Seeing my mom this weekend was harder than ever. Her depression about dying is very evident now. She readily admits that she is tired and just wants to quit. At times you can see utter defeat and despair on her face. My father remains steadfast and dependable, he has been by her side every step of the way through out this cancer, and I know he will stay with her through the end. My respect for him has grown anew watching how gentle, loving, and caring he is towards his wife of 45 years.
Being there is good and difficult at the same time. Arriving means I have to leave too, and I know that goodbyes are hard for my mom. She has had lots of visitors in the past few weeks, including her brother and sister. Both left knowing that their goodbye was the last time they’d see her in person. As much as I want to see here every weekend now, I think waiting a couple of weeks is better. The trip is physically and emotionally tiring for me, and I know it leaves my mom depressed when I have to leave. I think is is helpful for my dad to have me there as he can talk about what he’s been through. As my mom retreats farther into her depression he is getting less and less of her. I know that he struggles with wanting to honor her wishes and being stymied with her lack of interest, and lack of verbal expression.
As for myself I am very depressed this evening. Knowing that two or three weeks maybe more time than my mom has, and contemplating not returning there for at least two weeks is very difficult. I know that I am walking a thin line between taking care of myself by seeing her, and taking care of myself by staying away. I think I am content with the efforts I’ve made to see her and talk to her. As she becomes less involved in the world around her I will get less and less from seeing her. With the memories of Michele’s death indelibly imprinted on my mind, I have to be careful about adding too many images of my mother’s decline to the mix.
Finally I am depressed today since it is my birthday, and the first birthday without Michele in ten years. She always made an effort to make me feel special on my day, and I miss that terribly tonight. There was no party this year. I made my own cake. I got one card with a generous gift from my parents, and not even a phone call from my brother. Two of my best friends did call, however, and that cheered me up a little.
Now I think I’ll go cry myself to sleep.