They came for Mom's hospital bed. I truly didn't think it would affect me the way it did. The room looks so empty. And I felt the way the room looks. I almost cried, but couldn't squeeze more than a few tears.
I don't know why. Perhaps it's because the last few years have called for so many tears I just don't have a lot left. How dramatic is that statement. It's true, though. I have grieved, as we all have, and have experienced anticipatory grief for Mom for more than a decade. I feel good that I could spend the last two years of her life with her. Once, she told me - "You're sweet. I always thought you were hard to get along with." Well...Mom wasn't far from wrong, but she and I spent a lot of time together not as mother and daughter. She was my employer until I was thirty-six, and maybe I was difficult because waitress was not my life's goal.
But we became close as the years went on. And we were even more so, the longer we lived together. She often remarked, "We get along so well. Did you ever think we would be living together again?"
I cooked in Mom's kitchen tonight. And later, as I was cleaning the mess I made, something came over me that had nothing to do with grief, and a lot to do with remembering.
Mom's sisters, whom she loved so much. The weekend canasta fests, when they all drank diet coke and laughed, called each other "hussey!" when one built a better hand than the other. They had so much fun! ... and I was the fly on the wall, or an observer on their periphery, taking it all in. They were my exposure to what a close family really is. They had so much love, and we loved being near them.
They're all gone, now, hopefully reunited in the proverbial much better place. I hope so. And tonight, for the first time, it occurred to me that it's time to step up and assume the role left to me.
I want to be happy. And I am...more than that, I want to leave the sisters' legacy for my children and grandchildren. I want them to have good times, laughter and love to remember and pass on to their own families, one day.
A few weeks before Mom went to the hospital, she and I were talking, about noise. She said it didn't bother her, and I agreed, saying noise - the kids, the tv, etc, were sounds of living. She watched me intently as I was talking, and she smiled. She would have wanted me to carry on. She would have wanted us to be happy.