Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saying Goodbye

On Monday August 24th, I drove to San Francisco with my friend J, who is as funny as hell and made me laugh the whole way there. It was the first day I didn't cry after my mom died. I had to get a passport and was stressed out that when I arrived, they would deny me for some reason. My flight left the very next day and I had to be on it.

What should have been a 4 hour plus drive to SF was 3.5 hours, including slowing down for an accident along the way, and I nervously went into the office ahead of my appointment just to make sure I was on the list. Not only was I on the list but they let me in early. I couldn't believe how smoothly everything went and after going back in the afternoon, I emerged with an American passport in my hands. I have to say, the passport office staff were lovely and there were no issues at all, which was a huge relief.

Ned and I flew to England where a friend picked us up from the airport and drove us to my parents house. Except it is just my dad's house now and it makes me so sad to say that, because everything in the house, from the ornaments to the decor, were chosen by my mom. Pictures of my mom were scattered around the house, one with Ned when he was only 7 weeks old, and it just made me sad. Made me sad to think that I would never see her again, that she would never see her grandchildren again, and that she wouldn't drive me crazy again. Because she did drive me crazy, believe me! But it is so weird, when they die you only remember the really good stuff, and it makes you miss them even more.

The funeral was at the same church where we had Ned christened on Christmas Day, and although we didn't realize it at the time, my sister picked out the exact same outfit that she wore that day for her to be dressed in for her funeral. It was only a week later when we looked at the photographs that we both realized. It was the same vicar too which was really nice. There is a lot of tradition in England with funerals and we left the house in a car that followed the hearse and all of the neighbors came out and bowed their heads as we passed by. Before we got to the end of the street, the funeral director got out and with his top hat under his arm, he walked in front of the hearse as they walk the dead out from their street.

We arrived at the church a little early and watched as more than 20 people went in. Little did we know that were going to be another 200 or so already inside. The church was full - my mom would have been so happy! The vicar led us into the church with the coffin and the music that blasted from the sound system was a favorite of my moms - Mahalia Jackson's I'm on my Way! I walked down the church aisle holding on to my dad's arm - I hadn't done this in 17 years when he gave me away at my first wedding in the very same church. It was such a surreal feeling. The coffin was so tiny, too tiny for a woman with such an enormous presence.

The service was beautiful and there were many things that made us cry and some anecdotes from the vicar that made us laugh. I cried the hardest when they played Mahalia Jackson singing the Lord's Prayer.

My faith in God and the life we go to after this one gave me so much comfort, because I know mom believed and I know that she is on her new journey now. I know that she isn't suffering and she doesn't feel any pain or loss. But I do. I am suffering and I feel a pain that I never knew existed and a loss that is unbearable. As my sister put it, she was such a force of nature that you half expected a black hole to open up where she once stood!

I know that with time it will become easier, everyone says that and I really hope it is true. But for now I am really sad and all I do is read and re-read the letter that she mailed to me on the very day that she went to hospital, and I wonder if part of her knew because she never usually wrote like this:

Just a little note to say I'm sending my love to you both. I wish I could wrap my arms around you every day, for real, not just in my head, but I know your lives are settled in America.......

By the time you get this I might be out of hospital so hopefully it won't be long before I talk to you. Till then my darlings be good, be well and be happy.

Lots of love, Mom


f8hasit said...

That's lovely. What a great tribute to your mother. Is the photo of her? Fabulous.

It's odd, isn't it? I lost my mother just 8 weeks ago and the little changes, like calling it your dad's house, is the same for me. It's small, but huge in it's own way.

My thoughts are with you.

M said...

Yes, that is a picture of my mom, when she was about 18.

It is such a hard adjustment, and I hear my dad refer to her as if she is still alive sometimes, like he will say "yes, your mom really likes that" instead of "liked". It's very hard to get used to.

Thank you for your good thoughts, I hope that you are coping as best you can with the loss of your own dear mom.

FunnyGal KAT said...

I agree with those who say it will get easier (although it's difficult to see how in the beginning). It takes a long time, but you will eventually be able to think of her without tears welling up. My mom passed away five years ago and I still have times when I burst into tears while thinking about how she'll never meet her grandchildren. And I think that's OK because it shows how much she means to me.

Stay strong and know that you have a whole group of people sending good thoughts your way. By the way, what a great photo of your mom-- she's gorgeous!

Soda and Candy said...

Poor M, she sounds like she was a really great mum.

M said...

Thank you guys, she was a great mom! And yes, she looks lovely in that picture, I love that one of her. This week has been hard, but I feel a bit better today (hmm, Friday?!) but I know it will take some time.

Leah Rubin said...

Oh my, my heart hurts with your pain... I'm glad your funny friend drove you to the city... When I was back at work for the first day after my mom's death, my best friend came to take me out to lunch. (She's funny as hell, too.) I said there was no way I could go out to lunch. She said, "Come on. I promise you won't have a good time." Of course that made me laugh, then cry, then go to lunch. It's a process, as they say. You don't stop missing her, but it becomes less unnatural to be without her.

M said...

Thanks Leah, I really hope it gets better soon. Funny friends are the best too!

Pollyanna said...

Oh sweetie. That really is a very loving and lovely tribute to your mom. I know she would be very proud of it! I hope you are doing better. XOXO

Live.Love.Eat said...

Oh goodness I am so sorry M. I had no idea you were going through all of this. I would have been by but I didn't think you were even bloggin at all anymore. I am so sorry for your loss!!!!!!!!!!

M said...

Don't worry, I have been such a slack blogger I am surprised anyone even comes by to read anymore!!

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