The link above takes you to a page that lists the five stages of grief, what they are, and how they help you deal with loss. I’ve always imagined that when the situation called for it, and I had to go through them, it would be sequential, experiencing each one in turn. So far, that has not been my experience. I feel up until now I’ve been experiencing stage one (denial) and stage three (bargaining) simultaneously.
I say up until now, because things changed last night. While getting ready for bed, I did what I always seem to do since my mother passes away: I was mentally going through her final days. While trying to recall the last time she really communicated with my father and I, I settled on Thursday, March 27th (my father’s 66th birthday). While it is true that she spoke on Sunday, March 30th, she did not address us, nor even look at us. In fact, she was mouthing words when my father and I came back from lunch. (The nurses needed to clean her up so we went to the cafeteria.)
Now, that in itself is not unusual, my recalling that particular of my mother’s final days that is. The thought process that occurred after that, however, was. I thought to myself that she was with us on March 27th, asking about my father’s birthday present that she wanted me to order from Target for her, and voicing her fear of the surgery she was to have that day. (They needed to drain the blood that was collecting in her leg.) After realizing that she was “with us” that Thursday, I then realized that she never came back to us. She never seemed to acknowledge our presence, nor did she mouth anything to us. (I say to us as Sunday, March 30th, she was definitely not speaking to us, but rather just speaking, or should I say mouthing words.)
It may just seem like semantics, but that’s when it hit me. She never came back to us. She’s not with us anymore. She’s gone. Sure we may have her remains in an urn, but she never came back to us. Stage one ended, and stage two (anger) hit in. I was so angry last night that it hurt. Why didn’t she come back to us? Why? It wasn’t fair, and it hurt like a son of a bitch. I cried myself to sleep last night, feeling angry, hurt, and for the first time, the full weight of my mother’s passing. I awoke today feeling much more calm, but who knows when that will change?
So, I end this post with the same words I thought while I held my mother’s hand as she passed on. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the things I did do, and all the things I didn’t do. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I’m sorry for it all. Most of all I’m sorry for not being a better daughter. A better daughter would have saved you.