My mom just died and I am still reeling. Here are 13 about loss.
1) It is still so surreal to know I can't speak to her. To think that she isn't there.
2) It hurts to hear the pain in my father’s voice. He reaches for her every morning. He still sleeps on his side of the bed.
3) I don't know where the canned messages came from. Who was the first to say "I'm sorry" when faced with the survivors of a loss.
4) Why do people offer to help, "If there is anything I can do..." but RUN when asked by people for something concrete?
5) I can’t concentrate enough to do much. I need to revamp my resume, and I don’t seem to be able to. I can’t imagine what I would be like on a job interview.
6) I am stunned by the outpouring of generosity. My "evil" boss from several jobs ago emailed me (via LinkedIn) with a lovely note of sympathy and a memory when she met my parents. I don't even know how she found out, but I was incredibly grateful for the kindness behind the gesture.
7) In direct response to that, I'm stunned by the silence of some of my friends. Two people in particular who I would consider close friends, haven't called, haven't sent cards, nothing. The silence is deafening.
8) Taking care of a toddler is theraputic for the loss. They should put cards from day cares in funeral homes-when you have to be with kids, you are effected by their atural enthusiasm.
9) We had to take Lotus to the ER this week. First time. I wanted so much to call my mom. I wanted to tell her and have her reassure me.
10) I find myself dropping things. Literally. I've broken more glasses in the past few weeks than I have in years.
11) I don't understand facebook responses. People actually "liked" the post about my mother's death on facebook. WTF?
12) I haven’t been able to read. This is really annoying me. I start a book and it can’t hold me. I’ve been rereading some, but that hasn’t worked either.
13) I haven't been able to summon the energy to do stuff. I don't know when I will feel like doing things for their own sake rather than because I have to.
I saw her yesterday and she couldn't speak. Her eyes tracked me and she tried to smile. When I took her hand she squeezed back. I didn't have to wonder if she knew who I was. I told her it was okay to let go. I told her I would take care of my father. I told her I loved her and that she'd been an amazing mom.
Then I left and cried.
I'm still crying.
She's hanging on--my stubborn mother. Who I love so so very much.
When you become a parent, whether it is via birth or adoption, no matter how old you are you have to face that you are now "the grown-up". This has been one of the harder parts of my transition. Here are thirteen reasons why.
I'm lucky in that Lotus HATES throwing up. I'm unlucky in that when she does--it's always on me. I have to clean her before me. It's gross.
In the last few years my diet has evolved from college student to semi-responsible adult. That being said I have a big sweet tooth and I can't indulge it in front of her because too much sugar equals manic-baby. I have to be responsible and buy fruits instead of Entenmanns.
11) Medical office
When we first brought Lotus home, we took her to an international adoption specialist. One of the things she did was take several vials of blood. It gave me a small amount of pride that it took four people to hold my baby down to get it--she fought so very hard. But I had to be held back because she was crying so hard and I wanted to hold her and protect her. I KNOW it is for her own good and I didn't do anything, but it really sucked.
In that amorphous "before" time of parenting D and I decided that, since D is a diabetic and used to shots, he would be the one to handle it. That did not take into account the fact that when Lotus is having fun she wants her Daddy. When she is sick, scared, in pain, she wants MA MAAAAAAAAAAAA. Vaccinations qualify on all counts. I have had to hold her so the dr could give her the shot. Agony.
I overshare. A lot. I want to tell everyone what I think about the orphanage or China adoption in general. I want to tell my child's story. I realize though that it is HER story. I keep things back even to close friends because I am the grown-up.
8) Adult Child
My mom is ill. Very ill. I'll be discussing that in another post--but it is not fun and it is not good. As the person who is closest emotionally and distance wise to my parents I'm the one seeing how this illness has impacted both of them. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
7) Medical proxy
While my mother is undergoing chemo, she is not supposed to be in an emergency room unless it is for her. When my father got sick, and needed to go to the ER, I had to go with him because the Dr. did not want mom in the ER. Also, the chemo she is on made her "altered". So when Dad needed emergency surgery, I, as his secondary medical proxy had to sign off on it. Fortunately dad recovered quickly, but also, not fun.
****If you live in the US, you should have two people designated as medical proxy, who can make decisions if you are incapacitated. I do not want to think of what would have happened had my father not had the foresight to put me on that list.*****
6) Saying No
This is both to my parents and daughter. Sometimes I have to say no, whether it is for my own sanity or because I can't be the parent who doesn't say no. It doesn't make it fun.
5) End of life decisions-ours
Before Lotus, we had the people who would take care of her if something happened to us. Our closest friends, then others, than others. Our closest friends are still the first choice, but we have had to revise the other choices due to who Lotus has met and is comfortable with. Making these choices to begin with was rough, making them now when we thought "we discussed this" is harder still. Lotus can't weigh in, and we know how important this might be. It is not a good time to be a grown-up.
4) End of life decisions--my parents
Today, at some point, I have to call someone to make sure that everything is all right for my parents cemetery plots. They bought them long ago, but there are questions my father has and he just can' make this call. He asked if I could and I said I would. There is absolutely nothing about this chore that does not suck.
3) Balancing my needs with my child's needs with my parents needs
I have had to say to my parents "no, I will not be seeing you today" because Lotus has needed the fun time. I don't like to do it, but I have to pick her over them. Sometimes I pick me over them, and sometimes I pick me over Lotus. D allowed me to go see Catching Fire in a theater when it was out so I could have some time where I wasn't "Mommy" or "daugher" and I needed it and am grateful for it.
2) Turning off screens
Whether with my parents or child, I find myself turning off the computer/tv a lot. When I am with my parents, I'm turning off the screen so I can spend what little time left talking, asking questions and so forth. With my child because the damned AMA says I should and I have enough mommy guilt that I let her watch anything.
1) Being small
My daughter looks at me sometimes and I feel like I can do anything. I am Mommy! Solver of problems. Hander-down of rules. Then I stand at my mother's bedside and I can't do anything. I can only hold her hand and tell her that she has been a good mom and I love her. I can't fix this cancer and I can't cure her. The knowledge that time is running out is the hardest part of being an adult.
If you are so inclined--please keep my mom in thoughts and prayers. She is holding on and fighting until June and my parents anniversary. I believe that good thoughts and prayers help in her fight--and I ask for them.
In all of this I didn't get to gush. For those reading this who are still in a bad IF place--go. Find something wonderful and healing and fun to do. This is not the right post for you. Read further at your own risk.
I made the decision. I'm going to call our little girl Lotus, here on the blog. She's beautiful and the flower of our lives.
Here are some memories of the first few months---so you can see her as I do.
1) Lotus was VERY well cared for in the orphanage. We visited and saw how much they loved her. One of the aunties loved her enormously. She was nursed. We were changing into our bathing suits at the hotel--and she saw my bare breasts for the first time. She smiled, grabbed one and latched on. OW. I had made the decision not to do adoptive breastfeeding, and most of the time I'm not sorry I did. However when I had to detach my baby's mouth from my breast, after the relief, I felt bad that I couldn't comfort her in that way.
2) At the orphanage we saw that they shared the space near an old age home. We later found out that every week they would bring the elderly folks in to play with the kids. I think this is an idea some nursery schools/daycares in the states might embrace. I was fortunate how well she took to us, but it amazed me how quickly she took to my parents and D's parents. We believe the early exposure to the elderly helped this along.
3) Regarding D's parents--especially his father. D's father is totally enamored of his granddaughter. This is at odds with the staid, straight-laced person we've always known. Then D quotes Bill Cosby. "These are not the people who raised you, these are old people who are trying to get into heaven."
4) Lotus LOVES her veggies. She is one of the few people who I believe might be a born vegetarian. It is not easy to get her to get her to eat meat. So we've been giving her hummus and a lot of beans. This leads to the predictable result. However her baby farts are just so cute! We were in an elevator at the library and she farted and the two other people in the elevator said, "Awwwww."
5) I watched how most people adopting from China wound up co-sleeping so they could get any. We are one of them. What happens is we rock Lotus to sleep. (We are not Ferbering.) Or rather, I rock her to sleep. Then D takes her and puts her in her crib. Sometime around 2 or 3, Lotus cries and one of us takes her and brings her into our bed where she often sleeps until 8:30 am or until we wake her up for daycare.
I love being a mom very much. More important, I love being Lotus' mom.
Last Wednesday I was walking into my office my mind on what I would post later for a Thursday Thirteen. My boss called me into her office, and I, thinking that it was about my bonus/raise thought nothing of it.
Then I was told that my job--the job I've had for over a decade--had been eliminated. My last day was Friday. Go to HR. Pretty much that quickly and bluntly.
My coworkers were stunned--the ones in other departments who often see what I do. One, I am told, went the first day after and gave my former boss a large piece of her mind. The door was closed but words like "asinine" and "oblivious" were used. I felt better. My department acted as if the firing was contagious--with a few exceptions.
Mostly I've been feeling rage. It has dialed down from that to a warm simmer of fury. I've been taking this time to regroup. relax, and spend some time with my baby. She's needed it. She has another ear infection and she has shared it with her mommy. I have a decent severance package, but the last time I looked for a job Facebook didn't exist.
I'd love pointers. Resume pointers. This is going to be a very different kind of blog.
I took a break. She needed my time, my attention and I didn't have much energy for anything else.
Now I'm starting to want to share again. To break out again and talk about what's going on.
I love being a mom. I love being my daughter's mom. I'm thinking of what to call her on the blog to keep her privacy so bear with me. I love morning hugs when she wakes up in our bed. I love going-to-bed-hugs when she's trying to get to stay up a little longer. I love dancing with her. I love this child.
It has changed me...and if anyone still wonders if I'll be a good enough blogger to follow, well you'll have to wait and see. I hope to start writing here again, and start writing again. I'm still on a journey--I'm just not sure where to yet.
Tomorrow it will be a week that we are home from China.
I watch you sleeping and awake. You try to figure out what is going on now.
You've taken so much in stride, I can't believe it.
You wake up at around 2:30 in the morning-- just to check that this new Mommy and Daddy people are still here.
You don't like your hands touched, but if we hold your face in our hands we get a smile.
You accept your crib, but are happiest when we bring you into our bed for cuddling and you fall asleep and wake up with Mommy and Daddy are on either side of you.
You say Mama and Dada--always when the other person is holding you.
I watch you learn your surroundings and get stronger every day. I think of all the years we waited for you. I think of all the days I cried thinking I would never hold a child in my arms. I think of all the tears I shed. I think of every piece of infertility hell that I slugged through. Every bit of Chinese adoption hell that your daddy and I slugged through. Rule changes, forms, more forms a seven year wait.
I look at you sleeping in your daddy's arms.
My beautiful daughter.
You were worth it. You were worth every single second of it.