It's my first quiet morning in the house in two weeks. No need to rush to get a shower. No one to attend to. No services. No visitors. No major plans.
Two weeks ago today, I went up to the Kirklin Clinic to sit with my parents for part of their day there. My mother had her final radiation treatment on her head, and she was scheduled for her first new chemotherapy treatment on the liver. What we did not realize was that it was the first day of the spiral down, the beginning of the end.
As I scrubbed my children's bathroom on Wednesday, I went over it in my mind. When was the last time I had a real conversation with my mother, one in which we both talked and responded to what was being said. It was two weeks ago today. I sat in the little room with her and told her a Madalyn story. Everyone, especially my mom, loves a good Madalyn story. She laughed and ate a cookie. It was so simple, so ordinary. But that was it. By the following day, she was slipping away, and there were no more real conversations.
I know that this is what it will be like for the rest of my life. Recounting moments and chats. Reliving scenes in my mind. Wondering what she would say, imagining her laughing along with me, trying to paste her into present situations in my mind. This grief thing is so strange to me, so deeply internal. Truth is that grief is so different for each person. What I feel is different from what either of my brothers feels and especially different from what my dad is going through. Yet we all grieve.
This morning, as I type, I am surrounded by flowers and plants. I think the pollen count inside my house is officially higher than in the air outside. But there is something so comforting in the beautiful blooms. Almost every arrangement I brought home has Star Gazer lilies in it, which was my mother's favorite. She would be so pleased. There is a beautiful green plant at my back window, and there are many still at my parents' house. So many people who sent their love even if they couldn't be there. There are a number of cards that I haven't even read yet. The love that surrounds our family is unbelievable and such a God thing. I am so very thankful...
But still, we will wake up each day with a little piece missing. Well, to be honest, a big chunk missing. My prayer is that Jesus fills that empty spot as only He can.