Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Thirteenth of April 2010. It's why I've got to be Me

This is about my mother and me, my two brothers both older making me the baby of the family. My Mother had three sisters and two brothers (one who died when he was 3 months old). My Mother  sister's and brother were very close, all of my cousin's were considered as family they might not see it that way. Mom and I did, Mom loved all of them the way she put it was; " I don't love anyone the most I've just loved them longer, that all." In a way it was almost like I had 13 brothers and 8 sisters. Some lived with us from time to time, some I didn't see very much they were still part of what Mom called our family. This has gotten much longer than I intended, but it is what it is, and it's part of why I've got to be me.

My Mother was 79 years old and had a grocery list of health problems. Mom would share what was happening with everybody as long as it was good, news and or funny. Getting her to talk about herself didn't happen she was a master of changing the subject. As her health problems began to take a toll on her body, time was a commodity she didn't have much of. We each knew including Mom that if she got sick, her body was not likely to recover. Her mind and will were as strong as ever.  Now this wasn't information Mom wanted shared, my brothers are much stronger than I am. I asked her don't you think some of the family has a right to know? "No and I don't want you to share my health information with the family or my friends, if your asked how I am just tell them I'm fine!" I'm not going lie to them they'll never forgive! She told me; "This is going to be very hard on you I know but I don't want any one's last visit or memory with me to be one of watching me dieing. What I really want is for each person to remember me the way I lived and as they remember me. I don't want anyone to mourn me before I'm dead." I would do as she asked but told her "I'm not going to lie I'll tell them "you said your fine" that way it's your lie not mine, after your gone all bet's and deals are off!" Mom said "That's good enough for me!" It's the way she wanted it so I did as she asked. After she passed I told all who asked me the truth, many of her dear and oldest friends said  it sounds just like her and come to think of it I don't remember her sharing any bad news or talking about herself. My mom did tell everybody about my M.S. because she was so proud of how I was handling it and she worried about me too much! 

My Mom was my best friend, at times my only friend each time I felt hopeless and lost she was the one I talked to the most. She didn't judge me or try to fix it for me, she would help me to see it for that it was, a choice only I should make. She offered me the tools and advice to help me but never told me what I should do. Reminding me always it's my life to live and every choice I make is a path not taken and that no matter what choice I made, she loved me.  She didn't agree with some of the choices I made of course. I'm not her, she didn't rise me to be just like her or anyone else! I don't mind when someone tells me I'm just like her, I do consider that high praise even though I know it's not true. People say that's something your Mother would say, yes that's very true. I'm not going to apologize for that she's my mother. Having listened to her wisdom that was right on most of the time, all of my life some of it's bound to stick!

When I was helping Mom pack up her house, A three bedroom house that she had lived in for over 60 years her Mother had purchased it in 1945. The memories were the hardest part for her. Thankfully all I had to pack were the things she had. She had to pack her memories and said; "It's a good thing I only hold on to the good ones! No baggage to luge around!" We talked about her mother a lot she died before I was born. We talked about how the house has always been referred to as  "2932". I asked her if she had any second thoughts? She said "Oh no it's about time I let this go, it's just more house than I need, and now everyone can stop worrying about me falling down the stair's that, I have never falling down in my life but I won't miss them not one bit!"

As we were finishing up, Mom stopped and got very quiet and asked me do you think your like me? In some way's kind of in others not so much. Mom your my best friend and I love you very much, but I've got to be me the person I'm meant to be. As long as I have choices I've got to be me, our life's experience are so different from each other, you have been the best teacher I've had and I'm very glad your my Mother. Mom didn't say anything for a while then said "You skipped a generation your more like my Mom then me." She didn't seem unhappy about it. Then she told me; "You listen to everything and mull it over and mix it all up and make it your own." I told her "Yep! that's what makes me the individual you taught me to be, similar maybe just not the same." My Mom and I could and did talk about everything and nothing for hours at a time. I loved that she would tell me something she had told me before and it was exactly the same as the first time she told it to me.

As a child just like most kids I asked my Mom why a lot. Her answer 90% of the time was; what do you think the reason why is? When I wanted to know that a word meant she didn't tell me what she thought or knew it meant. Instead she told me I'm not sure look it up in the dictionary. Telling her I can't spell didn't work, you can read it right? So what's the first letter start from there and read the words until you find that word. So you see she didn't answer my questions or do it for me. Instead she gave me the tools I needed to figure things out for myself, then draw my own conclusions from what I had learned. The tools she gave me will last a lifetime and I've gained more for my own life experiences. What I've learned is tools teach me how to find the questions I want answers for. When being told the answer to a question I don't learn anything, I just know that someone told me what they think the answer is! Most answers end up creating more questions anyway! That's one of the reasons why I am always myself and just not like anyone else.

My Mom got sick in March of 2010 with the flu. That when she went into the hospital for the last time. The night my Mom passed away I was sleeping in my chair and woke up with an overwhelming feeling that I needed to do something. But I couldn't find anything I had forgotten to do. So I sat down in my chair again, looking out the window I could see lightning from a storm moving in from the southwest, it was shorty after 3:00am when I heard the first thunder in a short period of time, it became a very loud thunderstorm that lit up the night sky, I watched it until I couldn't hear the thunder anymore I went to sleep.  Around 5:00am my brother called telling me Mom is playing with her sisters in heaven. I found out later she had passed away around 3:30am, that's when the thunderstorm was at it's loudest. Later after a another thunderstorm had come and gone I wrote this.

A thunderstorm brings peace

The hardest day in my life was the day my Mom died
I wasn't sad, more relieved her life had become so complicated
She has always been my rock and her love never wavered
She always had a positive attitude and whenever obstacle's littered her
path; she didn't walk around them, instead she worked her way though
them all.
She wasn't one to make mountains out of molehills
She preferred to live and let live
She didn't want anyone to worry or fuss over her
Living her life in control of her choices,
when attempting to accept that she needed help,
wasn't a role she was familiar with or cared for much!
She knew it was essential and handled it the best she could
As her night came a thunderstorm rolled in
She went to see what the ruckus was all about
As she did an Angel went home to heaven.
By Mary K. Mennenga  
  If you've managed to get through this let me know what you think, besides the fact it's so every long.   


Anonymous said...

Now I think I understand I do think you should have wrote this one first but that's me. I've got to say your mother sounds to good to be true, I can tell the inpact she had on you has touched me too.

Mary K. Mennenga said...

Thanks! She was the kindest person I've ever known, I'll see her again one day. Until that day comes I'm going to continue being me and nobody else. It's who I was raised to be.