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I’ve honestly never been curious about what it would feel like if someone took a cheese grater to my nerves, but that is exactly how I’m feeling tonight.  Raw, jagged, floppy-like, drippy and haggard.  I was back in Michigan this weekend with my mom and my immediate family and this is how I feel now.  Imagine driving for 3 hours feeling like that.  Alone.  Thank goodness for satellite radio and the comedy channel.  If I had been left to my own thoughts I would not have made it.

This is the facebook status I just posted:  I can’t express the experience of this weekend.  So many emotions, raw, deep, horrible, wonderful, heartbreaking and uplifting.  I am a puddle of goo right now, desperately trying to get my bones to keep me upright.  Oh bones, don’t fail me!  Hold my frame upright so that I might be able to do stuff like hug my children, read them stories, snuggle with them in bed, walk to the bathroom (oy, that could get really messy if you disintegrate, bones of mine.), and walk up the stairs so that I might collapse into bed and hopefully drift off into dreamless, delicious, sleep.

I am so grateful to have the family I do.  We are not perfect, we don’t exactly tell each other our deepest feelings, but there is safety within our circle.  Safety where we can say what is on our hearts and minds and know that it will be met with unconditional love.  Even if at first there may be frustration or annoyance.  The love underneath holds everything up.

It was just Mom, Dad, and the kids this weekend.  Our little Potter family unit together.  We hashed stuff out.  It wasn’t pretty.  We talked about stuff that had nothing to do with Mom’s health.  We talked about stuff that’s been bugging us for years and we have avoided saying it, afraid that it was just us being selfish and for Pete’s sake, just get over it.  The funny thing is, a lot of that stuff we held on to ended up being so silly once it was finally said.  You realize that your perception in the first place was WAY off, and now you’re wondering why in the world you spent all those years holding on to it.  There were more than a few moments of, “I didn’t know you felt that way!”  and “I didn’t know YOU felt that way!  I thought you were just crazy!  Or I was crazy!”  and “Crazy is true, but not in this case”.

And there was anger.  Of the explosive sort.  It had everything to do with the differences in the way all of us communicate.  The difficulty in remembering to be aware of how our actions may be affecting others, even if there is no ill intent.  We gave each other permission to grieve in our own way, not expecting any other one person to do this the same way that we are.  It is useless to expect my left-brained brother to be as emotional as I am.  I’m not grieving “better”, I’m just doing it my own way.  There is no “good” or “bad” way to grieve, as long as we grieve and not avoid it, pretend it’s not happening.  So the anger was quelled.  The words came again, the lines opened, the “I’m sorry’s” and “I love you’s”, the tears and embraces settled in once again as welcome companions to this road we are navigating.  The realization that we don’t know what we’re doing, that each step forward is likely one of uncertainty, feeling for solid ground.

You see, we’ve never been through this, really.  I never knew my own grandparents, except for my mother’s mother, whom I barely knew and who died when I was young, maybe 6 or 7.  All of my aunts and uncles are still here, all of my cousins…even my cousins’ kids, all still here.  We’ve never done this before, much less for our own mother.  It’s not a good thing to be a novice in.  But we have to.  So we can either let it tear us apart, or we can commit to loving one another through it, and allow it to grow us together.  We have chosen the latter.  All for one, and one for all.

 

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Caroline with her Grammy. There is LOVE here.

I’m in Michigan this Labor Day weekend, visiting my mom.  It’s joyful and excruciating at the same time.  Joyful because I’m with her, excruciating because I know these moments will be coming to an end.

I’m exhausted from it all, and I feel awful about it.  I want to make the most of this time while she’s here, and yet it’s tiring to sit in one room all day.

I find myself avoiding the “D”-word.  I know it’s coming, but I can’t say it.  I can say “when she leaves us” or “when she passes” or any other variation of non-D-word phrases.

I also want to be authentic in how I am dealing with this in terms of my faith.  Do not misunderstand, my faith is unshaken.  The foundation is strong.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be happy-fake I-love-Jesus-so-everything-is-great lady.  My faith in Christ does not mean this isn’t painful.  My mom and I are very close, so this loss will be very painful and very deeply felt.

Now that I’ve said that, when the time comes, I don’t want to hear anyone say, “She’s in a better place”, because I KNOW that.  Okay? I know.  But I will be without my mother, my best friend, my teacher, and that is going to suck.