I can’t say that I have been my usual on top self. I have had bursts of my normal self but since the passing of my mother in law, life hasn’t been the same. One thing I can say is that children really keep you grounded when you are dealing with a tragedy. My kids are brutally honest. I guess I can’t complain about that part. My son specifically have been very vocal about what he thinks is right in regard to his “mom-mom.: I know this is all apart of the process. My kids have asked things like “did the doctors kill their mom-mom?” I have had to be honest and of course say no but attempt to paint the picture we kept them from and allow it to make sense. I told them they can ask questions any time they want to. They can have moments of sadness, cry, or even be angry. My son is the one I am watching very closely. They all had different relationships but since he’s my husband’s mini me I saw how his mom-mom gravitated towards him more. He feels the pain a lot more openly than my oldest daughter. So I find ways to meet them both at their need.
The hardest part is watching my husband struggle. He is getting more sleep now but in the beginning he wasn’t. He has had a cold for weeks now and it’s really just due to his immune system being compromised. How can he fight off this cold when his own personal defenses are not where they need to be? His emotions are ranging from sadness to clueless. As a wife who hasn’t lost a parent there’s no words that can make this better. I just listen. I don’t offer advice. I don’t try to fix, I just listen. Nothing I will say will make anything right. I make sure he eats. He rests. He is not overwhelmed. Right now that may means me be the primary parent in many aspects. He has spoken to his mom everyday of his life. He looks at his phone often times and I can tell he is still waiting for a call that will never happen. It breaks my heart. I sometimes find myself taking calls with my mom and dad when I am not around him. I do feel a slight guilt that they are still here and she’s not. He has told me that I don’t have to do that but a part of me is still struggling.
My own emotions are all over the place. I have videos of her in her last days and moments that still sting. I was told that the videos and pictures would give me peace but I can’t feel that feeling all the way yet. I do have peace that she is no longer suffering but selfishly I want her to tell my kids give “mom-mom a hug.” Tomorrow is grandparents day at my kids daycare. My parents live almost 2 hours away and work. So we have asked her best friend of over 40 years and aunt (she married my mother in law’s brother) to step in. I know that will enjoy the time with them but it still makes me upset that their grandparents aren’t there. However life is about making the best and I don’t know of someone who is better to step in then her best friend.
I just got the Christmas tree up this weekend. Yes I know it was before Thanksgiving but the reality is that our house needed an extra dose of joy. I allowed the kids to do whatever they wanted to do to their tree. I usually do. There will be a time when they are too big to want to participate in these activities. The one thing that the passing of my mother in law isn’t just the cliché that time is short its to love and show love with everything I have. I have thought about what my last moments will be. What stories will my children share? Will they remember the time I invested, the love I have shown, the cookies we make, the fun holidays we make and we celebrate them ALL. That means more to me than what others outside of my home think of me. I am not perfect but each day I find myself asking myself what I can do to make sure that my kids are solid individuals.
I am more interested in making sure that every time they leave my presence that I was loving towards them even though parenting means I have to be stern. I can love with a strong hand and still be gentle enough to apologize when I miss the mark with them and smart enough to shower them with kisses. As the holidays draw near, and we surround ourselves with loved ones, my husband’s mom will not be in attendance. I won’t be able to hear her ask me if I am going to smile today. I won’t hear her ask me a thousand things to get her, go to the store, or help her in the kitchen. I can still hold on to the warm memories, keep the not so pleasant ones in mind, and love on her grandbabies and make sure her son is okay as well. I hope that as you all convene with your family that you remember to make each interaction meaningful. Do not take for granted that you will have a re-do. Life is about living and living the best life you can. Love intentionally. Do not slack due to what others seem to give you. When you love it’s already a risk. Choose to take the risk to love passionately. When you leave your loved one especially if you’re in marriage or committed relationship make sure you have no regrets because an argument can be just that an argument. We all have them but I make sure that my last moments are not filled with words that don’t matter. Be clear even when solutions aren’t found that the general love is still there.
You may not be dealing with a loved one’s death. You could be dealing with frustration, an end of a relationship, etc. Whatever it is that you are going trough make sure you take the time to be clear in your actions. You don’t need to add-on to the situation. Life will unfold. You can make sure that you find your joy and if it’s no there create it. I have found ways in these last few weeks to take care of me while I take care of those in my home. It can be things like a little me time, relaxing, delegating and allowing others to assist. Either way the process will not be up and have happy tones all the time. However when I can get those happy moments I have learned to take them. I have also learned to shut the world out too. I have probably shut my phone off more in the last few weeks than I have ever had in the past. The reason is simple, I can’t help me while everyone is in my ear.