Would you join me in wishing my mom, Floy Dean, a happy 75th birthday? If she were alive her diamond birthday would be lovely. I wrote recently about grief -Grief, on deardean.com because like many of you who’ve lost someone, grief is powerful.
Losing my mom to colon cancer when she was, I now know, a “baby” of only 39 years old devastated my 20 year old self.
She lived 18 months after being diagnosed & I spent almost every minute with her as she rejected then accepted the little time she had left. Seeing her emotional growth bookend her physical changes where she became smaller more frail and more afraid created emotional responses in me that I could not attend to at the time and would not get to until many years later and after years of therapy.
I loved protecting her and giving back comfort she’d given me during our years of abuse, hers more frequent than mine and often initiated as she sought to protect me from the monster who terrorized us. Her life wasn’t defined by him, tho, as she lived before, during, & after.
And she thrived, as women do, you know. Traveling, reading & writing, hobbies, lots of shopping, boyfriends & a girlfriend and plenty of new experiences in a ten year period before cancer showed up. She packed a lifetime into those ten years after she escaped that I often wonder if somehow she knew she only had 10 years left.
I have many stories about her on my blog, all our my favorite, so here is one that remains popular.
It was a mix of dread and anxiety. Excitement and embarrassment. And guilt, an emotion I didn’t understand in this context feeling this way about my mother.
It was a trip to the doctor with my mother. And it wasn’t the doctor that evoked these conflicting and overwhelming emotions and my first feelings of guilt about letting down my mother. And perhaps the strongest emotion though was the feeling of impending separation from her.
It’s a short read, and the first post when I launched Deardean.com.
And here is a short piece that also remains popular and expresses the power of love.
I miss her every minute of every day. I cry when I think of her pain as I remember when she’d cry out at night when the morphine no longer provided relief & I could no longer give her shots but only suppositories that caused their own pain on her bony body.
She’d cry & I’d rock her to sleep until all touching had to stop due to her pain. She wanted relief and to leave her body & I wanted to fill her needs. How could I not? I loved her, so I’d do anything for & w/her.
I told her & she said no. She went on in pain until she didn’t.
The power in this picture.
So I did too. Still do. In love. In anger. In grief.
In longing for her smile, touch, to smell her hair.
To watch as she gets dressed and see her fuss over what to wear and how to accessorize. I’d provide no help as all I’d say was: you look beautiful; that’s perfect. And she’d gently roll her eyes and respond: “you’re not helping, you’re admiring.”
“This is what I was born for, momma.” I would respond.
She’d smile her that was my smile and all would be well in my soul.
I want that. I can’t get it, but i want it every day.
A Louisiana girl who was brought into life by midwives, and who left this world with women/nurses by her side. A perfect start and appropriate departure for her, that reflected on her face and countenance as she lay still, out of pain, hair still thick & long, & a sleight smile that I knew was her last gift to me.
So I sat with her. Just us. Quiet & still.
Holding on but letting go one last time.
I inhaled her smell. Touched her cheek, caressed her hair. I defiantly told god he didn’t deserve her, only Goddess did & I feel the same today.
I will celebrate her birthday as I have always done.
And I’ll spend time with her granddaughter & namesake, Leah Dean, watching my girl doing her thing while she’s still unaware that so many of her attributes mirror her grandmother who she never met -that I know of, you know?
If you’ve read this far, thank you and I probably owe you therapy fees.
I don’t mind sharing my grief because one never knows who needs to share their own grief or to just silently read because they aren’t ready to share.
Both are okay.
Especially in the time of covid we need to share if we want and to express our care for and with one another as the pall of death hovers over & around us all.
We’re our own best therapy.
And we’re our own best hope to emotional peace.
Happy 75th birthday, Floy Dean. I love you. ❤️
© 2020 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.
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