Posts Tagged ‘sadness’

Mother’s Day Sadness

For the past eighteen years, I have felt especially sad on Mother's Day. 

Don't get me wrong – my husband and family were wonderful, provided beautiful flowers, poignant cards, a book of exquisite poems by Ted Kooser, a precious little stuffed animal, and took me out to dinner. I loved it.

All of the love and fun, however, did not assuage the sadness I felt on Sunday. My beloved mother died eighteen years ago today and in 1995, May 14 was Mother's Day. 

I am thinking of the day of her death and want to share an excerpt from The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, Moving Beyond Regret:

 

May 14—I am grateful I have the presence of mind to get up early and pack everything I’ll need for the Big Spring Piano Recital and Graduation Recital this afternoon. I am thankful that I decide at the last minute to go help Jan [my sister]bathe Mother before Les and I go to the church.

 

We set everything up; the first program goes beautifully. During the reception between the two concerts, Renée [my sister-in-law]comes to tell us that Mother’s condition is deteriorating rapidly. Her respirations are only three per minute. Although I have to desert the five precious girls who are giving their last recital, my only thought is to get to Mom in time.

 

Joy [our hospice nurse] had told us Friday that we were to keep her comfortable, giving her morphine as often as we noticed retraction. It would, as promised, relieve her sensation of suffocation and the struggling respiration. It is very efficient to give it in tiny amounts at short intervals. Karen [my daughter] prepares the medication; Nick [my physician brother] watches for retraction; I administer the doses. The rest of the family keeps vigil.

 

It is hard to continue giving morphine, knowing that it might hasten her death, but we have pledged that she will not suffer. Sometimes her teeth are clenched shut and I agonize that I am forcing her.

 

From 4:00 in the afternoon until 11:58, my eyes never leave her face and I am taking her pulse as it gradually fades, then stops. Her eyes are open, but she isn’t looking at us— her gaze focuses beyond us, and it is clear that she sees that which we cannot.

 

And so, on this Mother’s Day, my beloved mother dies. I gently close her mouth and hold her chin in place until it stays. I tuck the covers around her. She looks more peaceful than she has for eleven weeks—maybe more peaceful than she ever has.

 

We wait in silent good-bye, hearts breaking, until 2:35 a.m. when two men from the crematory come to take her body. They wrap her in a white sheet, twist the ends shut, and carry her out.

 

Dear God, I have no mother.

 

 

Declutter – What I Find

As I continue decluttering, I found an old poem in a file. The file was not about poems, but there it was. 

When the writing of This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage sort of came to a standstill because I could not figure out what it was about, someone suggested that I write a poem. Good idea, because writing poetry has always helped me clarify my thoughts and feelings. The poem is not in the book, of course, but I thought perhaps you might enjoy reading it. 

What I Really Meant to Say

I thought to write a lovely book
about the paths our marriage took

I wanted all the world to know
that love can grow and grow and grow

that magic doesn't disappear
as long as we just persevere

I wrote of babies and of kids
of accidents and minor skids

with cancer added to the mix
of things we know that we can't fix

I've told of sadness and of joy
events that threatened to destroy

the fabric of our lives thus far
or snuff out our bright, blazing star

Misfortunes came, misfortunes went
I can't believe they're heaven-sent

so faith's been tested on the way
yet is not solved up to this day

I meant to write a lovely book
and simply try to overlook

the times our marriage fell from grace
when we could find no meeting place

but all I found to say to you–
somehow our love has brought us through

© March 20, 2007 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad

I wonder what else is hidden in the stacks and stacks of paper that surround me?!