Nov 092007

Last Saturday night, I had intended to be hanging out at an apres Hallowe’en “Day of the Dead” party but about the time the doors were opening for that event, my mom took one final lung full of breath and then cashed in her chips.
I’ve spent the last week in a town that I hate, burying a woman that I love and hanging on to a very delicate thread that ties me to sanity and the big picture. Okay, it slipped away more than once.

I expect I will feel a lot of things about my mom’s death over the next little while. There hasn’t been much time to just sit and let the reality wash over me. I’m sure that will come, and at all the least convenient times.

Here’s the thing.
I am a mix of good things and bad things. Somedays I am hard pressed to know what the good things might be, especially lately.
Whatever good there is in me got planted there by my mom.
When I was a kid, my mom wouldn’t let me watch Hogan’s Heroes. She said Nazi concentration camps/POW camps weren’t funny.
When I came home at age five and said someone had ‘jew’ed’ me out of something, she sat me on a stool and told me why I shouldn’t talk use expressions that justified treating other people atrociously.
When I came home at age six and said someone ‘gyp’ed’ me out of something, I got the same conversation, this time about the persecution of the gypsies rather than the Jews.
When I have acted like a dope, my mom could tell me to grow up and get over it and…. I would. More often than not.
I have always held my mom, and her opinion of me, in very high regard.

My mom died of Alzheimers, but more to the point, she died from isolation. When she was in her fifties, she and my dad moved to a town where she had to start all over again. And that was just too hard. It was too hard for her to find a job at that age and her social circle was vaporized, so that her only friends were the wives of my dad’s friends. And that didn’t actually click.
I feel bad about the loneliness my mother lived with for the last chunk of her life and I find myself wondering if there was anything I could have done better to support her.

My mom was smart and funny and ethical. She tried very hard to be fair, and I try to do the same.

It’s been a long time since my mom and I could have a conversation. She stopped knowing who her kids were about 3 years ago. And yet, she knew we were all there sitting with her right before she died. Something was different, her eyelids would flutter when one of us would talk. I dunno, but I know she knew we were there and I know that it mattered for her. And then she died.
If you knew how completely unlikely it is for me and my siblings to all be in the same room at the same time, you, like me, might think that she had actually died of shock.

So… my mom is dead.
Because it’s been so long since she participated in her life, I convinced myself it was just sort of a technicality. But I sat in the car and wept when we drove to the hospital to tell my dad that the woman he married 57 years ago had died.

The funny, not ha-ha funny but kick you in the ass funny, part is that everyone in my family has been having kittens about my dad and his crap-tastic health and his not-long-for-this-astral-plane future, and then my mom goes and sucker punches all of us and I think, “Good for you, mom. Good for finally getting some tiny shred of the attention you deserved.”

If there is one decent thing about my mom and Alzheimers, it’s that she was completely unaware of my whole cancer process, chemo and all its vile side effects. I am glad she never had to watch me go through that.

So, R.I.P. Mom.
Thanks for doing all you could to make me a decent person and the world a decent place.

 Posted by at 10:50 pm

  12 Responses to “R.I.P… my mom”

  1. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your mom sounded like a wonderful person with great values. I am so sorry.

  2. It has been a rough time for you. I am so sorry for your recent losses.
    I found your blog searching for ovca websites, and really have enjoyed your writing. Thank you for that. You give us hope.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your mom seemed like a wonderful person. Please take care.

  4. So very sorry. She sounded like a great mom.

  5. Sorry doesn’t cut it, but I haven’t found a better alternative. I found your blog when I was desperately looking for hope when my mom was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. I’ve kept up with you since 2001. Six years of preparing for my mom’s death this past July didn’t make it any easier. Cherish the relationship you had. I’m so, so sorry.

  6. What a legacy your mom left you, Spike. How wonderful for you to learn those values at such an early age. You said you are hard pressed at times to see the good parts of yourself. Well, I see you as incredibly bright and funny and ethical. The same values you saw in your mom. It looks like you’ve turned out very much like your mom.

    My heart goes out for you during this time of grief. It sucks the big one to lose someone that you love, particularly a parent. I’m here if you ever need to talk.

  7. My sincere condolences to you. Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease.

  8. I’m so sorry to learn of your mom’s passing. My own mom passed from OCVA in Nov of 2005 after seven years of constant chemo. Even though I’m married with kids and live seven hours away…she was my best friend. I miss her so much. Your mom sounds like such a wonderful woman. You are who you are b/c of her. Do you not see you/your qualities when you write about her? No? Why? Total strangers can see it. I imagine your lifestyle has not always been easy for you to cope with. What a blessing to have a mother who taught you so many wonderful things…compassion, humor, doing right by people…even though they may not do right by you. It’s huge. You look at the world thru really special eyes and write some pretty cool stuff. You had something not all people are fortunate to have…an awesome Mom. If half the world had a mother like you, what a better world we would all live in.

  9. I am so sorry to read about the loss of your mother Spike. My grandmother has Alzheimers, and I have been watching her slowly, painfully, slip away. It is not an easy thing to watch someone you love go through. She also, had no awarenss of my being sick and I agree with you that was a good thing.

    I am sure you are going through all sorts of emotions now, please continue to write so we can show you support. Your mother created an amazing daughter, and for that I will keep her in my thoughts.

  10. Spike – I’m sending you heartfelt (although cyber) hugs.
    I don’t even know you very well but I’ve always thought you were awesome – if those fantastic qualities came from her, well, she done good.
    Hang in there dude,

  11. I just found your wonderful site. My cancer was found a year ago–ovarian 3c. I’ve needed to hear someone talk about this is just the way you do. I see you haven’t posted since November and I know you were dealing with some pretty tough stuff so maybe you needed a break. Still, what’s up? Are you all right? Are you coming back?

  12. What a great job your lovely mum did in raising such a caring, independent, bright and emotionally aware daughter! God bless her. Now be kind to yourself. Love, Chris.X

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