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~ No Regrets ~

March 10, 2011

It seems worse at night.   My thoughts, I mean.  When I finally crawl into bed with just the thought of sleep in my brain, my brain decides to wake up and spin in hundreds of different directions.   I try to think about my run the following morning and what it will feel like.  I try to think about all the good things that are happening.   I really try.   But my thoughts go right back to my mama.   Sometimes, I just think about how much I miss her.  Sometimes, I think about how soft her hand felt when I held it.   But mostly, I go over in my head her last days.   I don’t understand why I do this.   Why am I wanting to relive it in my brain every night?   I don’t get it.

It’s not as if my mama’s last days were particularly dreadful.   On the contrary.   The thing is, I never actually watched a person go through the death process, let alone my precious mama.   So, while not so dreadful for her, which is an odd thing to say too, it was kind of alarming for me.   I did lots of research on what she would be going through and followed each stage with trepidation.   Not to be too morbid or anything, but the human body is pretty amazing.  It knows things you are not really aware of.   It prepares you for every single thing that you go through in your life.    Here is a little excerpt that I wrote on dailymile:

I know that most of you know already, but I want to share with you:
Mama passed peacefully last night at 8.15pm. I want to tell you this story.

I was with her all day long, holding her hand, stroking her hair and face and telling her how much I love her and how proud I was of her. I also told her, mama it’s ok, I will be alright. At 7pm I left to get something to eat and run to the store for milk. At 7.55pm hospice called me and told me to come back quickly. I got there as soon as I could. Mom passed 5 minutes before I got back.

I went in and held her. She looked peaceful like a beautiful angel. I kissed her forehead, held her hand, put my head on her chest and hugged her. I then left the room to call my sister. I know this much: my mama held on all day because she knew I was there and her last gift to me was to hold on until I left and then she let go. I believe this. She was that unselfish. She was that giving. If I can be the kind of giving caring person she was, I will live up to that always.

Every single nurse, doctor and anybody else who came in contact with my mama, loved her. Just loved her. She blew kisses to everybody. She never once complained. She lived her life to the end with dignity. I miss her so so much. My heart hearts.

I think for right now, this is all I want to share about her last days.   Perhaps, in the future I will blog more about how amazingly brave and courageous she was.  Perhaps.   Or maybe I will tell you how funny she was even when she was in the hospital and was having to endure test after test.   I’m pretty sure she didn’t complain once.  Oh wait, yes she did.   One day when I arrived she was sitting up she looked at me and said  “I was waiting for you”  Did you at least have lunch?”   No?  Alright thats not quite a complaint.  More like a mom concerned if her child ate.    Even when she could not eat.   Even when she wanted to eat, but knew she couldn’t swallow because it caused her to aspirate.   I hated that part so much.

There were many many times I couldn’t do things.   I missed many races and runs and meet ups.   But, I was right where I wanted and needed to be.   It was such an enormous pleasure to take care of my mama.  She struggled and I helped her lessen the struggle.   I made her laugh and I know she laughed at my lame jokes even when they weren’t really funny.   She had physical therapy and after the PT left she always repeated the exercises to show me she can do it.   Even in the hospital when she took a few steps with the walker she was so proud.   I was so proud.

There is such a huge void in my life now.  It is exactly 17 days since my mama has passed away.   There has not been 1 day where I haven’t thought about her or had a reminder of her in some small way.

The support and friendship I was given throughout and after has been nothing short of a miracle for me.  I truly don’t think I could have survived all of this without all of you.   Just thanking you all doesn’t seem enough.   Yet, that is all I can offer you.   So thank you.  Thank you for being there.  Thank you for the food platter.  Thank you for listening.  Thank you for the plant, flowers, love, cards, laughter.  Thank you for listening to me vent.   Thanks for making me laugh and cry too.

This post was going to be a bit about my running, but I think I will save that for the next post.   Yes.   I will do that.

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2011 7:37 pm

    My thoughts and prayers Miss Joy, my thoughts and prayers. Sending love.

  2. Ted permalink
    March 11, 2011 12:50 am

    Michelle… You are in my thought and prayer. I wanted to thank you for sharing this with us. I cannot tell you how important it is to keep the spirit alive by sharing your memories with us. This is critically important. Your mother is now in a better place than ever. She will always look down at you from heaven. We will always be here to listen to you. Stay strong and cherish the moment of wonderful reflection of your mother.


  3. March 11, 2011 1:30 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your mom. I hope that you find with your running that you can dedicate your runs and races to her and find comfort in that.

  4. March 11, 2011 2:12 am

    Sorry to hear about your mom. THis post made my eyes tear as i went through the same thing with my dad 5yrs ago. Watching someone you love just go like that little by little has to be the worst thing in life. Its great that you got to spend the time you did with her. And you’re right, she waited for you to leave… Mom’s are the best and always selfless! Stay strong and continue to remember the good things! God Bless you and your family!

  5. March 11, 2011 2:28 am

    It’s my prayer that in time, the grief of your loss will be replaced with happy memories. *hugs*

  6. March 11, 2011 1:59 pm

    i have been thinking of you lots recently. i’m glad you are doing well and i hope you continue to work through things whether with friends/family or here on the blog! your mom was an amazing woman and i know you will carry on those traits.

  7. March 11, 2011 6:47 pm

    {hugs} runnergurrl… you must be so proud of your mamma. I know I am. you know where to find me…

  8. Kate permalink
    March 12, 2011 2:09 am

    It is truly amazing what we can do as humans. All I’ll say is my grandfather passed in precisely the same peaceful, unassuming way in hospice as your mama. I miss his funny notes and great phone calls. Maybe they’re chatting with each other in the next life. Hang in there and keep running!

  9. March 13, 2011 3:13 am

    Michelle, I am so happy I know you. You are a beautiful person. I wish you did not have to go through the pain of mourning but you know what? Your grief makes you beautiful because it shows the depth of your love. Your mother will always be a part of you. I am grateful for your mom because she gave you to the world. You will move forward and one day your happiness and peace will outweight your sadness. Don’t rush the process, just live it.

  10. March 16, 2011 3:58 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    Haven’t been on Twitter for the last few weeks but just wanted to say I hope you’re holding up OK. This is a lovely post and I’m glad you were able to spend so much time with your Mom in her last days and weeks, even though it must have been tough at times.

    Hope to see you sometime soon at a race– I may be watching/cheering the NYC Half this weekend, and will run the Brooklyn Half.

    Hope you’re doing alright… hang in there.
    –Dave (BuckyKatt)

  11. April 7, 2011 9:55 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You are such a wonderful daughter. Your mom sounds so wonderful and beautiful. I’m thinking of you.


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