I'm living close to the pulse now...feeling the adrenaline rush through my body, causing my hands to shake. I'm hyper-sensitive to every nuance, and I feel a stinging poignancy from even the smallest things. A pause when someone is speaking to me. The sadness in a stranger's eyes. The hairs on my arms are tingling with the anticipation of yet another tragedy...and time is passing very slowly.
My mom passed away 3 weeks ago today, and I am filled with sadness. We didn't always have a good relationship. She was volatile and belligerent throughout most of my childhood, and I spent a significant amount of my time hidden in a closet to avoid her screaming and nagging. I didn't realize just how unhappy she was - I was too young to understand. All I knew was to duck and cover, because when she blew you wanted to get out of the way.
Mom had a tough life. Polio when she was four...which left her hand and back crippled. Her parents divorced when she was eight, something that was uncommon in the 1930's. She was sent away to boarding school and was very lonely for most of her life. Mom was extremely unhappy in her marriage and had to contend with a husband who kept a job for less than 6 months on average and the resulting poverty. Her cousin - who was like a sister - passed away when she was 42 from lung cancer. Her best friend passed away 6 years later from breast cancer. One daughter was diabetic, blind and passed away while she was still living. And she was diagnosed with chronic liver disease 15 years ago and went out of her mind from worry and fear.
I miss mom desperately and frequently pray for a Do-Over. "Let me try harder. Let me get her to the doctor sooner. Let me discover my compassion sooner. Let me crawl into her bed and hold her...which I was afraid to do at the time. Let me tell her that I love her one more time. Please, please let me save her."
I know that there will be no Do-Over and that I will have to live with all that happened. I wasn't able to save her then, and I most probably couldn't save her now. I'll have to accept the memories of the numerous hospital visits, the confusion around the dozen-or-so prescription meds that she took, the inconsistent advice given by the doctors, and my misguided belief that she was going to rally.
This experience has made me realize how unhappy I have been and that I need to change things now...because time on this earth is limited.
1. I will no longer devote my life to my job.
2. I will no longer work so hard that I have zero energy left for my family.
3. I will no longer work so many hours that I have to sleep all weekend to recuperate.
4. I choose to stop kvetching about life.
5. I choose to become stronger from these experiences...to strengthen my health and mind.
6. I choose to be active again...and vibrant...and happy.
7. I choose to try new things and rediscover hope.
8. I choose to get involved, help others, and stay in touch with those I love.
9. I choose to appreciate life more and eagerly embrace the lessons...rather than be crippled by them.