Claws of my Heart

My heart – or better a part of my heart –  has been so tight in recent months, caught in anger that it wasn’t able to process any other feelings. Anger towards a disease science has yet to find a cure for; anger at the person having said illness. It’s been almost six months since Mom’s passing away and only now am I finally feeling the grip of that anger lessen, making it not easier but harder to remember her.

In the last year, I started hating her, yes, actually hating my own mother; hating her for getting sick and being an impossible patient; for making my life miserable and hard; but mostly for reversing our roles. It was all so messed up, I was trying to hold myself together as best as I could while trying to take her to all those doctor’s appointments, making sure she took her meds, ate, didn’t burn down the house, had enough money in her bank account. Those were not my responsibilities, they were hers, she was the mother but I was taking care of her. And I hated it. As her cancer progressed, so did my hatred for her until she died and I was relieved of the never-ending worries of how and when. I was actually glad.

It meant that I could finally breathe again, lick my wounds and start to heal. The months before, I was barely holding on, I was overwhelmed with everything, mostly because I didn’t see it ever changing. A sea of misery and I was in the middle of it, holding on to the smallest piece of wood possible while wave after wave was trying to swallow me whole. I am not sorry for hating her as I know I didn’t hate the actual person but the character her cancer turned her into but it has taken me all these months to actually – finally – miss her because I was still so caught up in my anger.

Now the memories of “patient mom” are fading away and instead the “just mom” sentiments are resurfacing. This sweet, lovely woman that was always trying to give me everything I could possibly want and I am finally missing her. Only, it hurts! FEELINGS ARE THE WORST!

This realisation dawned upon on me earlier today as I was at the university when the thought of a Mom-hug popped into my head out of the blue. I didn’t want a hug but just remembering that I will never be hugged like that again made my eyes fill with tears. Mom-hugs are these special kind of hugs that are filled with unconditional love and an edge of everything-will-turn-out-right-in-the-end that only a parent, but especially a mother, can give. Stupid feelings, I couldn’t start ugly sobbing right then and there in an office with 4 guys. I tried to push those emotions back down but was not successful at it. So I left earlier than I had planned for today because I needed to process these feelings. Holding stuff back only comes back to bite one in the ass and I was not gonna do that. This is me processing because I have feelings and I don’t know where to put them – so I write them down. My answer to everything. Keep on writing.

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  • Feelings are the worst. And they always pop up at the most inopportune times. I’m glad you’re finally grieving; I know you couldn’t really, at first, just because of all the other emotions. It’ll probably never go away completely, there will always be those random memories that surface at random moments… but it will get easier… or so I’ve always heard.

    • I don’t expect it to go away completely. It’s a good thing though and it’s not like I’m grieving as if she just died. Just more bittersweet.

  • It must have been so tough on you. I spend my weekend with one of my girlfriends that went through the same as you, but her mother was staying at a care home after a bad stroke, she couldn’t walk or talk … my girlfriend spent so much time with her mum .. she took her out … looked after her that she got the right care and … fight for her mums existence. She said the same that after her mums death she felt relief and she didn’t cry, because she had cried so much through the years she was sick. My friend adored her mum.
    And I can connect with what you two are saying. I hope you don’t feel guilty for that you felt relieved over your mother’s death. You did all you could for her.

    • I don’t feel guilty, it’s been a tough time. Your friend’s story sounds too familiar. Hope she is doing well these days.

      • Thanks, Maja is fine and I think she has been since her mum passed away. We talked a lot about last weekend and she has a great view of her life without her mum. I’m happy over you don’t live with guilt.

        • Life is too short for regrets like that.

  • Feelings really are the worst. *hugs*

  • (Aaaaaand now I’ve commented multiple times because WordPress is being a bitch and telling me it hasn’t posted my comments when it actually has. Awesome…)

    • I deleted one comment, and yes, WP sometimes is a bitch.

  • This post could have easily been written by me. It gets more complicated for a bit and then becomes really simple. And yes, writing is what will heal…I know it did for me.

    • It does for me too. Nothing’s real and out of my head until it’s written down in one for or another.

  • rmiles

    Oh, what the hell, a big hug to you anyway! Reversing the mother/daughter roles is never easy, no matter how old you are at the time. For me personally, and after many months of the role reversal, I realized how strong of a person I am. When I look back on all I had to do and deal with, as I’m sure you can do as well, I’m amazed at myself. . .no really, I’m not one to pat myself on the back but I never knew how grown-up/adult/strong whatever you want to call it, I am. Knowing this helps me during the not so nice present day experiences. I know I will survive, I’ve been through much worse and came out a better stronger human being. While reading your post, I kept thinking about the book I’m currently reading. I know you’re an avid reader so I thought I would pass it along. “Living Deeply: The Art & Science of Transformation in Everyday Life” by M.M. Schlitz, Ph.D., C. Vieten, Ph.D. and T. Amorok, Psy.D.
    Like with so many other things, it will get better, I promise. Peace.

    • You are comepletely right, I am strong and I know it (unless I’m high on hormones and everything sucks like above). Sometimes I amaze myself. I don’t know how I got through last year but I did anyway. And it’s a huge and important thing to know, I can get through almost everything and it makes me a better person because I can look back at what I overcame even though I didn’t think it possible.

      I will take a look at that book, even though I’m usually a fiction reader ;-)

  • I want to just copy that whole post and put it on my blog. It is exactly how I feel about my grief. I was never angry at dad, just so angry at the cancer. I am struggling everyday not to cry at work, in the grocery store, anywhere really. It sneaks up on you so quickly and then won’t go away. I get a headache everyday from holding in the crying. I finally made an appointment with a therapist. I need help working through this. Not necessarily his death, but the 9 days leading up to it. Watching him die was horrible. I am glad I was there. I am glad I helped. But I can’t stop thinking about it. I just want to feel semi normal again. I don’t want to be sad anymore. I agree that writing is so helpful. I am struggling with that right now too, it makes me cry. Don’t we run out of tears eventually?

    Come to the States and lets have lunch!!!

    Hugs and much love to you!
    Heather

    • I think it’s good you’re seeking help. I once ran out of tears but they returned so, no, it won’t ever really stop. Just the waves of sadness get smaller and wider apart as time progresses. I’ve had more time with Mum and her disease as you had with your Dad. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Days like that from above are rare for me. I’ve still cried far less after her death than in the months before.

      I actually blame my period for this post as it made me a hormonal idiot for a day or two. I so wish I could do something for you but I’m too far away to have lunch with you :-) even though I’d like to very much.

      Hugs and much, much love to you! As someone recently told me, it gets better! It does.

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