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So, a little more of the backstory-Mom was drinking, dating awful men, and I was doing what I could long-distance and on trips home to shake her out of this destructive behavior. But it kept on. The drinking was so bad I hated being anywhere public because she had to have a drink, and I was noticing besides talking drunk she was having this issue with her lip jutting out, like someone doing a fake pout. It would come and go, and I thought holy crap she is out of control.  

Come to find out, that very well have could have been a symptom of the cancer, but her drinking was masking it. That is one of the few mental images that I have to shake my head or go find something else to do. I can still see us in the restaurant when I’d had my fill of her, seeing her lip jutting and thinking is was the alcohol.

She spent a month in the hospital; this was during Hurricane Katrina so I couldn’t pay attention to what was happening and I couldn’t take on other people’s sorrow. Right before Labor Day weekend, we found out she was going to have to be discharged-basically, she hasn’t died yet and her insurance had run out so she was getting the boot, even though there was no way in hell she could go home.  

Hospice people came to talk to me, and I found out that the home care they could give would be very limited, I would have to do the lifting, bathing, etc more than half the time. So I made the decision to take her to a Hospice facility. She was semi-conscious at this point in time, and I am trying to explain to her why she is being taken to an ambulance, where we are going, why we have to. Who knows if she comprehended any of it.

The Hospice was a wonderful facility, and she had a private room that looked over some beautiful gardens. the only problem was it was Northern Cincinnati and it took about 30 minutes one way to get there. But I did it, every day. I had an uncle and aunt (Mom’s brother) who brought their RV from Illinois so they couldd help out. Mom’s two best friends and my friend Jean all pitched in to be with her.

There, she was kept on painkillers but no medications to prolong life. That’s what Hospice is about, comfort not continuation. She finally reached the point where she was out all the time, so there was no feeding her. And yet she continued to linger. It was painful to watch this beautiful, vain woman withering away, head wrapped in a turban since the day I shaved her head for her. Her face stayed glowing, though, she did not have the pallor of death. Which scared me because I was thinking, what if she could survive? What if we gave up too soon? What if *I* gave up too soon?

There were some times when her friends and I would soothe her and tell her it was OK to go, but her body hung on. Then, September 26, I had stayed until about 11 I guess, I left earlier than usual. I bent down to kiss her and I cried and I said, “Mommy, I hope you know I’ve tried to do the best I can for you.” and then I left.

The call came around 3 am that my mother had “expired.” I immediately had to run out on the porch, I just could not bear to be in her house knowing now she was gone. I contacted everyone and we went down to say our goodbyes. I couldn’t touch her, I couldn’t kiss her. I am not good with death anyway, and this was just incomprehensible in my mind. But I kept my poise and made all the arrangements, and strangely enough did not cry very much.

She and I had planned together a very tasteful private funeral, burial, and then public memorial. I was so upset to not see more of the "friends" she had been palling around with, but they probably didn't even know her name. Her newest best friend came to the service, and I really wanted to chew her ass about why in the hell during this long period of time did you not come visit her ONCE!! My newest best friends drove all the way from Indiana and did not tell me. When I saw them, that was when I cried.

So there you have it. A long story that doesn’t really explain why I don’t mourn my mother’s death. It’s because I mourn for the life she could have had. I mourn that she dealt with wasted years and opportunities. Her damned self-esteem issues that made it seem to her like you were attacking when you were really trying to help. Her refusal to seek help, even when i was on my knees begging.

Today I am not sad, because, like Christ, her death has given me life. With her death, I had to start judging situations on my own. I didn’t have the voice on the phone that would help nurture my negative feelings. I have become the person I always wanted to be-kinder, less judgmental, open to new experience, and starting, finally, to learn that there are truly kind people in this world without an agenda.  

And the biggest reason I don’t mourn-She had found her soulmate, and after his death was only a shell of the mother I knew. I know she is much happier with my Pop.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote May 6, 2009
    • This was a while coming, wasn’t it, Lu?  How appropriate that you share this on your mother’s birthday.  I am impressed with how you have taken one of life’s most painful, misunderstood, mysterious events and used it as a catalyst to create meaning and purpose in your own life.  Hats off to you, Lu.

      XOX



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • Thanks Daphne. Yeah, I never took the time write the details, and so I didn’t realize how many there were. It was a painful experience and an educational one as well.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote May 6, 2009
    • Oh wow Cindy,  Im sitting here in tears.  There is absolutely nothing I can say as eloquently and meaningful as you have just said.  I CAN say your mom raised one helluva great woman!!  

      xoxo



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • Thanks, I know for a fact she would be happy and relieved that my life is now settled and that I have a man who knows what the word “responsibility” means.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote May 6, 2009
    • I admire the way you’ve processed this so completely, Lu. You mourn for the disfunction in your mom’s life; for the years lost or thrown away. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s sad that she took the path she did when your stepfather passed away. They are together now and that’s a good thing. I bet she’s looking down and smiling on you.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Laurie Zieber wrote May 6, 2009
    • Every single word I can think of fails miserably.

      My dear friend and bff from high school has lived out a relationship with her mom, for as long as I can remember,
      that is similar to what you describe in the back story achieved, however, without alcohol or drugs.

      Her mom is 65 now. The bizarre behavior increases and dysfunctional life skills too.I know she fears for the future as she is an only child.  

      She shares it with me I think because I’ve been around a long, long time and she knows that I don’t judge her mom or think less of her. I’m safe.  

      But sometimes I can hear the pain in her voice when she is right in the middle of telling me a story Like, as she’s hearing herself speak it she wished she hadn’t even opened her mouth.  

      I listen to her but I usually feel pretty inadequate. I am clueless how to help.  

      I’d like to print this for her.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • one of the best things i have ever read.  you are a wonderful person,  always have been.
      love
      your bff



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • OK, that above post was not from me. I sent this to Jean, the BFF in my story, and somehow she was able to comment. Crazy!

      Laurie, i am an only child too. if this will help, please pass it along with my blessing.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Laurie Zieber wrote May 6, 2009
    • Oh Cindy, You  are a Warrior Princess.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote May 6, 2009
    • i have no words...crying here.
      Sending cyber huggzzzzz....
      wow



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 6, 2009
    • The reason your mom was hanging on was to wait to see YOU be ok. Once she knew you would be it gave her peace and the ability to let go. I am happy that you will think about her being with her soulmate and being the woman she was before he died.

      I believe “whatever you want to call it or believe in” was at work last night to bring this all about. But I think the day you randomly hugged an unknown person in need the gates were opening.....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 6, 2009
    • Lu....that was an amazing story.  OMG...that needs to be submitted to like Reader’s Digest.  

      It was beautiful..and like Daphne said..it’s been working on you.  I’m glad you got it all out.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • Vikki, you just made me cry. TY.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 6, 2009
    • She’s right Lu....the hug.  Need we say more?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 6, 2009
    • I also think this is God’s way of healing you....and I think it happens when you least expect it.  Gosh...now I“m crying.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • I didn’t think I needed catharsis, but I guess I did.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 6, 2009
    • Bring on Luther and let the cleansing begin..... I need tissue!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 6, 2009
    • And..........look at how your business started booming this week....gosh....just too many things....going on here...happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 6, 2009
    • I would say some positive things are happening for you Lu....isn’t that great?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • There are VERY positive things happening for me, and I am so grateful.

      Here is the music box-

      It’s an old-fashioned kaleidoscope. The ball spins when you wind it and you look through the telescope. And it plays The Impossible Dream.

      And if you didn’t see it earlier, this was my mommy-  



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 6, 2009
    • I love the music box and your Mom is absolutely beautiful!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote May 6, 2009
    • oh lu the box is amazing and your mom is a beauty!!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 6, 2009
    • OMG...Lu...she is so young!!!  Wow..and very beautiful.  You do look like her too.  I can’t imagine what you went through.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • MC, that picture is from ‘98, but she looked that way until she got sick in ‘05. She was 58 when she died. And she was beautiful. Even lying in that Hospice bed, she had the most beautiful skin, everyone commented on it.  

      TY TY TY sooooo much for being here for me. I haven’t had a cry like this since her first birthday. That was the first and only time I went to the Mausoleum. Seeing her name actually carved in that stone sent me over the edge.

      Even though she really did piss me off sometimes, and I really hurt her many times, she was always my staunchest supporter and the one person I could tell everything to. She and my SD were a hell of a team.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 6, 2009
    • I’m not going to pretend I know anything about candles other than I enjoy them. But I think you should make a candle that is reminiscent of her to honor her. IMHO that is!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote May 6, 2009
    • that where her compassionate candles come from, right lu?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 6, 2009
    • I think she did say that.....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 6, 2009
    • Yep, that’s why I made the Compassionate Candles line.  

      You ladies are the best. You always have friends who say they’ll “be there for you,” but that only happens for a certain timeframe. And then you see this look on their face, that to me reads-ok wrap it up! That’s why I haven’t told this story lately.

      OK, I am off to bed, knowing that my life is fuller because I let myself be open to the idea of friends you’ve never met pulling for you! Love you!!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mjmurphy wrote May 7, 2009
    • Thank you for posting this tribute to your mother and reminding us to value the time we have with our mothers and the messiness that can be part of that relationship. It is clear that you loved your mother dearly. Your mother was beautiful, her smile looks contagious. I love the kaleidoscope she gave you and the thoughtfulness of that gift to you.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marie Hempsey wrote May 7, 2009
    • WOW...Lu...My mother died at 58 too from cancer. She too was an alcohlic and was diagniosed way too late but had to have had symptoms for years but masked it all with alcohol and drugs. She was a wonderful person...hard to understand...she was the life of the party, her smile, laugh and prescence lit up a room. Of course my brother and I grew up in total chaos and dysfunction but there was always alot of love. I was seven months pregnant with Kelly when my mom passed after being home on hospice for a couple of months and my brother and I did EVERYTHING for her. She was gone a long while before she died...that lingering is tough! We all kept telling her to let go as well....We were all there at the end...my brother, sister in law and I, my father, her two brothers and my cousin. I did not mourn her death either...even though she was only 58...she had had a life filled with sorrow and pain before she met my father and tried to numb it her entire life...she just could not let go of the atrocities she had had to endure...and that is a whole different post!
      I used my mothers death to inspire me, it brought me to my faith and religion and It really changed my entire life for the better. How could I mourn that? I still miss here even to this day, its been 19 years...she was my best friend!
      Friends,
      Ree



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 7, 2009
    • Ree, thank you for sharing that. It certainly involves a lot of mixed-up feelings, doesn’t it!



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      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 7, 2009
    • Thank you, Ellen. I have been wondering lately how a community such as this could have been such a life-preserver for her, but I know she would have never embarked on the journey. I am learning from her fears, skepticism, and doubts.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Wittymom wrote May 7, 2009
    • Wow! God Bless You Lu.  What a testament to you as a daughter/caregiver/friend to your Mom. Wow....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote May 7, 2009
    • Lu, this has really touched my heart. I am so glad that you took the journey you have. Good things happen to good people. I love you girl and if you ever need to talk or just a shoulder to lean on, I’m here for you.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote May 7, 2009
    • Lou - your mum is very beautiful and i have just read every post - this must be like a weight off your shoulders honey just writing it all down .....

      Huge hugs from across the pond - and what a testament you are as a daughter.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote May 7, 2009
    • Vicki, one very cool thing about my mom, she was a huge anglophile, very knowledgeable about the lineage of the royals. And she and I loved going to tea.happy



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