Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Safe Journey Mom

Alice O’Neill
June 6, 1935 – March 8, 2009

My mom passed on early on March 8th and though we’d been preparing ourselves for this time, it was nonetheless very difficult to accept. My mom was extremely important to me, her family and her friends which showed in the number of people who came to pay their respects at her visitation and memorial service. I want to thank everyone who in their own ways showed support for our family. Many kind words made there way to me and I cannot express how important they were in keeping me strong through this very trying time.

I can take solace in the fact that I remained a big part of my mom’s life and helped her as much as I could in her waning years. I can also feel good knowing that I have followed her final wishes to the letter (and will continue to do so until every last one is taken care of). I have to thank my wife Sandy and our daughter Alex for all their help. If not for them I don’t know what I would have done. Our friends have been incredible not only by offering to help, but by jumping in without being asked and doing whatever they could. Raquel, driving Alex and Sandy to the hospital so that I could stay close to mom. Tony delivering food to the hospital knowing I wasn’t going to leave her side. Richard, who answered his phone any time of day or night to let me vent. These are just a few examples and may sound like small things, but they were huge to us.

I can’t sleep. I close my eyes to sleep and I get angry at some things that have happened. I don’t have all that stuff that has to be taken care of to distract me anymore (not that I wanted all of it, but there was a positive). I get sad that I won’t see my mom again. I can’t shut off my mind enough to relax. Sleep is in short half hour spurts. I know it’ll get better and life will return to some kind of normalcy (whatever that is) but for now I’m troubled.

I know why I’m having trouble letting go. The scale is tipped too far in my mom’s favour and I can’t find ways to balance it out. My mother did what mother’s do – she cared for and nurtured me. She helped put a roof over my head and food on our table. We didn’t have a lot but what we had was more than enough. My father and mother helped me become a better person and develop into a man. She showed me how important life and love are. That things can be replaced but people are gone forever – choosing which to love is pretty easy.

She gave me a home when my world collapsed and never asked for anything in return. I got back on my feet and she was so proud of me. Funny how she was as responsible for that as I was but never said it or asked to be recognized. I would never look at her in a ‘what have you done for me lately’ kind of way. Mom did so much for me throughout my life – going to my hockey games (until it got too rough), cleaning up all the wounds, taking me to my doctor and dentist appointments, the birthday parties, the lessons she taught me without me knowing it, the amazing stories she told while we sat around the kitchen table, playing scrabble with me, making me the Peter Cottontail costume for my kindergarten play, always finding and stressing the positive, letting me think that I found my own way. I could fill pages of things for which to thank her and that is why I feel the scale is greatly tipped in her favour.

If I live the remainder of my life by the incredible example she set I may be able to come close to balancing the scales.

Mom, I love you and I will miss you terribly. 
Safe journey.

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