Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Mom

Tomorrow (August, 23) would have been my Mom's 66th birthday, so this post is dedicated to her.

My Mom passed away on January 1, 1987 when I was 11 years old (she was 45). She went into the hospital early in the morning on Christmas Day 1986 and never came back out. She was only one week in the hospital, and I had no idea at the time how bad it was.

To this day, I am still shocked that it happened. I only went to visit her a couple of times, and asked my Dad if I had to keep going as I hated it there. I do remember her saying while she was there that she was planning on taking an extended leave of absence from work for her health, so clearly no one knew that she had such a short time to live. I think the final analysis was congestive heart failure, but I'm honestly not sure of the exact details.

I was always Daddy's little girl, and viewed my Mom as the "bad cop". She had emotional difficulties, and was not consistent in her moods. I do know that I was a cherished and wanted little girl baby though, and she spoiled me rotten.

There are 12 years between me and my brother, and I certainly wasn't an accident. I know that they were trying for me for a long time.

My Mom dressed me better than anyone I knew. I went to private school for my first 5 years of schooling, and when I finally managed to go to public school I immediately saw a difference between me and the other kids. I wore blouses and slacks vs jeans and sweatshirts. I had little diamond rings and earrings vs jelly bracelets. My family certainly wasn't rich, but my Mom just liked buying me things and making me look pretty.

I remember her sitting at the kitchen table with me going over tests that I brought home. She would go through all the answers that I got wrong with me until I understood. I could talk to her for hours about people at school, and teachers etc etc and should would have completely adult conversations with me about it and never look bored with what must have been childish prattle.

Every year on my birthday she would ask me if I wanted a store bought cake, or her chocolate marshmallow layer cake. Every year I wanted the chocolate marshmallow. It wasn't until my step-mom and K & my person made me the same cake for my birthday on other years that I found out what torture it is to make that cake. Everyone has refused to ever do that for me again, but my Mom would not only do it, but
offer to do it year after year.

My Mom would take me on little mini-holidays with her to a hotel in our city. It was just a nice fun little adventure where we could order room service and dress up for dinner.

She was a really creative woman who could cook anything under the sun. One night we would have chili for dinner, and the next night we would all be eating cornish game hens. It was a very eclectic menu.

She also liked throwing parties for me. In grade 5 she invited all my friends over on Valentine's Day for lunch and we had pink heart cookies and sloppy joes and all sorts of goodies. And in Grade 6 she let me throw my first boy-girl party on Halloween. Everyone was dressed up and she bought a zillion decorations and helped me with my witch costume. she lent me one of her black dresses and bought me a cape and pointy hat.

A friend in University told me once that I wear the fact that I lost my Mom clearly on my sleeve. Everyone would know it - I'm the girl who lost her Mom. I don't know how I could have lived my life any differently. I feel the loss of her everyday. I had to become a little grown up so early.

I can't stand it when I hear about people fighting with their parents, or treating them badly. I agree that there are some really crappy people out there who don't deserve to have kids, but I think that most people are just trying their best, and sometimes their own stuff prevents them from doing as good a job raising their children as they would like. Unfortunately it's my one failing as a friend. I don't do well listening to people criticizing their parents, since I would have given anything to have grown up with 2 of them.

My Dad did a fabulous job dealing with a little pre-adolescent girl. I'm sure he had no idea what to do with me, and frequently wished that my Mom had been there to offer a bit of guidance.

I do remember the day she died though. Not in its entirety, but certain flashes with perfect clarity. We were out in the country at my grandmother's. She always had a big dinner on New Year's Day. My Dad never did come, so I went out with my brother. I probably should have found this more unusual since it was my Dad's mother who was hostessing the dinner, but I just accepted it. Then came the phone call.

My Dad called my brother to come to the hospital right away. He hightailed it out of there with his girlfriend leaving me scared and confused. The thought had never occurred to me until that moment that something might be seriously wrong. I mean so serious that she might not make it. I had no idea. I remember crying, and one of my older cousins talking to me. I don't remember what she said- but I do have these vague comforting memories of it.

Then I was taken home by my Grandmother and found a dark empty house. My brother's girlfriend had left a note saying that she couldn't stand to be there alone anymore, and she went to my brother's friend's place to wait.

Then the phone rang.

It was my Dad telling me that my Mom had died. I remember my response was a stupefied "What?" He wouldn't repeat it- he knew that I had heard him the first time. My memories of that night are like jumps in time. First at my Grandmother's. Then flash to my cold dark house. Then flash to an overly bright fluorescent hospital. I was met there by my Dad and brother. I remember my brother asking me to smile for him, and then it's all just a haze.

And after that it's all just a blurry montage of casseroles and Aunts rolling in.

I kept getting told that it hadn't hit me yet, and that suddenly it would. I don't remember any sudden flash of realization, just a slow journey of days following days. I had to learn to adjust. I didn't grow up to be terribly girly, and I was probably mildly maladjusted being raised by two men. I have grown into myself in that aspect (especially the girly part) but it was a long time coming.

It's been 20 years, and I still love and miss my
Mom everyday.


AmyTree said...

Oh, man... Sending you huge hugs. I think I'm going to go call my mom...

Glamourpuss said...

Goodness me, what a moving post. I must confess to a tear.

Happy Birthday Princess's Mom.


Anonymous said...

Sending a big hug your way today. A very, very nice way to honor your mother.

Nance said...

Your post is written with such clarity of feeling and such honesty without being sloppy or sentimental. It's very moving and very involving.

Thank you for sharing your mother and yourself with us this way.

I think you and your mom were very fortunate that the time you had together was so valuable and loving. Many mothers and daughters have lifetimes much longer and do not share the kind of relationship you two had. Thankfully, you seem to be much aware of that.

mindy said...

Excuse me, I have to go call my mom now to tell her I love her.


Great post.

edina monsoon said...

This is a very moving post. Thank you for sharing it with us.Reading this makes me want to call my mum right NOW just so I can tell her I love her.

Beth said...

A beautifully written post.
It brought back memories - my father died when I was 11 years old.
And you are so right - such an event shapes your life.
Hugs to you - you will always cherish those wonderful memories of your mother.

All Mod Cons said...

One of the most heart warming and heart breaking posts I've read.

Thank you.

mother natures daughter said...

I can't imagine what you must have felt and still feel...thinking of you both...

Anonymous said...

Like I said last night, you have a gift for writing!!!!
thinking of you, your Mom and mine.
Talk to you when you get home!!!

Ali said...

Love you honey - squishy, mushy hugs from me to you.

Princess of the Universe said...

Thanks everyone! I had a cranky moody day, but it's now practically over, and tomorrow is a new shiny day!

Love you all!

Princess Pointful said...

Great post-- it is so wonderful to see that you keep her in your thoughts like that.

It is always my worst fear when someone I love dies that I will forget the little things about them-- it's inspiring to see you haven't.

Honey said...

lovely memories thank you for sharing. I agree all mums at least just try their best and I shall try to listen to your message, I probably need to.
Big hugs on this hard day, and thank you.

Jen said...

This was a wonderful post. You are truly a strong person.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post. Your voice is so geniune and I found it very moving. I wish you'r mother a Happy Birthday and I wish you all the best that you deserve!

SpanishGoth said...

Just one thing, and I hope all the luvvies will have gone away by now, otherwise I will be the antichrist... again


phishez_rule said...

You mum has clearly been a huge influence on your life, as young as you lost her.

But you recognise that. And you cherish the memories that you do have.

I personally hope my mum lives forever. And I resolve to call her tomorrow to tell her I love her.

Shan said...

What a beautiful post.

Having lost my Dad 22 years ago I can appreciate your feelings. Thanks for sharing this.

Arthur Dent said...


The most important person I have ever lost was my Grandfather, more of a father to me than anyone else (except Mom).

It's been about 8 years now, and the feeling is still.....

From you comments, I see, and gladly, that you're doing good.

I'm Road Trippin' with Random tomorrow, heading to the 'Peg so she can jump on a plane to the east coast and St. F X, which patiently awaits her arrival. It's a great deal like first day of Kindergarten, but she won't come home from school until Christmas.

Then I head back on either Thursday or Friday with the Fizz, who has been down in the 'Peg with Kato since Saturday, getting her settled in at U of M.

I'll give you a shout, I think I still have your number. I'm likely staying at the same place again, Random is staying a few blocks away with Coach Tina and her family.

Scarlet Hip said...

That was beautiful. So often I complain about my mom - and yet the idea of not having her tears me to pieces. I will remember this post the next time I want to complain.

Drama Queen said...

What a lovely post.

After losing my mum I know what it feels like when people moan about their parents. I'd love a mum to moan about.


Designed by Lena Graphics by Melany