She looks at my chart and looks at me, then mentions that her daughter went to school with a girl that had the same name.
We figure out that I am the Samara she is referring to and that her daughter and I went to school together many years ago.
“I remember doing PTA and school stuff with your mom. How is she?” She asks.
I look away and answer, “She is good.”
“I bet she’s so excited about the new grandbaby.” She says as she takes my blood pressure and pulse at one of my many prenatal visits.
Weeks went by and she happened to be my nurse several of my visits, yet never once could I tell her.
I didn’t intend to be dishonest, I just didn’t know how to say it.
And I was tired of being that girl. That poor girl who’s mother passed away.
I had hoped a few weeks back that perhaps she would be there when I was in so I could tell her, but of course didn’t see her then and lost the chance.
“And how are your mother and dad?” The old family acquaintance asks when we run into each other on a random Saturday.
“Oh they are good. Yeah good.” I say smiling yet wondering how I should disclose.
“And they’re still living in the same place?” They press.
“Umm yes, still over on Johnson.”
I look away wondering if they can see how dishonest I am being.
And then the truth comes crashing down, “My mom passed away a year ago in December so it’s just my dad now.”
And I answer their questions, accept their pleasantries and walk away still feeling their sympathies cast upon me.
I am that girl now and now they feel bad.
Why is it so hard to say it?
Is it the awkward sympathies I try to graciously accept?
The emotional toll re-telling and re-living the details?
How do I go through the motions of nodding in agreement that yes, this is so sad. So tragic. So young and premature.
Summing up seven months of a battle and fifteen months of missing her in a two minute conversation.
There’s the awkward expressions.
The other person feeling bad and looking at me with distress. Not sure what to say, so saying something off the wall or goofy all together. You think I’m kidding but let me tell you, some of the things some people say, make. no. sense.
And I suppose that until this time, I too, wouldn’t have known what to say (or what not to say) to someone grieving this loss either.
I just finished reading “The Middle Place” by Kelly Corrigan and while there are many pages, many statements, chapters and moments that truly resonate with me. One section that really hit me and the thoughts on losing my mom is this:
“…”Your mom had a good life. She had a lot of happiness. She was so uncomfortable. Now she’s at peace.”
Well, yeah, okay, good for your mom. But what about you? What about your peace? Your comfort? Who’s going to remember what you were for Halloween that year or the name of your fifth grade teacher? Who’s going to cry when your baby is born? Who’s going to sit in the front row of your play?
Look mom! This is the scene where we get engaged. Oh! You’re gonna love this part! Look at me in my white dress…And in this next scene, we get pregnant! …Isn’t this a good play? Don’t you love it? Wait! There’s more…My husband gets promoted in the third act! Don’t go yet! My son starts kindergarten next
year! Wait til you see my daughters first swim meet! Don’t leave- it gets so good!”
Wait mom. Don’t you know, 356 days after you’re gone, Miss E will arrive. And hardly a day will pass that I won’t want to call you and say; “Guess what, she slept from 8pm to 7am? And oh wouldn’t you believe how cute she is in this? Isn’t she perfect, mom?”
And then later on that day I’d call and say; “She won’t take a bottle mom, what should I do? Or, “H is pushing all my buttons, what can I do?”
And she would know just the way to tell me what to do or what not to do or to let it go all together and she’d end it by saying. “My grandchildren are just perfect.”
Which is why hardly a day will pass without thinking of her.