My mother is dying. Not today, no today she is set to take care of Elena while I attend to Eliza at her endless dance recital. But try as I might to pretend that she will somehow cheat death, I see her body struggling to hold itself up. I can tell myself none of us really knows how long we have and all we have is today but there it is, written all over her. I love my mom and she has pancreatic cancer.
The doctors were reassuring. They tried to cut it out of her. They offered her radiation and an aggressive chemotherapy regimen in the hopes that it "could extend her life." I bought the line that they could extend her life long enough to find a cure. Now it's almost a year later, fortunately she's still here but she is weak, disoriented, visibly making her descent.
My mother is the only person I've ever had that's truly mine. She has always been my "last call" of the night, the only person who listened to my endless pratterings no matter how inane, how repetitive. She is my champion, my hero, the only person who has ever loved me unconditionally. I don't know how I'm supposed to survive without her.
As I face this, people say I will go on. My children need me and my mother would want me to continue. I get that and I know all too well my role as my children's caregivers. I have to honestly say, my mood and how I've been with my children has changed tremendously in this past year. Whether it's because of my mother's illness or the fact that they've gotten older and the roles have changed is unknown. But as much as I love them, I am a much less happy mother.
At work, I could hide from my mother's sickness, from the awful reality we faced. At home, it's right there in my face and there's no one, no one for me. My days start and finish based on the needs of others around me. I take care of myself and try to plan fun stuff for us so it's not a complete grind. I just desperately miss adult interaction. I have wonderful friends, but they have their own lives. I don't see them enough but we're all busy and it can be hard to get together. Most days the only adult I speak to for more than five minutes is my mother.
I don't mind living my life without a partner, but I sure do wish I had another adult around to look forward to seeing regularly once or twice a week. Some one to hug me and laugh with me and make reenergize me in that way that people who care about you can. Parenting, particularly single parenting, can be very isolating. I'm sure people in fairly good marriages are starved for what I'm looking for right now.
Health is a gift and I seem to be healthy, as are my girls. There are far sadder stories out there. Some of my cousins have already lost both their parents. Death is a part of life. I am north of 40 now, I am not immune to this fact.
A friend recently posted this quote from "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. Not to be overdramatic, but this is how I feel about life in a world without my mom.
If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it."