An Update and some Thoughts…

February 8, 2009

It is now 3 weeks that my Mom died and I still feel not ready to go back to the easel.
Somehow I am not able to paint currently because too many things are running through my head. I am comforting myself with things from the past, photos, memories. I am working on my computer, going through hundreds of photos which I did not care for during the past months. Now it helps me to get through my mourning.

I know that people use different methods to walk through their grief and mine is certainly nothing special. It is strange though – when my mother had that severe stroke end of October I knew it was over so you could say her final death was not a surprise. I was given time for my grief and the opportunity to say good-bye for a couple of times while I visited her in the hospital and later in the nursing home. She never woke up again.

Last year was a strange one. As if I had known what was going to happen we drove the long way to my hometown three times with rather short gaps in between rather than the one or two visits per year we made in the past. Although I was on the telephone each weekend with my Mom and we had quite a close contact during the last years I somehow wanted to see her.

Each time we had some little debates – as usual – between mother and daughter and each time we had a lot of fun also. She enjoyed it very much that we cooked for her, drank tea in the mornings with her and talked about her life and her family and all those things you are talking about. But she also told me that she had had enough, that she was fed up about her Parkinson and all the medics she had to take, that she could not do much any more, especially not read very much any more because her eye sight was damaged by a little stroke she had had a year before. She did not like the condition she was in, to be old and sick, frail and weak. Her spirit was strong though – so she really suffered from her invalidity. I always tried to motivate her and console her and tried to make her laugh. My Mom had a great deal of humour!

Last year she also lost her dog who was her companion for 16 years, a black Labrador. And although the dog finally was a burden for her because of her Parkinson and her limited mobility he also was a comfort because she missed her husband so much. When the dog was gone she finally made new plans for herself to get some relief regarding her Parkinson so I was hoping that she would feel better soon again. If someone makes plans, one does feel hope again.

And then only one week after my last visit it happened. My sister called to tell me that she was brought into the hospital. I could not believe it. I drove home. It was hard to see my mother – who was always so lively – lying in a bed with her mouth covered by an oxygen mask, because she could not breathe well any more. On the other hand she looked as if she was sleeping.

Although we got 3 different diagnoses from 3 different doctors (as usual) from near death to several weeks and more it was clear to me that she would not come home again. This was the hardest thing. To know that she was still alive yet she would not come home again. No more talks on the phone, laughing and mocking, no little debates any more, no chit chat about stupid things in the family etc.

I spare you talking about the nightly calls from the hospital, all the ups and downs we were going through, the little hopes that she would come back to consciousness again at least although I hoped she would not realize in which condition she was now, because I knew how she would hate that, but you always hope that everything was only a very bad nightmare. It was not. It was reality.

So she finally succeeded in getting what she wanted. She always wanted to go down and be gone. My mother is gone physically but not in my heart. I still talk to her in my head, I say good morning when I wake up and I say good night when I go to bed. She is here with me. And she will always be.

I am so glad that I was given the chance to clarify everything, to erase every misunderstanding we ever had in our relationship because we have had bad times, very bad times where we both felt terribly hurt by one another. This is gone, there are no regrets, no resentments left – only a feeling of love. I am thankful for this. I only wished that I would have had a bit more time.

My mother’s name is Ella and she became 81 years old.
I love you Mom.



6 Responses to “An Update and some Thoughts…”

  1. Donna D'Orio Says:

    My heart goes out to you at this time. Your work is so beautiful, I hope when you are able to get back to your work it will be a comfort. I look forward to seeing your paintings.

    Donna D’Orio

  2. Jana Bouc Says:

    What a lovely tribute to a beautiful relationship. I reached the same conclusion about my Dad — that I can still talk to him and share things with him even though he died some years ago. Tomorrow would be his birthday so I’m sending him a birthday wish and can just picture him sharing his birthday cake with his silly old mutt, Rosie, like he used to do.

    I hope your grieving is good. It’s never easy, but can be a very sweet time of remembering.

  3. vyala Says:

    Jana, you are so right. These memories are lovely, they are precious and will never go away. I am currently reading my Mom’s diaries and I am so thankful that I can do this because there are so many things in there I did not know about her. It is as if I can slip into her head now and feel what she felt. I am lucky.

  4. vyala Says:

    Thank you so much Donna. I’ll take my time.

  5. Petra- I am very sorry for your loss but so happy you had the time to spend with your mother and also to get used to the fact she would be leaving you. I lost both of my parents several years ago and I always feel they are with me each day. The grief never really leaves but it becomes less painful and simply more a part of who you are. In fact, I feel I am able to use it in my work. My mother was an artist so I feel part of her continues in me,

    Be well,

  6. vyala Says:

    Hi Deborah,
    thank you so much for your kind words again. I think you are completely right – I cannot imagine that I will ever stop missing my Mom. It so very much part of your life that it will be lost forever. My mother used to draw and paint as well although she never considered herself as an artist. She never had the chance to really work on her talent and make more out of her skills. But I can do and I am very grateful for leaving me her legacy.

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