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Category: Grief

Twenty-Two Months

My mom has died. I’ll probably fill you in a bit more further down the road (almost as fun as a birth story, I’m sure), but for now just know this: she passed away Tuesday afternoon, almost a week after she started to really shift and we came together to keep vigil. She died at home, in her living room, with us by her side and a favorite young caregiver who knew exactly how to guide us through it. It was no easier after almost two years of knowing it would happen this way. My mother is gone. Yesterday, David and I stopped by Wegmans to get some groceries after a long day spent funeral arranging with Paul and Sarah. I need to stay away from stores for a while, I think, because here’s what happened every single time I passed an older person: “Oh, you’re alive!” I’d think. “Good for you.” Or, “Ah! Still alive for your kids? Must be nice!” I doubt that’s healthy. I took the girls shopping today for dresses to wear next week. It was a sweet…

Update from the Brain Cancer Chronicles: Mom’s Almost There, but Not Quite There, and I’m Not Ready for There Anyway

Let me tell you what’s weird in Brain Cancer World. Two weeks ago, when mom’s hospice nurse came to visit, she declared my mom’s condition “status quo, with deterioration.” I think that means, “Still living, but a little less than she was before.” Last Thursday, a day after we visited with Mary and Tim and one of their brothers and sister-in-law, I got a phone call. Everything the day before had been status quo: Mom slept most of the visit, but when she was awake, she was listening and responding. That day, the day after the visit with the family, something changed, and I raced down to her house. The nurse had stopped by earlier, and noticed that Mom’s color had changed. Her lung capacity was diminished, which we knew, but she had what the nurse called “the Look.” It was this Look she didn’t know how to describe but knew well from her work with dying patients. It’s not a good Look, basically. It’s not a Look we’re going for these days. So, based on…

Memorial Day 2020: The Family Gathers, an F150, and I Yelp about Social Distancing

Hey. It’s the Tuesday after what has probably been a quiet Memorial Day weekend for many of us (if you, though, are reading this not from your living room couch but from a crowded beach, please know a] I’m mad at you because SOCIAL DISTANCING, and b] I’m jealous of you because BEACH). I noticed this weekend that I managed to mess up Cian’s buzz cut last week (shocked, are you?): there’s a strip of hair above the nape of his neck that’s noticeably longer than any of the hair above it. Which means that as it grows he’s going to get a mullet. Which means that I am never, ever, ever touching the hair on that boy’s head with clippers ever again. He’ll just have to learn how to braid. I made Mom’s deviled eggs again yesterday. They tasted more like how she used to make them, and that made me happy. (My sister-in-law made key lime pie. That, too = happy.) I’m reading Emma Straub’s All Adults Here. I love her books, and…