(*I have been hesitant to post this, since CBG is still in the midst of his own grieving, but this has been on my mind a lot lately, and I felt compelled to get this out there.)
There are memories that continue to haunt me. Images, words, feelings, that pop up unexpectedly when I least expect them…of a woman that I, rather unfairly, never really got to know. These are moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Our last Christmas dinner together. I was there with CBG and his family (my girls were with their dad for the remainder of the day). As we were about to all sit down together to eat, she felt ill and had to be wheeled away from the table. We sat uncomfortably, feast spread before us, while she was getting sick in the next room, upset that she was “ruining everyone else’s day”. No one cared about their meal being ruined…we just wanted to be there as a family. That was the day that I knew in my heart that she wouldn’t be there to see another Christmas.
New Year’s Day. The girls and I, CBG and Ankle Biter had spent the weekend there. It was obvious that her health was going downhill. She was no longer lucid; carrying on a conversation was next to impossible. Later that day, CBG’s dad had her taken to the hospital. That was the last night she spent in her own bed.
The very last time I saw her. We had just gotten the news days before that there was nothing more they could do for her. She would be going back to her home town the next day, and I wanted to make sure that my girls got to visit with her one last time. She was having “a good day”. She was lucid and conversational. My girls didn’t know. They sat there happily talking with her, being their happy, cheerful selves. I did my best to keep the conversation light and upbeat.
And then came a moment when the girls were distracted. She looked up at me, looked me directly in the eye and said, “I’m going to die.” Her voice cracked as she said the words. I said nothing…simply met her gaze and nodded. That’s when the tears came. I came and put my arms around her as the two of us shared a moment, acknowledging what was to come, allowing the tears, before we both pulled it together for the sake of the two little girls in the room who had no idea what was going on.
Just a little over a week later, she was gone. Faster than anyone expected.
I feel a lot of regrets when it comes to CBG’s mom. I should have visited her more at the hospital. I should have made a better effort to get to know her and be a comfort and a help to her. But I was too wrapped up in my own life, and my own discomfort with the situation. I thought too much about myself and too little about her. I could have done so much more.
I think that’s why these memories and feelings continue to haunt me – I have so many regrets, so many things I wish I could go back and do differently. The thing is, though…I can’t go back and change any of it. There are no do-overs. Instead, I will carry these memories and these regrets with me always….as inspiration to do better with my life, and as a reminder to not let life pass me by. It’s too precious to waste.