I just spent my second year away from my mother on her day. Sure, I can send her edible arrangements and a gift, but I know there is a void that weighs heavy in her heart. That child that is missing, that significant other that is missing. I've never given birth but if the love of a child is anything like the love for a fur baby, I'm in trouble when that day comes. The one difference I can confirm is that our fur babies aren't expected to outlive us, but our children are.
I don't think we are fully prepared as humans for freak accidents or devastating tragedies. We are conditioned to believe our loved ones will always be here, because, why would OUR family members die? That's not how this world works. Ultimately, we are left with the pieces scattered all over the floor and many, many years ahead of us to try and pick them up and glue them back together. Truth is, there's no glue strong enough to mend a broken bond.
So as I sat here in Florida yesterday on the phone with my mother, I wished her a Happy Mother's Day and hoped it could be filled with some small bit of peace. I spent the rest of the day in bed, feeling lethargic and not really wanting to do anything; the month of May weighs heavy on me. I shuffled into work today, another typical Monday, and began plugging away. I have a wandering mind, and I've finally started putting it on paper (more on that in months to come). I often ponder the reality of after life and what it's like. What exists beyond our shells? How do I get a sign from my loved ones after they have passed? After all, I have to believe there is SOMETHING out there that houses their souls. It's something I've battled with over the past few years, loss of faith is a hard pill to swallow.
This afternoon, as I left for my lunch break, my mother texted me. Before my father passed, he had begun to slowly lose all his motor skills and his brain began to deteriorate. I saw first hand how a man that worked out daily and ate healthy started to die not because of his physical health, but because his mind was dying. The brain is a tricky organ and once it's damaged, it's tough to have hope. We were hit hard with the news that he had most likely had prions laying dormant in his body for years. In other words, Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD) was taking control. For those of you that don't know, CJD has absolutely no treatment and a 0% survival rate.
While he lay in a hospice bed, he still managed to have small memories of things he had planned for his family; a Yankees/Orioles game at Camden Yards with me for my birthday, a Rod Stewart concert with my mother for her upcoming birthday. He frequently would bring up the Yankees game to me and how excited he was to go, not knowing he wouldn't be able to. By the time he left the hospital, he thought he was an Orioles fan and was frantically searching his closet for his Baltimore jersey that didn't exist. Fast forward 2 weeks and he had remembered the tickets he bought for my mom's birthday. He mumbled something about them being under his baseball caps in his mirrored closet. My mother didn't take much notice to that considering his condition and knowing that they were most likely sitting in his email inbox. (I tested my hacking skills a few weeks later and it turns out I can break into an email account if I really put my mind to it. Mom got to attend the concert).
I opened that text this afternoon, and it was a picture of a stunning diamond necklace. I really never have seen such a beautiful piece of jewelry. She went on to explain that she was looking through his mirrored closet today and found the necklace under his baseball hats. My father must have remembered he bought her that necklace for, most likely, their 35th wedding anniversary. I choked back tears as I typed back "what a beautiful Mother's Day gift from Heaven."
I'm learning to believe.