THE ART OF DYING
Life is queer at times.
When we were kids growing up our parents would speak of death and dying, and through the eyes of a child our perception of death wasn't that bleak. Grandma and grandpa died and went to Heaven. I could accept that. I could handle that. I could understand that.
But as we get older our thoughts and perception of death and dying changes. And then one day it happens. One or both of our parents die and we enter this whole new realm of dealing with death. As children, we are now forced to surf the uncharted waters of losing a parent.
When my Father died many years ago at the age of 37 from cirrhosis of the liver we were living in Southern California. As a child growing up with and alcoholic parent life was very difficult. I still suffer from anxiety today because of my dad's drinking. The demon of alcohol got him at an early age and in the end destroyed his life and deprived us kids of a Father. To this day, at home or in a hotel room I still cannot go to sleep unless everyone else is in bed or asleep. If there is noise coming from another room I will call the front desk and ask them to please contact those making the noise and to quiet down.
As a child, until I heard my Mom helping my Dad shuffle past my bedroom door, drunk, at 2 or 3 am in the morning I couldn't go to sleep. There was no peace for me until he was in bed. As a small scared boy I can still see vividly in my mind the door ajar in my room as they walked by.
When my Dad died it was actually a relief. I don't remember grieving for Him. All I remember is holding my Mom's hand at the funeral.
When my Mom passed away this past March 2017 I was crushed. I am still dealing with the pain, anguish and abandonment of losing a parent. When my Mother died it was like losing a Father and a Mother. I was at her bedside when she took her last two shallow breaths. It is agonizing still thinking about it.
March 23, 2018
And now a year later, I still find myself staring out the window in disbelief. My Mother is gone!! Remembering her taking those last two short breaths and then watching the hospice nurse listen for a heartbeat and finally uttering those painful words, "She's gone." I wept like a baby for almost 90 minutes at her bedside; her pillow stained with my tears. I must've uttered, "Momma, Momma," 100 times that morning. I would gently touch her arm and shoulder. Still warm to the touch I knew soon it would grow cold.
Writing this I'm reminded of soldiers and marines mortally wounded on the battlefield calling out to God or for their mothers.
Today the ice has begin to thaw and I'm beginning to feel the full effects of my mothers passing. It's still difficult looking at recent pictures of her.
When my dog Davey died in 2009 I wrote an article entitled, "Death Brings Out The Reality Of Life." It was one of the toughest deaths I've experienced in this life. I miss my dog everyday. I miss my Mom terribly, beyond words.
"Oh death where is thy sting, Oh grave where is thy victory?"
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