My mom just died this past November 20. I was with her my whole life. She was the best friend imaginable - the friend of a lifetime. She greeted the world with a smile and treated everyone with kindness and generosity. I benefited from this my whole life. We went out to eat a lot and went different places to see flowers and other interesting sites - for years. We both loved it. Mom sometimes said, "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here." It made me feel proud because to me it meant she could feel my love.
In the last three years, it was clear she was dying. A couple cancer operations left things fairly under control. In time, they found out she had stage 4 kidney failure, congestive heart disease and other problems. Because we lived together, I automatically took on the caregiver role for what turned out to be her last three years. Mom was still, with effort, able to get around and be fairly independent. However, when things started to get worse and her mobility suffered, I had to help more. Nothing major. But I found myself getting angry quite often. And then I started to say angry things. I felt wholly resentful. I had blow-up several times a week, which my mom attributed to inheriting my father's temper. I often made her cry - the person I loved most in the world! We talked about it after it happened. Mom said it was water under the bridge, but my temper felt like it was an over-tightened guitar string, just waiting to snap. I sure didn't improve. My sister in the meantime came from Indiana twice a week so I could work my two days, and right after I stepped in the door, she'd leave, and I felt back in the pressure cooker - even though I didn't have to do anything major. Just feeling put-upon and ever resentful. Mom said she could see I wished her dead every time I looked at her. That's how it felt to me when I looked, sadly. I always tried to talk about this with her, to let her know I still loved her, but the situation was killing me. I would have done anything for her, but I felt so empty with her dying slowly in front of me, I had nothing left and only reacted with anger. Why? Why? Why? Always unreasonable anger. Never kindness and compassion. I know I was blaming her for dying and leaving me. To my eternal shame, one day when I had her by the transfer belt and she was walking so slowly in front of me, I took a spanking swing at her butt and caught it with my fingertips. I think about this, the anger, and the hair-trigger response to this person who treated me only with kindness, and I wish I were dead.
In Mom's last days, before she was medicated into unconsciousness, I talked to her about how much I loved her, how she was my life, how she was everything to me. I apologized for the anger, repeated so heartlessly and so often. She said, "Water under the bridge, Joe. I know how much you love me." I told my dear cousin about all this, and she said I had too much on my plate for any one person. She said my mom knew this. I don't know. Nothing excuses me, though.
Mom had a beautiful, peaceful death. In the hospital room before she went, I was able to rest my head next to hers with my arm across her and softly, gently tell her how she was my life, how I would love her forever, how it was okay to leave and be happy with everyone she loved in heaven."It's okay, Mom. It's all okay, Sweetheart." I did that for maybe 5-10 minutes, and then she left - seconds after I walked into the bathroom, my sister said. She just let go....
How could I love her so much yet feel so much disgust and rage toward the sweet, helpless, gentle soul? Such rejection after she loved me every single day of my life? Mom was truly the love of my life. My best friend forever. The friend of a lifetime. Now, here I am feeling like after such callous ingratitude when she needed everything I had for support and I behaved the way I did, Hell is the only place left for me.