Mortality is a Mother F*cker

Two years ago this week my phone rang during a post-pedicure lunch and drink with my best friend. It was our Friday thing that we did. Our kids were in preschool and this was our time to relax and enjoy some “me” time and celebrate the fact we had made it through the week of work, deadlines, kids and all the craziness that goes along with it. I loved these times. My best friend and I met when our 8 month old babies were in daycare together. They were 4 days apart and became best buds right away. It was sort of Kismet, because the same thing happened with us. We realized via a quick FaceBook glance that we had the same birthday. Not just the same day, but the same year- essentially we are twins from another mother. This was a very special week for us as well. Our babies had just graduated preschool and were heading to Kindergarten the following Monday. We were of course so proud, but also ready to drown our tears in a couple of glasses of wine.

So there we were with freshly painted toes, ready to order when my phone rang. I was enjoying a rather long lunch from work so I assumed someone was trying to get a hold of me to talk about a client I needed to deal with; but it was my Dad. My Dad is not a phone guy by any means and I had never seen his name come across my caller ID before. I would talk to my Dad often, always about sports and politics, but it was always on the tail end of a call I was having with my Mom. Maybe Mom just lost her phone, which seemed very probable in the 5 seconds it took me to pick up and answer. I did inherit the ability to lose anything-anytime from her. So I picked up the phone…..

It was my Dad and I immediately felt that sinking feeling in my stomach that something wasn’t right, but nothing prepared me for the two words I would hear next. Moms gone. I didn’t understand, I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know what to say. Here I was, 2,000 miles away from my family and my Mom was dead. There would be no good-bye, there would be no last words, there would not be a last hug or promise or I love you, she was gone.

I was shaking uncontrollably and when I tried to get outside the restaurant I kept dropping my keys. Complete strangers were trying to help me. I made it outside but I don’t remember the rest of the conversation with my Dad. Something to the effect that he tried calling her all day from work and she didn’t answer and he had found her when he got home. She had been gone for a while and that is something I can’t imagine seeing. My parents were married for 37 years.

I’m not a super religious person but I do believe in a higher power and I know without a shadow of a doubt that a higher power put my best friend with me that day. She held me and let me cry and let me be angry all at once. She had lost someone equally as close and equally as sudden before, so she understood me completely. I don’t know what I would have done if she wasn’t with me. Thank you G.

I somehow made it home and my insane Type A personality took over. I had to call my ex-husband to let him know and make sure he could take our daughter for a few days. I was going to miss my baby’s first day of Kindergarten. I was angry about this. How dare you make me miss this, Mom? Her timing was not good. I had to call my boss and explain what had happened and that I would be out. I had to book a flight and a car and get back to Illinois as quickly as I could. I somehow managed all of this in a few short hours and was on a fairly empty plane back to Illinois that night. I cried the entire flight.

To be fair, the call did not come as a complete surprise. My Mom had not been well for years and through bouts of frustration with her, I had even said I expected to get that call. She was a brittle diabetic that didn’t take care of herself. she was diagnosed in her mid-thirties and managed it well for a while. When she was preparing for my wedding she started dieting in all the wrong ways, but she was determined to look nice for my big day. {insert major guilt} Her blood sugar would bottom out because she would take her insulin but wouldn’t eat. My Dad would often have to force feed her sugar wafers or orange juice, and when it was really bad he would have to inject her with emergency glucose shots. It was hard to watch. My Mom was a strong, social butterfly who loved to cook and loved to feed people even more so. She had a heart of gold, but easily hurt. We did not see eye to eye on much. I was career driven, loved sports and wanted to travel the world and live everywhere. She wanted me to settle down (down the street), and have babies and bake cookies with her on Saturdays. I knew I disappointed her many times.

The final blow to her health came a few years before her death in the form of Cancer. I f*cking hate cancer. It stole my Grandma, my Pop, my Aunt and many other members of my family. When we found out about her breast cancer, it was a shock. Resources are not plentiful in my little small town so treatments and appointments were often two hour trips away. An overzealous plastic surgeon almost killed her with a botched implant surgery after her double mastectomy. It killed me being so far away and I went back as often as I could. She fought hard and beat the cancer, but the toll it left on her body was undeniable. Her diabetes was even harder to control and she had a lot of pain.

My daughter and I flew back in May before she passed and had one of the most amazing visits we could have. My Mom spent hours in the yard with my daughter planting flowers and building memories. There were family afternoons with my brothers and their families and the wedding of my Moms brother that tied everything together perfectly. My Mom was good. We didn’t fight- which was rare. We got pedicures together and shopped and laughed and cried about my impending divorce. She was my rock and my best friend. When we pulled out of the drive on our way back to the airport, I didn’t know that was the last hug, the last picture together or the last time I would BE with my Mom.

The last two years have been hard. I reach for the phone to call her. I blame her for not trying a little harder to take care of herself, and then I blame myself for not being there to help. I know we hear it all the time, Life is short, hug the ones you love, tell them what they mean to you, blah, blah, blah. I did this, I told my Mom how much I loved her all the time. I told her how much she meant to me and how much I needed her in my life. Sometimes it’s just not enough. Mortality is a Mother F*cker and we can’t change things. She comes to me in my dreams when I need her, and I truly believe it is her. If you made it this far, thank you for letting me share. It was therapeutic to write and I know I’m not the only one who has gone through this.

Without my friends, the last two years would have been impossible, and I thank them for everything. I only hope I can be that friend when I am needed. Don’t desert your friends when sh*t happens. They may not know how to ask for help and they may be hard to be friends with, I know I was. This blog is all about the trials and tribulations that we go through in life and how we are able to to do just a little bit easier with a little help from our friends.



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