Saturday, April 29, 2017

Never Ready

Sixteen years ago, Steve's dad died suddenly. A year later, my dad died, also fairly quickly and unexpectedly. I remember thinking, at the time, I sure hope our moms don't die anytime soon--we can't take any more loss. I felt so lonely, so lost without my dad. I felt as though everyone should be able to see the huge hole I felt right in the center of my body and my life. I told the story of his death to anyone who would listen. And I told the stories of his life to my children and my students. With time, his absence became easier to bear--I stopped seeing his likeness in people I passed on the street. Even though I've never stopped missing him, I learned to live without my dad. One of the main things that made that easier was, of course, that I still had my mom, who at age seventy, was still healthy and active. She visited often and even started calling more to make up for the calls and emails I was no longer getting from Dad. Over the past few years, Mom's been slowing down a bit; she no longer makes the drive to our house by herself, and as a result, we see her less than we used to, but we've adjusted. We go there or we meet my sister halfway and bring Mom back here for a few days. In between visits, we talk fairly often, and Mom writes letters to me to and each of the kids.

But last Saturday, Mom ended up in the emergency room. She had extensive surgery that night, and now, a week later, she is still in ICU. They are beginning to talk about releasing her, but to be honest, we aren't seeing signs that she's ready. She definitely won't be returning to her house now (or ever), and we are not at all sure she's going to make it through this. As my siblings and I have been texting and talking today, I've been trying to fight the fear that's taking hold of me. At supper I finally said out loud to Steve what I've been thinking all day: I'm not ready to be in this world without my mom. And the truth is, I'll never be ready. I can't even imagine life without her. I've always been the kind of person who prepares for the future, who tries to envision and imagine what each new stage will be like and attempts (often futilely) to get ready for it. But this one is beyond me. My only consolation (beyond the biggest consolation--that this life is not all there is) is that there is so much of Mom in me and in my sister and brothers. For the past 57 years, Mom's been pouring herself into us. And when she leaves us, whether it's sooner or later--please let it be later--we will cling to those precious pieces of her that are planted deep in our hearts and minds and memories.


  1. Thank you, Mindy, for sharing your heart and posting this. We are praying for you all, and can imagine the struggles and some of the emotions that you wrote so well. Your mom is an amazing, creative, smart, spunky, fun woman who has spoken into many, many lives. You had the privilege of having a front row seat, and being the recipient of a very large portion of her heart. May you feel and know God's presence and love for all of you as you journey this difficult road. Hugs.

  2. What a tender time. We guard ourselves and don't want to believe the inevitable. I know how rough these days are, when we experience our last shopping trip, our last lunch date, our last visit at each others homes, our last conversation, etc. It breaks our hearts to see them in such a different state than we are use to; especially when they have been vibrant and fun loving.I have nothing but fond memories of her piano playing, vbs, visiting her home, cookies and food she made for church. She had always been a character in a wonderful way. Or lives are full because of her. I feel for you Mindy and send my love and prayers to you as you walk through the unknown. How grateful we are tho to know the end here is only the beginning. Love you!

    1. Such lovely, wise words--thanks so much, Michele