As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Friday, September 24, 2010

Grief--The Unfamiliar Territory

The fact is I just want to talk about my mom.

I was shocked when I was sad earlier this week. I haven't been sad like that in several weeks. I couldn't figure out why being separated was knocking me for a loop now. It wasn't until I was talking to someone about the weekend and how hard camping was that I realized why I was so sad.

My mom is dying.

We can use every euphemism known to man, and it doesn't change the fact that one day in the not too distant future I will wake up and my mom will not be here. I won't be able to call. There will be no need to buy a Mother's Day card, and a whole slew of "big hole where Mom was" things. I've done this before. I know I will be okay. There is another side, and we'll get there.

However, between here and there lies a land I've never been through. Oh, yeah, I lost my dad. I've been through the "terminal" span of time, but it wasn't like this.

With my dad, we knew he was dying. He and I talked openly about it. We laughed, made morbid jokes, got choked up, held hands and said nothing. We knew what was coming, and we chose to meet it head on. It was just another step into another adventure, and while it was hard, we were together in it as far as we could go. When he was gone, all the business was taken care of and all that was left on the table was the understanding I'd meet him some day there, but everything here was settled. It was painful but peaceful.

I told my friend John I knew how to do this. I knew my role, but I'm finding this is all new territory, and I'm having to figure out one step at a time. Where my dad saw death as simply part of the process of life, my mom sees it as the enemy...something to fight with anything and everything she can. Where my dad tried to squeeze all the life out of his time he could, my mom has imploded. Where he laughed often, my mom has turned angry and yells. Where my dad and I talked, my mom and I are silent.

And I am grieving.

I am grieving the time being lost, the memories not being made, the laughter that is silent. I am grieving my inability to do anything...make jokes, laugh at memories, hold her hand in silence.

With Dad, I was the warrior saying he would live...until the last week when I knew we had reached the end, which we embraced with grace. With Mom, I am trying to understand how the warrior stands down and becomes the observer who sets aside her own emotions in order to respect another's. I know how to be the leader, to be the strength. This is taking all the strength I have.

I'm not used to being seen as the enemy.

However, I understand brain tumors. I understand fear. I understand desperation. I understand that my role had little to do with me and everything to do with her, and right now, she doesn't want me as a leader or as her strength. She doesn't want someone to talk through the time left or walk with her into the next adventure.

...And we both grieve...she in her anger and defiance...I in my sadness and determination to squeeze every drop out of life.

Familiar territory and yet, completely different than anything I've experienced. And I keep praying for wisdom to know how to traverse it...for me...for my children...for my mom.

1 comment:

Lisa Buffaloe said...

I'm so sorry, Jerri. I'm praying for you and your family as you navigate this unwanted territory.

Gentle hugs,
Lisa