June 18, 2017

It was one year ago today that my mom passed away. I look back on the days preceding her passing and the week that followed and it all seems so unreal. It’s not like you can ever prepare for something like that happening (and to be truthful, compared to others who have had to witness one of their parents withering away with cancer or just fading away from view due to Alzheimer’s, I know we as a family had it about as best as anyone could rightly expect), you just have to go through it. True, my mom had had a rough 3-4 months at the very end, but she was under great care from family members and health care providers during that time, and she still had her wits about her to the end.

We should all end up so fortunate.

It was two days before she passed away that I was awoken by her care manager at the rehab facility. We were to discussing her status and (I thought) her treatment plan when she asked me when I was planning our next visit. I told her our intent was to get back around the first of July so we could be there for my parents anniversary on the 4th. I could feel the blood drain from my face when she said, “I think it needs to be sooner than that. Much sooner.”

“Like how much sooner?”, I asked.
“As soon as you can.”

Well, that was that. I called Mom at the rehab place, spoke to her for only a few minutes. She sounded kinda groggy and tired, but as was her way she didn’t want us to be bothered making the trip out there just for her. We were at the airport Saturday morning when I got a text that the family had been called to her bedside, so it became a question of whether we’d get there on time. I think we would have just made it had our rental car at the Logan Airport facility not been delayed by 45 minutes. Instead, we got there about 20 minutes or so after she had passed.

The following week was the most stress I’d ever felt myself under in my life. To me, it was all about keeping my mom’s wishes regarding her arrangements. She wanted it simple: no wake, a simple funeral, but in the end you’re just trying to compromise and keep everyone reasonably happy and things within reason, and I felt I did pretty damned well under the circumstances. The day we flew back to Arizona, a week after her passing, Tracey and I nursed Bloody Marys at the Legal Seafood at Logan Airport; my brain was like cotton candy, my nerves frayed to the quick, and the world around me out of focus like a shimmering fog.

It wasn’t until a month later when, in the midst of my Goodboys friends on the first day of the Goodboys Invitational weekend, a shanked 7-iron triggered an emotional breakdown that left me a blubbering puddle of goo that lasted the better part of the day. Being the Goodboys they are, my friends were cool about it and understood. I guess it just took being in a safe place and surrounded by friends that my body felt it could finally let go of the stress. It took a while longer for me to come to grips with her passing and start to make peace with the events that surrounded it.

To be truthful, I’m not there yet.

All in all it’s been a sad year. Having all the anniversaries, occasions, and holidays where I’d expect to either hear from Mom or call her just roll by one day after another is something that has to be handled. As to be expected, my dad had it rough at the start and it took him several months to (in his own words) get his bearings, but he’s come through the other side of it and is doing great. I’m so proud of him.

I look back on Mom’s death as the ending of an era, the final chapter of a book whose epilogue is still being written by everyone who knew her, loved her, and miss her. For me, her passing has changed the way I look at everything, although I can’t say exactly in what way. I still feel in my spirit a void that will never go away. But along with that sense of loss there’s also a feeling of gratitude that I was able to have her along for the first six decades of my life. Not everyone can say that, that’s for sure! In the end, all you can do is offer up thanks for having known someone so caring, so loving, and so wise for so long.

I go on. The family goes on. But it’s all different now. You simply can’t have someone who held the fabric of two families together through her life, love, and personality depart and not expect things to be different once she’s gone. That’s just life and the way things go. I think about her a lot, wonder what she’d think or have to say about the various events that have taken place in everyone’s lives since her passing. She had a wisdom and a way of putting things in context that can never be replaced – not in my life, not in the lives of those she loved and those who loved her.

That’s just the way it is.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 16:43 | Comments (2)
  1. Dear Doug: Your words on your mother were so eloquent and all so true and, of course, brought me to tears. I can’t tell you or explain to anyone how much I miss her and I talk to her often. She was a very unique person- never pushy or mouthy like her little sister. Thank you so much for a wonderful tribute to my dear, dear sister. love, Auntie

    Comment by Auntie Marge — June 19, 2017 @ 9:05 am

  2. Thanks Auntie. Yep, she was one special person and still is in all of our hearts. Love you, will stop in to say hello when I’m back in July for Goodboys.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — June 19, 2017 @ 6:45 pm

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