My Mother, My Best Friend

How do you mentally prepare for the imminent possibility of your mother's death? How selfish am I to even be consumed with this question? So many people live, find happiness and thrive despite having lost a parent or more. Some much younger than I am now who had a much harder time even understanding the loss they mourn. My mother was one of those. She was a baby only about 10 months old when her father died. She didn't even get to really know him and remember him. Have smells tied to memories of him. Have places, things and people tied to memories of him. In a way that may have made it easier for her. Yet it also gave her a void that could never be filled. It didn't help that her own mother was so caught up in grief that she never shared stories or spoke much of her father. I honestly don't know how to be on this earth without her here. I didn't think I'd have to be worrying about this inevitability for many years to come. Thought I'd be stronger and more prepared for it by then. Ha! As if that's even possible. She was the first person to love me. My first friend. Best friend once I was an adult. She taught me how to cook and bake. She nurtured my creativity and tried not to get too bored or annoyed with my analytical side. She went to every game, concert, play, you name it, that I was in. She was there, in the audience, supporting me, cheering me on. She is always honest with me, even if it hurts. She lets me make my mistakes and won't say “I told you so”. She stands up for me when no one else will. She is my safe place to land. Don't get me wrong as much as we have a loving relationship, she can drive me nuts too. We've both had our “I'm through with you moments”. Only for a couple hours or a day or so later to make up. No matter how bad it got or how much it seemed like we couldn't overcome, we did. That's what love does I suppose. I even told her the other day; I'd rather be in a fight with her right now than have her in the hospital because at least I know how our fight will ultimately end. I know my mother is a fighter. She's fought death more times than I can count. In fact, she wasn't supposed to live past the age of 2 because of a congenital heart defect. Every time she comes into the ER, they think she's not going to make it (to be fair she has flatlined several times before) yet she pulls through. If you're going to bet money on a long shot that has a good chance of coming through, it would be her. I just worry, when does that resolve give out? When does she hit her 9th life? All I know how to do is hope and pray. Try to keep my spirits up around her (thank you drama class) so she might believe and fight that much harder. I hate feeling helpless and fearful but perhaps that is my lesson. Not sure I'm in the mood to learn. I guess we never really are for those things though. As my great grandmother would say I'm going to “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” Still don't know how to fully prepare though, if that's even possible. Update: This was written 16 days before my mom eventually succumbed to her health issues last October. Those 16 days were a roller coaster of good days, where we believed she was on the mend and making progress, proving all the doctors wrong (as usual), and then the horrible days like the one where we had that heart wrenching conversation with the palliative care doctor. I've not been able to overcome the grief of her death. So, I'm sorry I can't relay any lesson I've learned. All I know is every day when I wake up and remember she's gone my heart sinks and my eyes water. I still don't know how to be in this world without her. How can I, when she took such a huge piece of my heart with her when she left?

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