Friday, February 19, 2010

To Lose Someone So Dear

From Cheap Wine and Cookies

My best friend of almost 22 years, NotDonna, lost her mom, MMom, Friday night. She had been battling cancer for many months. NotDonna had stayed by her side, caring for her almost continuously for the vast majority of that time. Towards the end, NotDonna was the only person from whom MMom would take her medicines (which were required on an hourly basis). I have known NotDonna for going on 22 years, and she has been very close to her mom the entire time. These last few months have been unbelievably hard on her. Not just watching this amazing woman, such a significant part of her life, struggle and slip away, but being responsible for her care. Seeing the pain. Being, at times, completely unable to offer relief. Supporting and making decisions for her teenage sister in the midst of all this. And functioning in this environment on little to know sleep this whole time. She has been amazingly strong. Pushed beyond what any person would consider to be the reasonable bounds of emotional strength. I have seen some of her close friends and loved ones abandon her during all this, and I have ached with a need to help her, to support her, to ease a pain that no one can touch. I wanted to be there with her. To help. To care for her. To care for MMom.

Because I have also known MMom for most of my life. I called her Mom. She called me daughter. I can’t even wrap my brain around Fourth of July without her. I realized yesterday, and couldn’t stop thinking about how MMom is Sand Lake (my old hometown) to me. It’s almost like the whole town is empty now. Because NotDonna doesn’t live there. She moved away years ago. MMom’s house was a place to go back to. I can’t think of any visit that I’ve made in the 10 years since I moved out of MI that I have visited my parents and not MMom. I’m sure there have been one or two misses, but they were rare.

There is just this emptiness now. This hole.

I remind myself that she was a wonderful, amazing woman. Every memory I have of her is of her laughing and joking around. She had a hilarious biting, sarcastic sense of humor that couldn’t be contained. She was the central, anchoring force of a huge family. She has 6 kids (plus 4 spouses/fiances) and 9 grandkids (and counting). Who knows how many pseudo-kids like me. And dozens of friends. Her home was always busy and welcoming. There were always people around, always kids around. And good food. I can’t get the image of her 4th of July berry cheesecake out of my head. I’m not sure why I’ve fixated on 4th of July; I feel like that doesn’t even come close to encapsulating what MMom meant to me and everyone in her life. She was so vibrant and beautiful. She had so much life in her. Too much for this.

I can’t imagine what NotDonna is going through. I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around it. After all these months of pain and struggle, and it’s only just beginning. If I can’t imagine life without MMom, what is NotDonna supposed to do? And how can I possibly help her? I can’t even be there right now.

My life was better for having had MMom in it, and her loss will be felt for years to come. I will always remember her and treasure her the times I had with her.

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