So I was having a pity party the other day and I told the girls how now that my mother is gone, no one loves me but them. This is not entirely true but it's close. Though there are plenty of friends and extended family who love me from afar, they are not day to day like my mother. My mother was my best friend and almost like my partner in life. I could call her most nights before bed and we would laugh and cheer each other up after a tough day or share each other's happiness on a good day.
"No one loves mama but you guys," I said as Eliza hugged me tightly.
"But Mama," Elena said, spoon in hand. We were in the middle of our dinner of leftover ziti and embellished lipton soup. "You're the greatest."
I laughed. Elena says many things to me, not all of them kind. She can also be a very tough children, she screams, hits and often shoves me pretty hard when she's not getting her own way. A lot of the time, when I don't give her what she wants or I correct an inappropriate behavior, she says "I don't like Mama anymore. I don't want Mama." Eliza often gets offended when Elena says such things, jumping to my defense. I mediate by telling Eliza that her sister is only three, she doesn't know half of what she's saying.
So considering the source, I'm not exactly walking around patting myself on the back and feeling like I'm the greatest. It was a nice moment, a cute moment, worth recording here. It did the trick of making me feel loved. But the loneliness is starting to expand.
Thanksgiving weekend was a tough weekend. I spent some of it dealing with the business aspect of losing my mom. I met with the realtor who, if I use her, plans to list the house a full $50,000 less than what's owed to the bank. My mother lived in her house for 20 years and was a bit of a pack rat so poking around there, figuring out how to clear it out is horrifying. I can get a dumpster, have a sale, host a cleaning out mom's house party but still the clean up can take months.
And then there's her mail, the ominous stack of bills with no funds to back them up. I addressed one letter after another notifying bill collectors of her death. This process took about two hours. All but two bills were medically related, some from collection agencies for amounts as low as $40. I felt an overwhelming sadness as I went through these bills realizing this had been her life for so many years, a struggle to pay out money that few people would have to every lab, doctor's office, medical facility and collection agency. Even a wealthy person would find themselves financially challenged and this was my mother's life, sending money she didn't have for "supply fees", "lab copay."
And she still met my phone calls with enthusiasm, happy to listen to me whine or giggle over my latest escapade.
My poor mama, how she deserved so much better. I miss her and I ache for her now. I should have been there for her more, should have helped her write those bills, just been at her side, letting her know she wasn't in this alone.