Sunday, January 11, 2015

Past tense sucks

I went out to see my father yesterday.

I need to say that using the singular for my parents is still weird. It has been nine months since mom passed and I still consider the house where I grew up, my parents house. Going out to Long Island from where I live has always been going to see my parents. My father is not a singleton.

Except he is now. Of course he is.

In October of 2013 mom learned that the backache she had was a very aggressive form of uterine cancer. It was suggested she start radiation and chemo immediately. Chemo had always scared my mom so very much, and she was reluctant to do it so she sought a second opinion. The doctor for the second opinion said that the cancer had spread so much that she should consider hospice immediately.

Telling my mother to give up when she hadn't yet begun to fight was the galvanizing force she needed. She said she was not going to hospice and immediately started chemo. It was awful. She felt horrific and tired all the time. My mom, who had been a young 86 when this began, aged so quickly it defies explanation.

By March of 2014 it was shown that the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs. In April we lost her.

It is January 2015 and I feel like she has been gone for so very long--and I sometimes feel I lost her yesterday. And my own grief is dwarfed by my father's. He lost his companion of the past 65 years. Mom chose his outfits, cooked for him, did laundry. They were each other's best friend and I don't exaggerate when I say that I wanted my marriage to be like theirs.

I expected my dad to be lost without her. And he was. He has been. But I see him healing. I see him going forward and meeting people as a person--not part of a couple. He is "keeping company" with several women--one more often than not. Mom would have liked her. Hell, if she had thought about it Mom would have set them up.

I'll be talking more about my grief here. I'll be sharing it. But I need to start out by saying what an amazing, admirable person my father is. I need to share just a bit of who mom was. Yet, yet, when I try to talk about mom in the past tense, my composure all goes to hell. Tears are running down my face now and my fingers are hard on the keys.

I want to talk about the strong woman mom was. She was the second woman in her university's history to graduate with a degree in World Trade. (Now it would be international finance.) I want to talk about how she liked to cook and how she loved to read. But all I have to say about her is in the past tense and it hurts.

It hurts so much that I change from a 43 year old woman to a little girl crying one sentence.

I want my mommy.
I want my mommy.

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