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  • Kathy Cassel

I Just Wasn't Ready




I wasn't ready for my mom to die.


She was 90, and it wasn't unexpected, but it happened so quickly.


If you read my last blog post, it gave the timing, but basically I went to see her in July, but that trip was interrupted by the hospital social worker insisting I return to be with my husband at the hospital. I have a lot of negative feelings about that. Not that I didn't want to be with him, but he understood that any of my trips to see her could be the last.


I just didn't think that this one would be the last. It ended horribly with me having to pack up and go, and her not quite realizing what was going on. I didn't even say goodbye before I left because she was sleeping. She'd been so tired I didn't want to wake her. I told my sister to let her know I'd be back once Rick was home and stabilized. I thought there would be another visit where I'd take her back to Lake Michigan one last time even if she was only able to sit in the car and look out at it.


At the end of the last post, I'd said I was going back to Lake Michigan and taking her in my memories, but that didn't happen due to 10 foot waves on the breakwater leading to the lighthouse in Benton Harbor, so that is going to happen next summer.



By time I got back, she was no longer conscious of anything going on around her.


And I'm angry. There was more we were going to do. More I wanted to ask her before she left us. Plans to share. I didn't think it would happen so soon after my trip. A lot of days she couldn't remember things and was very tired. But she would still go to my sister's for dinner. Still sit up and talk late into the night. And honestly I would have told the hospital personnel what they could do with themselves if I'd known it was my last visit with her because I'm sweet like that.


I can't wrap my head around the fact that I will never again pull into her drive way and have her come out with her walker and stand on the porch while we bring our stuff in. We'll never again sit up too late at night talking and looking at pictures. I'll never again send her pictures of her great grandchildren as they grow.


Life was not always easy with her while we were growing up. I understand now that it was the pressure of working too much and being a single parent. Of hoping the bills ran out before the money did. Of the loss of dreams. That's a biggie for all of us. I understand a lot now about the life she'd hoped for compared to the reality. I've lived through some of it myself.


Once she retired and had time to destress, she was different. She went to swim meets and 5K races with me. She came to see me in England, North Dakota, South Dakota and Okinawa. We went on a cruise together with my oldest two birth children. I'd hoped she could go again, but she had a broken hip that didn't heal well and shingles that wouldn't go away. So my older children shared Mount Rushmore and London with her, while the younger ones never knew her when she was able to travel.


It's Christmas Eve, and I feel alone, although I'm not alone. Well, right now I am because I'm the first one home from work, but the youngest three will all be home soon, and I think my oldest will be here for the night.


I wouldn't be spending Christmas with my mom anyway, but the loss is still there. And I don't know how to get past it.


My husband is still in the VA hospital in Augusta seven hours away. That is a whole 'nother blog post. And another discussion about the loss of dreams and big changes ahead.


It's been a hard year.


I might be smiling on the outside.


But I am most definitely crying inside.

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