Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflection on the year that has been ...

It was a year ago that Scott called first thing in the morning and said "Mom's coming home ..." I headed off to Stratford and with the help of our Aunt and cousins, Scott and I got home and settled back where she wanted to be ... we got her bed made, laundry taken care of and her meds readied ... She wasn't happy, but she was home ...

Less than two weeks later Scott would again phone first thing in the morning to tell me Mom was gone ... she had slipped away in her sleep that morning ...

Three weeks after that I made a late night drive after being called by one of his friends who said, "We haven't heard from Scottie since Monday ... and the snow at the house isn't shovelled ... something's wrong ..."

Wrong indeed.

In a little over a month I moved from the wonder of having a Christmas at home in Ontario for the first in over 20 years, to the profound sadness of standing in the funeral chapel twice in three weeks to say good bye to my Mother and my only sibling ... in days my family dwindled ...

Looking back, I still struggle to put into words the wash of feelings that continue to ebb and flow through my being ... some days are relatively easy to move through and are punctuated with joy and laughter ... other days drag on with the burdens of memory and sadness ... overarching all of it is a sense of relief that the physical suffering both Mom and Scott endured in recent years has come to an end, and whatever lies beyond this life is a place free of sadness, sorrow and the things that burdened them.

Words can not describe how much I miss them ... I still want to pick up the phone and call Mom to tell her what the kids have been up to, or to ask her a question about something ... and as I clear through the things from the house I wish I could ask her about the history of this item or that one ... and then there are the pictures, the cards, the new paper clippings and the countless other mementoes Mom put aside for a reason ... WHAT REASON??? Many of them are a mystery to me ... and in that moment I want to ask her ...

It's been a hard year ... but it's been a rewarding year in that through my cleaning and sorting of Mom and Scott's stuff, I've learned a lot about both of them and the challenges they faced in their lives ... I've learned how much Mom and Dad loved each other (the notes and cards exchanged by them in their marriage are legion) ... I've learned how hard it was for Mom to get ANYTHING from the OPP and the various levels of Government following Dad's death on duty ... and I've learned how incredibly difficult Scott's battle for adequate compensation was following his truck accident in the early 90's ... admittedly, he didn't help himself at times, but having read through the documentation of his physical injuries I can't help but wonder if he sustained for more injuries to his person than just the aches and pains of his bones and joints ... given the dent I remember seeing in the ROOF of the truck after the accident I think it's a given that he took a debilitating WHACK on the head too ...

As I read through the bits and pieces of their lives, I'm thankful that they were and will continue to be part of my life, I'm thankful that my kids got to know them both better in the six months after our move to Ontario, and I am very thankful that they are no longer burdened by the many hassles and aggravations that were so much a part of the last couple of decades of their lives.

I miss them ... but I take solace that they are at peace ...

This Christmas I approached the season with some hesitation and reluctance ... I knew that it would be a tough time emotionally, but I was looking forward to gathering with my extended family for a good reason. Our Boxing Day gathering, along with the traditional phone calls from those family members in the diaspora, brought a soothing balm to my soul ... I may have lost Mom and Scott, and then in the subsequent weeks Mr Baumbach Indigo and my friend and Mentor Rev. Don ... but I still have a strong circle of family and friends who have blessed me with strength and care through the last few months ...

Looking back, it's been a tough year, but a good year ...

1 comment:

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

Just dropped in to say hi. I've been reading the blog off and on, backtracking so as not to miss anything. It's been a tough year for you, and I hope next year will bring some measure of comfort and peace.

Sometimes it just seems so wrong, so unforgivably alien, so "obscene", even, that the people we knew and loved just aren't around any more. I sometimes find myself wishing I could phone Mom, who died 7 years ago; can't be done.

I remember in "Jesus Christ Superstar" (remember that, so long ago?) how Mary Magdalene sings "Could we start again, please?" It was the saddest song I had ever heard.

Not a comforting thought. But somehow we have to muddle through. There's joy to be found in the struggle.