Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thoughts on Life, Death, and Motherhood

My mom fell this morning.  Fell and broke her humorous bone.  The top of the humorous bone to be exact, right underneath her shoulder.  She's stuck wearing this sling and swath that comforts her but also aggravates her independent nature.

She fell dancing in the kitchen.  We giggled over that often throughout the day.  Every time she reported the episode to the ER attendants she had such comedic timing and wit.  Even in obvious pain she can still charm a room.

I wouldn't say the ER visit felt routine by any means but there was a certain familiarity to the situation.  One of us the patient while the other the designated nurturer.  When I was pregnant with Logan I wanted her there for my stress tests (when Nathan was not able).  When she needs any minor visits I'm always available to drive her.  We're good at comforting one another.  Making each other smile when anxiety is high.

After I had her settled into her house (and sling) I went to get her some groceries.  As I'm walking the aisles at Reams I couldn't help but feel this blanket of fatigue and overwhelming sadness.  I kept telling myself, "I will not cry in Reams.  I'm not losing it in Reams."  The day's events finally registered.  I switched from dutiful daughter to scared little child.  Mom fell.  She broke her arm. 

When I was in 6th grade my mom tripped as we were walking on a dirt road.  She fell right in front of me and she hurt her knee.  I was shaking inside and plagued with the idea that one day she would die.  That idea terrified me.

I had some of those same feelings resurface today.  After I dropped off the groceries and made sure she was okay and properly drugged (this woman has never taken more than 400 mg of Ibprofen) I headed home. Once I was on the road I could finally have the good cry I'd been fighting.

My mom is 69 years old.  And I fear the day when I cannot call her.

I know I shouldn't fear.  I have great faith that this life is not the end.  I have faith that I will see those I love again.  I just never applied that to my mom.  She's my Mom.  I can always go to her.

As I pulled into our carport, I collected myself before I went in.  But it didn't last long.  Nathan and Logan were starting a fire in the fireplace and wanted to know how I was.  The poorly collected dam of emotions broke and I sobbed.  Uncontrollably.  It felt so good to let all the fear out.  With evident concern that surprised me, Logan kept reaching up to me saying, "Up!  Up!"  I picked him up and got the biggest hug those little arms could bear.  And I saw the unsteadiness in his eyes like I was rocking his world by falling apart.

I gathered myself I declared it was time for Mommy to nap.  I was relieved to see the reassurance return in Logan's face and he took my hand as we walked Mommy to bed.

I can't help but consider two things.  The frailty of this life being one.  You'd think I'd know about this having lost two parents already.  But it is still an abstract idea to me.  That this life will end one day for me.  For my Mom.  For all those I love.  That this life isn't the end.  That we will all move on.

I felt fear and worry today.  It was too close. I can feel myself shielding my Mom from the inevitable; I'm throwing my body in front of hers saying, "You won't take her.  Not her!" 

Which leads to my other tugging thought.  How central, foundational, root-like are Mothers.  I felt it today as I held my Mom's hand as she was overwhelmed with the news that she is not indestructible.  And I can't shake the look in Logan's unsettling glare as I cried.

Maybe I needed to feel this today.  I have felt the value of mothers as I faced the idea of losing my own.  I have always valued my Mom.  But I tend to undervalue myself as Mother.

I actually hope I can hold on to this feeling when I get tough on myself.  When I fool myself into thinking perfection in this life is attainable.  That any mistake I make will out do the good.

I'm so grateful for my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I may never get over my deepest fears of losing my parents.  At least not on my own.  But I know from experience that when the time comes that I will get through it.  That the spirit will carry me and return when I need comfort.  

I'm laughing a bit inside as I reread this.  It's 3:00 in the morning and the only closing thoughts that come to mind are, "And all this from a broken humorous bone while dancing in the kitchen!"

Go figure.


Marci said...

Jenn, you're amazing. I wish I could hang out with you every day just to be blessed by your amazing personality! This is beautifully written, and I think I will go call my mom now. I miss you friend, and I'm glad your mom is ok.

JaeReg said...

"I know I shouldn't fear. I have great faith that this life is not the end. I have faith that I will see those I love again. I just never applied that to my mom. She's my Mom. I can always go to her."

This is truth to me. I will not consider the inevitable when it comes to my Mother, not even when she had breast cancer. My Dad suffered a massive heart attack last year (he is fully recovered now), and it is only as I read this post that I realize, if it had been my Mom it would have broken me to the core. Somehow I was emotionally very calm through my Dad's ordeal.

Yes, it is easy to undervalue yourself as Mother, but Logan's response to your tears is evidence that he certainly does not undervalue you as his mother. He is a lucky boy.

Kim said...

I think what makes loss so hard, or the prospect of it, is that even if life is not over,it is an end to the way we have known that person all of our lives. Afterlife or not, there is shift on the way we relate to that person after they are gone.

My mom is still alive. My dad having made the journey almost 7 years ago. My husband made the journey almost two years ago. He's still here. I feel him more now than I did in the beginning but it's not the same and I miss that very much.