January was a nightmare. My dear mother, Ruth, passed away on February 8 after a devastating fracture that sent her into the hospital and caused her to decline in a horrible, shocking tailspin from which she never recovered. She was 87 and one month away from turning 88.
My mom was a sweet, gentle, woman. She could be painfully shy and never had a lot of confidence in herself. Yet she loved to travel and had a real sense of adventure. She traveled extensively over the past thirty years, and only stopped going abroad about ten years ago, limiting her travels to inside America. I know she was proud of me and what I have accomplished in my stupid little life. Yet she was the real hero, having raised 4 girls pretty much on her own on a secretary’s salary.
My mom always asked me about my animals whenever she called, but she especially loved my cat Chloe. Over the last few years, she would mention once in a while that she wished she could have a cat, but her living situation wouldn’t work with one. So she always got her cat fix at my house, and sometimes she would even pet-sit Chloe for me. This is her and Chloe at her little apartment a few years ago.
During the two weeks when my mother was in the hospital, Chloe appeared to be all right, although I noticed she wasn’t eating as much. I was gone a lot during that time, being with my mother. Well, about a half hour after I learned my mother died, Chloe had a seizure on the couch next to me. She had been suffering from kidney disease over the past year, and even though my vet and I had done as much as we could to keep her going, it was obvious that the disease was winning. I rushed her to the vet and we did blood tests, but I, in my numb state, still knew that this might be the end. She had two more seizures that night, and by the next morning it was obvious she was dying. I had her put to sleep to end the suffering.
It’s odd that it happened the day after my mother died. I like to think that she’s in my mom’s lap right now.
I am slowly coming back to being productive, but I have moments of intense grief. I have always considered myself to be a strong, independent woman, but my mother was my anchor. The death of my mother has rocked me to my core and unsettled any feeling of comfort I had about my own life and where I am headed.
I started writing again over the weekend. I was really looking forward to getting back to writing, yet I find there are still moments when I cannot function at the keyboard at all. I guess it will all take time.
Thank you, Mom, for everything. Even though I wasn’t grateful all the time. I can only hope that she knows, now, that I loved her and am grateful now – for everything. The kind of unconditional love she gave me was the closest thing to perfection this life has to offer.