Missing Mom

When you are feeling just a little under the weather or downright sick, we all want our moms at those times. I’m just like everyone else in that respect and in the last few days it has been extra difficult. You see, a year ago my mom has her stroke and was in the hospital. I am reminded each day where I was and how she was doing this time last year. To top that off, I’ve been feeling under the weather enough to warrant mom care. But if you follow my blog, you know that won’t be happening anymore.

I am still grieving over the loss of my mom as we near the one year anniversary of her death. I still have another month to go but this is the really hard month, as I sort of relive all those memories of last year. I spent all my days in the hospital with her. I spent my time talking to her, praying with her and for her and finally realizing that her life here was at it’s end. 

Simply stated, last year sucked and I don’t want to relive it, but I am reliving it in a way, but nearly as an outsider looking in. I have a different perspective this time as I know the outcome. I still cry unbidden. I still speak to her as though she can hear me. I still wait to hear her voice sometimes, but it never comes. 

I still see her in my dreams sometimes. I thank God for those dreams. I recently had the best dream of my life. I was in my mom’s kitchen and she was making dinner. I could smell the potatoes cooking. Such a realistic dream. Mom where she always was, doing what she did so well. I could smell her even though I could not touch her. I was home. It’s a home I will never quite have again even though I gratefully have my dad and he lives in the house. I no longer have mom. Mom made it home.

I know many people understand the loss of one’s mom. This is my journey and I share it with you because that is who I am. We get only one mom in life. I did anyway. One fabulous and incredibly wonderful mom. I miss her each and every day. I will go on missing her as I don’t think we ever truly get over the death of our mother. They make us who we are and shape us into the people we become as adults.

The Grieving Nearly Nine Year Old

IMG_1053.JPGAnd so after all these months, it takes the death of a hamster and a baby squirrel to get my son to finally grieve and cry for his grandma.  November 25th, my mother passed away and heaven gained an incredibly bright and vivacious angel.  She had a stroke 5 weeks earlier and was doing better, initially beating the odds as she so often did, but then something happened and that changed the course of her life and ours irrevocably.Most of us have accepted this but my nearly 9 year old son, not so much.

Liam wouldn’t cry in front of anyone.  It’s not to say that he didn’t cry, but he wouldn’t cry in front of anyone.  It’s as though in that quick blink of an eye, my little boy was trying so hard to be strong for me.  He hated to see me sad and crying, and I was sad and crying a lot.  She was my mom and learning how to live life without my mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m still learning.  But for Liam, without anyone telling him, he wanted to be strong for me.

There were things he would suddenly not do.  He didn’t want me to look at the cemetery as we passed by every hockey day.  He said, “mom, don’t look over there, please.  I don’t want you to be sad or cry.” He knows exactly where mom is buried. Once he saw that I didn’t cry or make us trot over there, he felt more comfortable with me driving him to hockey. Thank God for the small miracles.

He didn’t want me to watch sad things in case I would be sad and cry.  Instead, he wanted to play video games where he could fight and do damage to things, or drive super fast and have cool cars, or just play the mind-numbing Mine Craft that all the kids his age play.

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I felt like I had lost my sweet, caring, concerned little boy.  Apparently, I didn’t.  Of this, I am so grateful.  He still snuggles with me.  He still has a big heart.  How big I didn’t know until we got the sickly hamster and the sickly baby squirrel, Bandit and Felix.  We lost both of these little creatures within a day of each other and Liam was distraught.

He talked about his grandma for the very first time since losing her.  The very first time!  He told me how he still hurts so much and it’s just so hard to go to her house to see grandpa because she isn’t there.  He told me it’s hard to go to church because she was always there  He cried without abandon.  Tears streaming and face buried deep in my lap, the tears kept coming.  We cuddled and talked for a very long time.  We talked about grandma, about grief, about the animals, about why God takes grandmas and baby animals home to heaven.  We talked about everything.

I reminded him that God has a plan for all of us and a lot of the time, we don’t understand what that plan is for any of us.  That it is okay not to understand because it’s God’s plan and He knows best.  It does make us very sad, but in heaven, no one is sick.  Our animal friends will be healthy and happy.  They will be greeted by grandma who will feed them and care for them like she always did with all the little creatures here.  As for Grandma, it was her time to go to the glory of heaven and be young and free and healthy.  Here, she was sick and wasn’t going to be the healthy, independent grandma she had always been before her stroke.  God knew that in her heart, she didn’t want to have to be dependent so he ushered her through to heaven, where she can be with all the angels and saints.  She can watch over us and pray for us to keep us safe.  Now, she always with us.

This long chat seemed to help, but every time we talked about grandma, he cried.  Oh, he cried. I reminded him of all the good things we have here.  I reminded him how much grandpa misses his favorite boy.  My poor, sweet, little boy got up from cuddling, looked at his dad and said, “let’s go lay down, dad”. Within minutes, this little boy, in the throes of grief, was fast asleep.

20150722_122453It’s taken all these months for him to acknowledge his grandma’s death but I’m proud of him for doing it at last, in his own time.  I wish, ever so much that I could take away his pain, that the hamster and the baby squirrel didn’t have to die to bring this about.  Whatever the case, you can’t change the past, you can’t change the future, but you can hold the present tightly in your arms and tell him how much you love him and how sorry you are that he has to know pain.

A Time to Say Goodbye

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RIP Bandit

This morning, my husband found our little hamster, Bandit cold and limp. A life ended. A very short life at that. We didn’t have her a week but I had my suspicions that she wasn’t well when the kids brought her home. She didn’t suffer, she just passed away quietly in her sleep in her favorite place. Poor little might.

The only thing I can say that was merciful is that we hadn’t the time to become too attached to her. My little man, the nearly 9 year old, was upset and as usual in his dealing with death, wouldn’t go near her little dead body. He doesn’t want to deal with sadness. Ever since losing mom last November, Liam is afraid of death and being sad. He’s afraid of grief.

This is not something you can force a child his age to deal with either. He just simply wants to move on. We try desperately to help him. We’ve tried talking to him and reading books, but he will just walk away. Hopefully in time, when he’s ready, he will come to us. Until then? We wait.

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Felix the sickly baby

Our two little squirrel friends are still with us. Felix is not doing well though. I’ve prepared Liam for this by talking to him. Felix has been the weaker of the 2 babies. His breathing and muscle control is remarkably declining and my heart is broken.

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Dexter looking at Felix

Dexter, on the other hand, is thriving! He is climbing all over the cage, eating great and just doing everything he should be doing. It’s so hard to raise wild animal babies knowing that the chance of survival is always risky at best. We knew the odds were against Felix from the beginning but he did rally and look stronger initially. How quickly things can change.

With the short life of Bandit, my husband and I decided that Liam could replace her with a new hamster. This one is Bugatti, a Russian hamster, complete with racing stripe down her back. Already, she is more confident, friendly, curious, burrowing, climbing, exploring and sweet. She is healthy and had a nice solid poop on my hand just to show me how healthy she is. bandit has loose poop which was my first clue there was something wrong.  If you looked in Bugatti’s cage right now, you would think it’s empty, but that’s only because she’s asleep under the bedding.

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Baby Bugatti coming out of her tunnel

Ah the joy and sadness that comes from raising animals. With the good times and the bad, I still wouldn’t give it up. Thank God I have the world’s most understanding and wonderful husband alive.