Thursday, May 5, 2011

John's 7th Birthday and reminicing about mom

Ever since John went to a friend's birthday party last year at Pirate Island in Orem he has been talking about doing it for his birthday. I tried to keep the birthday list short but then it just kept growing. For one thing John couldn't keep his mouth shut, and it seems Pirate Island is the most coveted invitation around.
Then we ended up with two sets of siblings because, obviously, you can't invite one without the other. So long story short, and 13 boys later, we set off.

When one eye patch isn't enough.

The whole thing was way more than I expected after they tacked on a a bunch of unexpected stuff at the end, but Peter says oh well, the boys had a lot of fun. John certainly did. He couldn't sleep for a week before the big day and then couldn't sleep with excitement that the Holmes family was coming!

John shares his birthday with my mom, which always makes me think about her at this time of the year. I never forget her birthday and I never forget the day she died because it was tax day, April 15, 2002. Exactly 5 days before her 50th birthday.

I find myself conflicted about my mom these days. Sometimes I feel understanding and compassion and sometimes I feel angry with her that she didn't try harder to like me when I was growing up. I know we had some good times, but I have moments when I can only remember the bad ones and over time things probably amplify in my mind. We had a strange and rather strained relationship. So different but maybe also the same. Affection wasn't something my mom really showed to many people in her life. It was awkward and uncomfortable for her, and I know that even though I'm leaps and bounds ahead of her with my own children, I still have a hard time telling various people I love them. I try really hard with the kids though.

We never got on until after I had been married for a bit. I spent a fair amount of more concentrated time with her the last years of her life and I think it was a good time for healing. She was very childlike. I was the mother and she was the daughter. When she was rude I told her so and she felt bad. I made meals and cleaned house and helped her in and out of the bath. We got along and grew closer.

The last three weeks of her life were a really horrible, horrible thing to watch. I had driven up to Santa Rosa at the beginning of that time to see her and she perked up for just that one night. Dad said he he thinks she was waiting for me. She sat up and talked. Then I slept the night there in her room because she was scared she was going to die alone. It was a long night. I kept thinking, is this going to be it? Is she still breathing? Things only went downhill from there. She didn't want me to leave, even to use the bathroom or eat. I still had a nursing child that Peter's sister came to help me with so I could sit with mom. She couldn't be touched without screaming in pain. I don't know why. The body does weird things when it is dying I guess.I couldn't understand what she was saying sometimes. She sounded like she was drowning, which in essence she was.
So the last day I was there she told me she loved me. I didn't want her exciting herself any more than she already was so I tried to be reassuring. "I know mom."
But she was very urgent and I'll never forget what she said then. "No. I love you forever." I knew what she was trying to tell me. I think those may have been the last words we exchanged. I can't remember if I told her I loved her or not.
I hope I did.

1 comment:

Sally said...

A sweet message April. Thanks for sharing. I know your mom knew that you loved her. She'd be so proud of you today too! You're a wonderful daughter, wife, mother, friend. So, we grew up with little affection in our house. We knew we were loved, just didn't show it by hugging and kissing. I know I've had to work on it my entire life, and I still am. But, I can honestly say that I love you! I think you're amazing!