Hi Honey, I Lost the Kid!

Imagine this view from 3 feet off the ground

Imagine this view from 3 feet off the ground

It happened, and what a nightmare.

We were flying from California to West Virginia with a 3 hour layover in Chicago. Our first time flying with our new baby. One mom, one low vision dad, one 4-year-old, and one 2 month old. Surely a recipe for disaster! The Chicago airport was crazy crowded, so we should have had a clue. Shoulda woulda coulda. We were all exhausted and delirious, running on 3 or so hours of sleep because of our super early flight out of SF.

It was mid-day our time, dinnertime Chicago time, so we ordered some food to go at the airport Chili’s restaurant. As we ordered, Gavin started melting down, trying to lay down on the airport floor, and then dragging his wheelie backpack over my exposed toes several times. I followed suit with my own meltdown, snapping at him instead of realizing he was too spun out to cope and only 4 years old.

Danny insisted we walk while waiting for our food, thinking Gavin just had to run off his spare energy. I stopped at a charging station to juice up my cell phone, craving a break from the wonky family dynamics. We agreed that they’d meet me back there in a few minutes. As I watched them walking away, Danny pushing a stroller and Gavin galloping alongside them, I was suddenly filled with foreboding. I yelled after them, to say something, to tell Gavin to wait with me or to remind him to stay next to his Daddy, I’m not sure. I didn’t get a chance to say anything because they were already swallowed up in the crowd.

Maybe 10 minutes later, my phone vibrated. I answered and Danny’s voice filled my ear, saying, “Gavin just took off.”

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you. I’ve lost Gavin for maybe 30 seconds before in a department store, but that simply did not compare. Huge airport, thousands of people, all kinds of people. And a little four-year-old wheeling a mini-backpack. I imagined the worst: someone grabbing him and him disappearing forever. I imagined a life without Gavin. I imagined that I surely would never be able to forgive Danny, or myself for that matter.

Mostly, I saw Gavin in my mind’s eye alone in this huge airport, and I felt how incredibly scared he must be. I saw the noisy chaos of the airport through his eyes, and remembered how small he is.

Danny retraced his steps towards me, thinking he probably headed back to me. When Danny arrived at my spot sans Gavin, I retraced their steps back to Smoothie World, yelling Gavin’s name. We of course informed customer service, and they started paging him to come to the customer service booth in Terminal 3, as if a 4-year-old would know what the hell that is.

As I wandered the terminal, I repeated in my head, “Please, please, please.” One simple word. And I remembered, strangely, a Mr. Rogers quote. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” I reminded myself there are more helpers than hurters. And surely one of them would grab him first. “Please.”

Eventually, maybe 15 minutes later, but I honestly have no idea, Danny called my cell and told me they were paging us. They had him at United customer service. Four men comforting my little boy. I sunk to my knees and opened my arms. He ran into them. His little face crumpling into tears and his small boy voice saying, “Mommy,” in relief will be forever etched into my brain.

I am so grateful for the helpers in this world. And for this lesson and this reminder. As we adjust to being a family with two little ones, I think I tend to forget how small Gavin still is. He looks so giant next to our newborn, and my expectations of him have skyrocketed. I think I’ve been thinking of him unconsciously as a mini-adult. And he is so not an adult. He is still in the magical, vulnerable time of early childhood, and I need to remember that. I need to remember him, to pay attention and glory in his everyday growth and discoveries.

Now instead of, “Please, please, please,” I am repeating, “Thank God, Thank God, Thank God!”

Do Expectations Ruin Relationships?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much it is fair to hold our friends and family to our own standards. On the one hand, it is a matter of self respect to expect certain qualities from those we love and choose to spend time with. On the other hand, who are we to say how other people should behave? They probably have a perfectly good reason for their behavior, and I don’t want to lose otherwise good friends because they disappoint me sometimes.

Of course, this topic is different when you look at family as opposed to friends. Take my brother, for example. I love him without end. He is horrible at returning calls or responding to invitations. Seriously, he is deeply faulted in this way. We never know if he is going to show up to family functions. Therefore, we can’t plan for him, we don’t know what he might bring to a potluck, and we don’t know if we should cook enough for him. It is incredibly annoying. It is actually quite disrespectful of him to not consider any of this. How hard exactly is it to pick up the phone, or send a quick text or email? If I think about it, I get pissed.

Thankfully, my sister helps me keep perspective on this. How? She gets extremely angry and vents about it to me leading up to almost every family gathering. She threatens to write him off completely. She is so vehement, in fact, that I find myself sticking up for him. And I find myself coming to the conclusion that I love him, he is my only brother, and I cannot change him, so I may as well accept him as is.

Is this codependent. Am I enabling his behavior? I don’t know. What I do know is that I enjoy the time that I spend with him, and I spend a lot less time being upset if I don’t expect him to function in ways in which he just seems somewhat handicapped.

Another example. I mentioned a friend who I felt really let me down in a recent post here. After we lived in the same town and were really close friends for about 10 years, she divorced her husband and moved an hour away. I didn’t expect our friendship to change because of these events, but boy was I wrong. She almost completely fell off the grid for quite a while, and has never since been available to me as she was before. I felt abandoned and took it really personally, so much that I considered writing her off, and wondered if she had ever been my friend at all.

When she did make time for me, she was often very distracted. When my mom died, I expected her to be there for me, as she had lost her dad a few years back. I expected she would empathize and understand what I needed. I expected wrong. She actually completely blew me off for months after my mom’s death. I was hurt and pissed, and really didn’t want anything to do with her for a while.

Then, I received a condolence card from another good friend in the mail about a month ago, which was also months after my mom’s death. I was pleasantly touched and surprised by this gesture, and it made me examine how i had no expectations of this friend to be there for me. I wondered why. It’s not that I consider the other friend a better friend; I actually feel very close to the one who sent me the card. The only difference is that we have never actually lived in the same town and been involved in one another’s lives on a day to day basis. It’s a different kind of relationship, I guess.

I also remembered that this friend had also lost a parent, and I had never even bothered to ask her the details about this loss. Granted, she lost her dad as a child, but this again gave me pause and made me wonder how good of a friend I am. Would I measure up to my own standards? And why do I hold some friends to higher standards? Do I really want to write off a great, old friend just because she isn’t meeting my expectations? Who am I to judge anyway?

I realized then that I need to move my first friend into another category of expectations, which is the category for friends who live out of town. We can go for months without speaking. I don’t expect them to check in regularly, but when we do get to spend time together, it is like no time has passed. This shift really helped.

Incidentally, this friend did recently contact me, and we spent a great afternoon together. A week later, a plant that she gave me a year ago bloomed with bright magenta flowers. The plant is very low-maintenance, yet incredibly rewarding with its bright and colorful display of vitality. Much like our friendship.

What standards do you hold for your friends and family? How accepting is too accepting for you? do you think it is fair and productive to have expectations of those close to you? Let me know; I really want to hear!

 

The Perfect Birth

Recently, I read this great lady’s birth story, and it inspired me to write my own. I had a natural birth, a home birth, something you hear very little about in this day and age. Some people think it’s a crazy thing to do, and can’t understand why anyone would choose this, since hospitals are so much “safer.” Me, I felt so much safer at home. Hospitals scare me. They are for sick people. Pregnancy and childbirth are not illnesses. It probably helps that I was born at home, caught by my father. Knowing my mom could do it gave me confidence that I can, too.

I want people to know that birth without medical intervention is possible. Not always. I have many friends who wanted natural childbirth, but circumstances didn’t allow it. I was blessed in this way, to not have any complications. I pray my next birth goes as well. I truly believe that it really, really helped to be in my own home surrounded by a team that completely supported me going at my own pace and reinforced the belief that my body knew exactly what to do. I also want to say that perfect does not mean effortless. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And also the most rewarding.

July 12, 2009:

My due date. I am scared and excited and so over the constant heartburn. My boyfriend, Danny insists that we buy a birthday cake to welcome the little bean. I go along with his idea, because…why not? We head to the local bakery, where he special orders a mocha cake. We stay in that night, watch a movie, and eat some cake. I go to bed late as usual, because I’m a night owl. I don’t go into labor. I didn’t expect to. It’s my first baby, and everyone is always talking about how first babies tend to come late.

July 13, 2009:

I awaken at 5 AM to cramps. I’ve been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for weeks, but this is the first pain I’ve felt. It feels like strong period cramps. I throw up and wake Danny to tell him I think I’m in early labor. I can’t get back to sleep. The cramps come every 10 minutes, last about one minute each time, and they are difficult to sit through. This pace remains steady all day. I watch a few movies, and try to keep my mind distracted. I remember my midwife’s advice, to try to go about my life normally and ignore early labor as much as possible, because it can last a long time. I don’t go for a walk. I don’t want to even leave the house. It is really difficult to ignore what’s happening, and I don’t feel in any condition to face the world. I throw up a couple more times this day. I am a puker, as my midwife says. I had morning sickness until halfway into my pregnancy, and continued to vomit sporadically throughout the remainder of it. My midwife warned me that women often throw up in early labor, and that it is important to keep myself hydrated and nourished. We call her at some point, and she urges me to eat. I eat turkey BLTs all day, because it’s the only thing I want and can stomach. When we call her again towards the end of the day, she tells me to soak in the tub and maybe drink a half of a glass of wine, so I can relax and sleep tonight, as the labor doesn’t seem to be picking up. I follow her advice and get to sleep around 11.

This first day of early labor is one of the hardest parts of labor for me. I feel like I am about to fall into a rabbit hole, and I can’t fight it, and have no idea where it is going to take me, except that it will be painful, very painful.

July 14, 2009:

I wake up at 4 in the morning to stronger contractions that are happening closer together. They are too strong to sleep. After suffering alone for a while, I wake up Danny and tell him I think it’s picking up. I sit on the yoga ball, and he works pressure points on my lower back through the contractions. It hurts. We are timing the contractions, and they are happening three to four minutes apart, lasting from 45 seconds to a minute. Sounds pretty active, right? Well, we think so, and call my midwife around 5 or 6 to let her know. I’m on the phone with her, describing what’s happening when I feel a contraction coming on. She says she’ll hold on until it’s over. I breathe through it silently, as I’ve been doing to manage the pain. When it’s over and I get back on the phone, she asks me if I had the phone on mute. I tell her no and she says, “You were kind of quiet. I didn’t hear any moaning or anything.” I tell her, yes, I was just breathing, and she replies, “You’re not in active labor yet. I know it’s hard, but try to get some more sleep and call me in a few hours.”

I am amazed and disillusioned. If this isn’t active labor, how bad is it going to get? I gather a mountain of pillows and lay in a kind of elevated child pose on top of  my bed. I keep breathing through the regular contractions. I actually manage to sleep for a few hours. Gradually, I find myself getting into a zone. I wake up for the contractions, breathe through them, and then go back to sleep until the next one. By 9 AM, I am on the floor of my room, with pillows, still in child pose, still sleeping between contractions, only now I am moaning a low hum and counting slowly through them, because they are definitely getting stronger. Danny keeps timing them, and checking on me. He suggests several times that we should call the midwife again, but now I don’t want to. I don’t want to see anyone or deal with anyone except for this. I am in it. I put him off again and again, fine to be on my own alternately sleeping and moaning through unbearable but transient pain.

My midwife calls me at 9:30, but I don’t pick up the phone until she calls again at 10:30. She needs to let her team know what to plan for the day. We let her know the labor does seem to be moving along. She listens to me through another contraction and agrees. She shows up at about noon, and checks my cervix. When she sticks her fingers in, I watch her face shift from resigned to hopeful to sure. She then tells me that I was only at 1.5 cm, but she was able to pop me open to 4 or 5 cm. She explained that often women may have scar tissue that slows the opening of the cervix, and a little bit of manual touch can help one to move past that. She told me my active labor had just begun, as I was now past 3 cm. I continue to disagree. It had been happening for hours!

From this point on, my memory is very general and a bit hazy. My explanation for this: endorphins. My good friend, Serina showed up soon after the midwife. She is an acupuncturist and masseuse, and she and Danny worked pressure points for pain through every one of my contractions. This didn’t take the pain away, not by a long shot, but it helped. I was groaning a low animal groan through the increasingly painful contractions. They were coming very regularly, and after every one, I would feel so much bliss that the pain had passed.

Let me talk for a minute about the pain. I cannot remember it on a physical level, because of the special powers of selective memory. I can tell you I have never felt anything like it before. In the pit of my core was a pain, a wrenching, a squeezing that was all-encompassing. It was amazing, this pain, and I was completely awed by it. The only saving grace of this pain, the only thing that made it bearable, was that it was transient. Also, my body found a way to deal with it. Endorphins do not numb pain, but they did put me in a trance-like space that got me through it.

My midwife Cindy checked me again, and said I was at 7 or 8 cm, moving right along. Throughout the active labor, I was sitting on a big leather chair under the window in our upstairs hallway. I seemed to not want to move from that position, nor was I able to tell anyone where I wanted to eventually birth. I could not think that far ahead. Eventually, we decided to move a futon to the floor in front of the chair, so I could birth there. Cindy’s first assistant showed up around this time, and we decided to call my sisters, who were planning to come, when it was time to start pushing.

Cindy asked me a couple of times if I was feeling the urge to push. She also said it seemed like I may be getting close because I was “a little less with them.” I suddenly did feel the urge to push, and Cindy said she would check my cervix. Just then, my water broke, onto the chuck pad and leather seat, and it was clear. The urge to push passed for a while, then, which Cindy said is normal after the water breaks.

At some point, my sisters and Cindy’s second assistant arrived. I was naked and surrounded by seven people, completely uninhibited. I could care less what anyone thought of me, which is funny, because I think this is one of the things I was most nervous about before I went into labor. I was afraid of losing control, afraid of where I would go and who i would become, and who would witness this. When the time came, I felt like the belle of the ball. All of these people were waiting on me, and I was this magically amazing birthing woman, as beautiful as I will ever be in my life.

Eventually, the urge to push came back. Cindy checked me again and found a little cervical lip. And the hardest part of labor began. Cindy tried to open my cervix while I pushed once, but my cervix tightened around her fingers, so she immediately backed off, and told me not to push anymore. I guess if you put too much pressure on the cervix before it is fully dilated, it can swell up and prevent the baby from passing. She then told me to go take a shower with Danny. In the shower, I got nauseous and threw up. Luckily, one of the assistants got there in time with a bowl! I got out of the shower and leaned on the bathroom counter.

This is when I got hit by one contraction after another, with no breaks. Complete hell. I wanted to crawl out of my body. I had a very visceral sense of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, squeezed so tight with no way out. There was no comfort, and I couldn’t do it, and it would never end. Then I was anguishing on my hands and knees on the bedroom floor. I remember Tiffany, one of the assistants, saying to me, “You’re almost there,” and I was thinking, “Screw you! I am never going to get there!” Something felt very wrong. This kind of sensation couldn’t be right.

Luckily, it was temporary, even though at the time it felt like forever.

They helped me back to the futon in the hallway, and I panted on my hands and knees to keep from pushing. Cindy kept saying she would check me again, but kept holding off. At some point, I yelled, “I’ve gotta push!” Cindy told me to let it happen if I couldn’t resist, so I did that for a couple of contractions, not actively pushing, but not resisting it either.

After what seemed like an eternity, Cindy had me roll on my back to check me again. She was happy to report that I was fully dilated and the baby’s head was RIGHT THERE! I laid partially reclined on my back, with Danny sitting behind me for support. I pushed for about 30-45 minutes; it took a while to get the hang of it. I had to learn to stop vocalizing and instead focus all of my energy down there. They propped up a mirror so I could see the head, and everyone around got really excited, and kept exclaiming about seeing him crowning, but I could care less, honestly. I just wanted him the fuck out of me.

Finally, I felt a sharp pain, as his head popped out, and tore me just a tiny bit. From there, it was smooth sailing. Cindy turned him so his shoulders slid out easily, and suddenly he was in my arms!

It was all worth it immediately. I fell in love with his little face, and could not stop saying, “He’s so cute!” I had been a little bit afraid to meet this little being growing inside of me. I’d never been comfortable with newborns, and was afraid I would feel weird with him, and that he would be blue and cone-headed and ugly. It was kind of like a little alien growing inside me. But that all changed the moment I saw him, completely. I was surprised that he was pink and his head was a normal shape and he was perfect. Complete bliss, as I have never felt before, oceans of love engulfed me.

And they have never left.

The placenta came out painlessly with the next contraction. Once this was complete, Cindy relaxed, and stated with satisfaction, “The perfect birth!” After I held our baby skin to skin and got him to latch on for a bit, they had me hand him off to Danny so they could sew up my small tear. They brought me food, which I ate ravenously, with the hunger of a starving animal. I had eaten very little all day (maybe some yogurt and ice chips basically), and if you’ve paid attention, had slept very little for days. I was famished and exhausted like never before.

My mom and stepdad came over after I was sewn up and showered. We weighed the baby, and then celebrated with champagne and the rest of the birthday mocha cake. Gradually, everyone left, and Danny and I were alone in the house with this tiny little being. And then the real adventure began…

Gavin, 3 days old

Gavin, 3 days old

 

No More Time to Bide Time

I have exceptionally good news: I just passed my second licensing exam. which means that I am now a licensed clinical social worker! 

This means I can immediately get a raise in my current job, but what it really means is that I can gradually LEAVE my current job and move into private practice. This is a huge deal, because I have been working towards this since forever ago. There was the undergraduate degree, then the graduate degree, then the 3200 supervised hours to collect, then the pre-licensure coursework, then the mountain of paperwork to apply as a candidate for the tests, then the months of intensive studying and the ocean of anxiety that I almost drowned in while prepping for the first test, then a repeat for the second test. Needless to say, I am giving myself a huge pat on the back right now.

Being done with this process though, brings me back to another part of my life that I have been studiously avoiding for, say, the last nine months. That part would be the question of trying for another child.

As soon as I gave birth to my son, I decided I wanted to do it again. I loved the birthing process, the unbelievably soft skin of my newborn and the surprising fierceness of my immediate love for him. Each time I have ever asked my now almost 4-year-old son if he’d like a little brother or sister, his answer is an enthusiastic yes. My husband, a little less enthusiastic, but he’s willing to give it a go.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know about the miscarriages I experienced last year, as well as the partial molar pregnancy that shook me to my core. After all this, I wondered if I had the courage to try to get pregnant again. After mulling it over for a while, I decided to focus on getting this licensing process out of the way, and then try one more time.

The time is here to try. I am standing at the edge of a precipice, and I am suddenly unsure about taking the next step. Fear and grief blind me from seeing the answer when I ask myself and God if another child is in the cards for me. I am so afraid to try again and I am terrified to hope for this. Forget believing in it. 

And then I take a step back and loosen my white-knuckled grip. And maybe I am starting to get some perspective here. The thing is, what this all comes down to is lack of control. I can attempt to get pregnant. I can take care of my body and do all those things one can do to encourage fertility, but that’s it. Beyond that, it’s fate, God’s will, or a roll of the dice; whichever you believe in. I can only do what I can do, and then it is out of my hands. And I need to be OK with that. I just need to be okay. 

To be all right with grief. To know I may get pregnant and fall in love with the teeny life inside of me, and then it may stop growing. And this might happen right around the time my mom decides to go, because my mom now has hospice in her life, so it won’t be long now.  So one way or another, grief is going to get me.

I think I might be okay, because the thing is that the wheel turns and we eventually lose everything in life. That is the human experience, to believe in the illusion that anything is ours to have to lose in the first place.

Here I am at the precipice. And the time is now or never. I think I can be courageous now. I can stand with my hands open and empty. Gaze into the infinite. Breathe…and take that last step into the abyss. 

Bedtimes conversations with a preschooler

Gavin: Mommy, where did you live when you were a kid?

Me: I lived in a house in a place called Indiana.

Gavin: Ok (nods head knowingly).

Me: I lived with my mom, who is your grandma, and my dad, who is pop-pop, and my sisters and my brother. Then, we all grew up and we don’t live together anymore. But we do get together for holidays and birthdays.

Gavin: Mommy, but you will always be my mom.

Me: Yes.

Gavin: And I will always live with you.

Me: Well, when you grow up, you might want to move out. A lot of people do when they grow up.

Gavin: Ok, I will…but where will Daddy live?

Me: He’ll live with me.

Gavin: I will stay and live with you and Daddy forever (smile).

My mom is dying of Alzheimer’s

She was diagnosed six years ago, at the age of 62. It started with having problems filling out her charting at the rehab center where she worked as an occupational therapist. Her boss asked my stepdad if something was wrong with her, and the diagnostic process began. I attended the appointment with the cognitive psychologist. He led her through a battery of tests, including one where he asked her to do things like, “Touch your right hand to your left elbow.” By this time, she was already unable to follow the command. I went numb as the nice psychologist reported that she had “probable Alzheimer’s,” and then suggested that we get busy with Power of Attorney, advanced directives, and so on.

She went quite downhill quickly after the diagnosis. Something happened with her balance, and she started falling at times (later, we found out that the falls were linked to low blood pressure, and they disappeared with licorice). She drew inward, and more frail. Then, she stabilized.

I was scared as hell. It is hard to describe the feeling of impending loss of a parent. Can anyone help me here? It was as if my security, my solid base was ripped out from beneath me, leaving a big, gaping hole of nothingness…the void. I spent time with her that spring, recording an oral history. She was forgetting some things, but could still remember a lot. She drove for a few more years, until she was refused a renewal due to her diagnosis.

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Here she is in the earlier days, with her ever adoring husband.

You will see that in every picture I post, my stepdad Charles is by her side. He has been an amazingly devoted caregiver, an angel in the form of a man. They married in 1994, and had 12 happy years together before my mom’s diagnosis. Day by day, he has survived and taken into stride each gradual loss.

It hurts me to know that my son will not remember his grandma. He loves her now, and isn’t even fazed by the fact that she often scolds him. It’s funny, but the only coherent things I have heard her say anytime lately are things like, “No, little guy, let’s not do that,” and, “Let’s be quiet little guy.”

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This was 2.5 years ago. My mom appreciating her grandson.

My mom and stepdad came to my house hours after the birth of my son. We had champagne and cake to celebrate. This was three years into my mom’s Alzheimer’s. She was glowing and exuberant about meeting her grandson, and she sat next to me on the bed, stroking his cheek while he breastfed. At one point, she turned to me and asked, “Who’s this little guy?”

Over those next few months, we did a lot of hiking with my mom and stepdad. We would put Gavin in the carrier, and take long walks through the hills outside of the city. Really good times. Superb memories. Eventually, my mom stopped being comfortable climbing steep hills. She started to lean over as if to crawl. Then, any kind of ground that was not completely smooth and level became too much, so hikes were out, but we still took nice walks around the neighborhood. The walks became shorter and shorter. As of this week, my mom can no longer walk.

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Hikes in the hills and trees

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We had fun.

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 In the last year, the disease has progressed to advances stages. She is completely dependent on diapers now, and her leg muscles have atrophied. She can still talk, but very rarely makes any sense at all, and her words are starting to slur at times. A couple of weeks ago, she came down with a stomach flu, and grew weaker. Though the stomach flu resolved itself, the weakness did not. Charles ordered a wheelchair this week, and they are now getting visits from home nurses, health aids, and a social worker.

My mom stopped eating solid foods a few days ago, and is not drinking a whole lot either. Charles insists that she is giving up, and I believe him. She has been talking for a long time about not wanting to live anymore. She is skin and bones. A week ago, she was walking, though somewhat off balance. Three days ago, she was sitting on the edge of her bed, trying with all of her might to stand up. Her legs eventually gave out, and her body slid from the bed to the floor. Today, she is not even sitting up, and spends the day drifting in and out of consciousness.

Her eyes are usually glazed over and dull, except for those moments when she visits this world, and gifts me with a smile and loving gaze. Her cheeks are sunken in and her jowls hang limply. Moods pass over her face like weather in the tropics. For a moment, she smiles. A moment later, she tears up with a look of devastation. Then she gets agitated and defensive (although that is coming less and less with a weakening of her strength). It is only a matter of time now.

I feel incredibly grateful that my family is in agreement not to prolong her life by artificial means (feeding machines, antibiotics, etc.). We are staring down the bullet hole of her death, and are supporting one another. I am hopeful and terrified about my mom dying. Hopeful, because it will mean an end to her suffering, and an end to the immense burden on my stepdad (though he consistently claims to undertake it joyfully). Terrified, because it means I will no longer see her smiling face, hear her voice, or see the light in her eyes. I know the grief will overwhelm me when the reality of her being physically gone hits me. I think I will miss her voice most of all.

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This is how I will remember my mom, laughing.

I think losing a parent is like any major rite of passage into the unknown. Before it happens, you cannot even imagine it. You don’t even let your mind go there out of fear. Over time though, you get more and more used to the idea. Like labor, it builds up, until you get closer and closer to the edge of that cliff. It is so painful, but not more than you can bear, and the progression feels natural, like there is no other way. It is all as it should be. Just surrender, and trust. I felt this way when my son was coming into the world. Now, I feel this way as my mom is exiting. Hopefully, I will feel a similar peace when it is my turn to cross to the other side, as well.

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