was difficult coming to terms with that day when I would say that I’ve been without my mom longer than being with her. And after 22 years you’d think I’ve have sorted through all these feelings.
Unfortunately, no. I still miss my mom every day. I missed her being at my wedding. She wasn’t there to become a grandma when BabyGirl was born. And now she’s not here to help me with my Grandma, her mother. There’s no one but me to care for my Grandma. And while my Grandma’s quite independent at 93, being in my 40s means I’m in a very different place in my life than where my mom would be if she were alive. My mom would be in her late 60s with much different obligations for her time.
Me? I have a 10 year old child who is very involved in violin and karate and school and just being 10. Taking care of a tween is time-consuming. It’s supposed to be. Parenting is a full-time job. I also have a “real” job as a lawyer and despite my Grandma telling people I’m a lawyer she doesn’t think I actually work with clients because I don’t talk about it. Well, uh, no I don’t. Those little things called confidentiality and attorney/client privilege don’t really allow for that. So, to her, I don’t work.
And while when she was in her 40s and volunteered, she can’t seem to understand I do the same and that takes time. I sit on the board of 2 non-profits, teach math to precocious kids, and work with a national organization to advocate for kids. Again, because I don’t blather on and on about me, me, me then I must be sitting at home eating bon-bons. And this blog? She has no understanding of the internet and despite having explained and shown it’s just some “computer thing” I do.
I don’t say these things to paint my Grandma in a negative light. She’s 93 and has memory issues related to vascular dementia. It’s what I have to deal with. It creates a lot of problems because I try to give her autonomy and independence but it just ends up with me having to clean up after her with regard to financial and medical decisions.
For the past few months I’ve been working really hard at not being mad at my mom for dying. I know she didn’t do it on purpose. I know she would rather have lived than end up in a coma for 6-weeks while her family fought over how to allow her to die. I know she would be taking care of my grandma and asking me for advice rather than demanding my time, being passive aggressive about my help, and telling people that I don’t do anything to help, like my Grandma does.
I miss my mom terribly. I think about the “if” and how it would be easier for me. That if she were here I wouldn’t be up at 2am working because I spend 5 hours dealing with the doctors and pharmacy. If she were here I wouldn’t have to hear that I’ve moved my Grandma to a prison and took her car away.
But she’s not here and I can’t change what my life is now. You see, I’m not a mean granddaughter. I call almost every day, but then she thinks I’m checking up on her too often. I do her errands, take her shopping, to lunch, have her over for dinner. And I do all of this because I love my Grandmother and I know this is what needs to be done.
So I tune out the negative that seeps in from my Grandma and I fight back the sadness and anger I feel because my mom died more than half my life ago. When I start to hear myself thinking I shouldn’t have to be doing this, I try to stop myself from going down that path. It’s more a slippery slope than a path, really. No, I shouldn’t have to do this. But if not me, then who? There’s no one left.
And so I remind myself that every night her brother will call her and tell her what a great granddaughter she has. And I realize how fortunate I am and that it’s OK sometimes to be mad that my mom died and isn’t here. That she may have left, but I have someone who knows I’m doing my best and who appreciates the sacrifices I’m making to ensure his sister enjoys these last years of her life. I miss my mom, and I think she understands the times when I’m mad she died.
Photo Credit: Tiger Girl, Licensed under Creative Commons