Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day

Wednesday was the one year anniversary of Tough Cookie (my step mom) passing away. I don’t even like calling it an anniversary. That seems like something that you celebrate. I never understood when people made a special day out of a loved one dying. Releasing balloons, going to a gravesite, documenting and retelling of stories about the person and how much they are missed.

All I can remember about January 7th is leaving work early to go up to their house. My sister was in town, partly to help take care of Tough Cookie, and partly to say goodbye. When I got there I went to see her in her bed. I wasnt ready for it. She was breathing heavily, having refused to continue oxygen earlier that day. My dad said she knew what was going on and could hear me. He told her I was there. I took her hand and told her I was there. She got really upset and was looking for my dad’s hand again. I went out to the living room with the rest of the family. The nurse was on her way over.

I had no idea that she was going to die that day, I don’t know if any of us did. I was convinced she would live to meet “bubbles”, just 6 more months.

After the nurse got there she went in and took her vitals. She came out of the room and said it was time and we needed to hurry and say our goodbyes if we had anything left to say. We all took turns going into her room. Then we all gathered around her hugging her and telling her we loved her. Then she was gone.

A few weeks ago, I was driving to work remembering what was happening a year prior, like I do almost everyday. We were taking turns taking care of Tough Cookie so that my dad didn’t lose his job, making a Thanksgiving feast and bringing it to my dad and her at the nursing home, hoping for her recovery, realizing it wasn’t going to happen…. Then,  “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” came on the radio. I sat and listened to the lyrics and thought “no it isn’t the most wonderful time, it’s the worst time”. It’s the worst time for a lot of people, it’s hard if you have recently lost someone you love, especially if it’s around the time that they died. So I changed the radio station. Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” came one and I lost it. Tough Cookie loved that song, and she would turn it up and sing it at the top of her lungs. Ironically we found out after she died that the singer wrote that song after his mom died from cancer. I still can’t listen to it without sobbing.

I don’t know how to accept that she isn’t coming back. My brain has been in denial for a year. I think I convinced myself somehow that she was on an extended train trip or vacation. I just cannot fathom that I will never get to talk to her again, get drunk and silly, introduce my son to her, heck even argue with her. It’s just not right and I don’t know how to do it. I wish I believed that one day we would be hanging out in some afterlife together. That would make it so much easier. It’s supposed to get better as time goes on, but I’m afraid that eventually the memories will fade and all I will have is a photograph.

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7 thoughts on “Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day

  1. Molly says:

    We should all be so lucky to be so loved that we are missed like this when we’re gone. It speaks volumes of her character that you feel her loss so immensely. Hugs.

  2. pepibebe says:

    Beautiful post – and I agree with everything Molly said.

  3. This is so beautiful and I’m so sorry you experienced such a great loss.

  4. Caitlin says:

    I’m so sorry. She clearly brought such a positive energy to all of your lives and her photos look like she was really fun! I hope time helps ease the pain.

  5. Becca says:

    So weird, I was watching Parenthood this morning (a tough episode involving the patriarch in the show being in the ICU and the family gave his granddaughter a baby shower in the hospital). Of course I cried because it hit home with my own experience losing my MIL in the ICU last Nov. Got me thinking about you as well and how you were doing. I didn’t realize it was the 1 year mark this week. I don’t know if it gets “better” but there becomes more distance. I don’t think we’ll ever not have the feelings we do about our babies not being able to meet their grandmas (in B’s case, “Mommom.”) I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to think about it even without crying. Tough Cookie is watching out for him though and loving every minute of seeing him grow!

    • theartist says:

      Thanks for your kind words. I admit I just barely read your comment because I started watching Parenthood recently and was like “ahhh spoilers, I can’t keep reading” but now I’m caught up 🙂 I like to think she is watching our for him too.

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