Box by box things were taken apart, to me I could not help but feel as if , not only had I buried both my parents in the physical sense but now I had to dismantle their lives. Not just lives as husband and wife, but as parents, as young adults. as children... now I had the task of putting away their memories, dividing things up... between my sisters and me. Deciding what to keep and what to part with, who gets what and why.. I had friends do most of it for me... because I could not move fast.. everything was a memory.. a part of them... and I had to find each piece a new home... and it just seemed the more I did by myself the longer it took because I felt as if I were doing something so wrong... Steve said, You know.. you are not really taking apart their lives, you are just moving things... and at least as far as we go, the things we get.. well , its like having a piece of mom and dad with us... so its just moving things... not ending them... that is a nice way to look at things... and it was a way that helped me through this past year..
Saturday as I walked through the echoing rooms.. I could visual each room fully furnished.. I could see my Dad sitting in his office, or sitting in a chair or on the sofa watching tv.. a scattering of paper work or a newspaper on his lap.. I could see mom cleaning up... or watching some old movie.. or dozing on the sofa.. I could see one of the New Years Day parties.. and George in the garage preparing his wonderful food... and mom .. setting things up.. with help from Carol and Andrea.. I could hear the laughter from a long time ago.. smell the BBQ salami baking in the oven.. waiting to be sliced and set out along with countless appetizers and other goodies.. I could hear my dad tell a joke or two... I can remember the sadness... I could feel the pain of 3 shivas, My grandmother Clara, My father, and my Mother... I could feel the warmth of the people as they all came to comfort us during these times...Istopped in each door way... and studied each room.. This was not even the house I grew up in... yet it was the place my dad was so proud of.. the place he created for mom .. I can remember when they moved in.. and how each wall was painted just so.. and each window dresssing was delicately done.. Pictures were hung... carefully.. chandliers were placed.. rugs laid down.. furniture specifically for this house was placed.. and the one piece that would not fit anywhere.. that giant armiore .. I got.. .. we laughed over that.. How things came together in that house.. just the way Mom and Dad wanted... for while they got to enjoy it together.. I wish they had that time a bit longer... It seldom matters what we wish for.. destiny has a way of laying the road map.. and lives end and begin... with no set reason... Dad was gone.. Fast.. Mom persevered the best she could... we tried to help her.. but as always you know .. you know in your heart you could have done more... at least I do... and now.. here we are a year later... The closing of the house is tomorrow 1 day shy of my mother's death.. July 15th 2008... Perhaps in some odd way its fitting that we close on the house on the 14th... sort of like that circle I often think life is.. things are coming full circle.. Or perhaps it's as they say ( who ever they are).. another chapter ends.. hmm part of me does not want to turn the last page... for I realize that a house is just a building and it takes the people inside to make it a home.. and the home is gone.. because the people inside this home have died.. they are gone.. while their voices are memories.. and their images forever in my heart... turning that last page tomorrow is extreemly bittersweet... for I know I have done all that was asked of me... but my heart.. still hurts.. I keep trying to change the perspective.. but then there really is no perspective to change.. I did.. what had to be done.. as was asked of me... I did the best I could.. Now I just have the memories..some resting on my walls, some laying on my floors.. some for sitting on.. some still in boxes .. waiting for their new home... so.. Here we are... I miss you Mom.. I miss you Dad.. I hope you are satisfied with the way things have been done... I hope I did the right thing.. I love you Honi
Now if God were to question me and say Honi.. "What do you think you parents would want you to do.. how do you think they would want you to feel...? What would they say to you??? I think my folks would want me to heal... and honor their memory by being creative, by living life... by not waiting to do things... by getting healthy... by being strong... and by loving and cherishing my husband and my family and extended family... that is what I would tell God if he were to ask me what my parents would want from me... but there are other things that they would say....Mom would probably say PLEASE wear my jewelry that you chose...Please wear the ring or have it made into something you would wear ... don't just peak at it every now and then.. and LOSE WEIGHT... and take care of your heart ( as she said to me and my sisters right before her surgery... ) She would say .. see lots of movies.. see broadway plays... sing... be creative.. and she would tell me how pretty I looked.She would tell me to love my husband and take care of him... keep an eye on my nieces... and stay close to my sisters.. She would ask me to be strong too.. Dad would say... LOSE WEIGHT.. its the key to a healthier and better life... he would also tell me the latest joke.. and be sure I got a taste of the latest sweet or delicacy.. right after he said lose weight ... He would tell me not to spend a lot of money.. and to save and be wise with it as well. He would question my spending on music... but I think he would have loved the IPOD... He would call me any number of sweet nick names he had for me... Mushra ,Tateleh ( yiddish for little darling) , Homely.. ( yeah he called me that very affectionately as a play on my name Honi) ..Honi Maisley another play on my name.. Perhaps we would even go to Golden Rule BBQ just like we did nearly every Saturday when I was growing up... We sat in the white clapboard building with formica counter tops and little jukeboxes at each booth and at the counter.. we would sit on vinyl seats that stuck to your skin if you wore shorts that day.. He would order either two regular inside meat BBQs with french fries and a rootbeer or Grapeco .. He would order for me .. one regular inside meat BBQ and we would share those fries... We would continue to go there once they moved across the street.. to the "fancier" building.. but the food to this day has remained the same.. EXTREEMLY NOT KOSHER.. but very good... every now and then Steve and I eat there.. thinking about dad and how much he loved his Golden Rule... Mom on the other hand.. well.. lets just say Golden Rule was not one of her favorite eateries.. Mom always worked on herself. denied herself.. exercised..but Momma had a weakness too and its name was CHOCOLATE... she loved chocolate.. and as she aged beautifully she also indulged more in that sweetness of Chocolate.. The Friday before everything happened we took Mom to iCANTINA for dinner.. she ate a whole Fish taco.. and said it was because Steve threatened her .. he didn't but it was nice to see mom really enjoy a meal.. You see when she ate at our house she loved to share her food with her granddogs Cookie and Baz.. and let me tell you .. they knew when Bubbe was there, food was a plenty.. Mom had her ways of sneaking them bread, eggs.. whatever she had on her plate.. WE would always tell her to stop.. but she always carried on.. That Sunday.. she did not fail at her game.. she shared her dinner with the dogs as usual.. we just laughed.. Mom liked to help tidy up after a meal at the house and more often then not I would fan her out of the kitchen and tell her to go sit with Steve.. I wish she would ask to help me .. one more time... She and Steve though would watch a movie or discuss the latest news of the day.. Mom loved talking to Steve..and getting his opinion.... I know exactly what my folks would say.. I could tell God.. and I would tell him.. how much I long to hear those voices again.. forever caught up in the tapestry of my life.. those voices that to the naked ear are silent.. but to the soul.. I can hear them loud and clear..
Ifs are very painful.. If the doctor had done more scans If the doctor had looked at other options If the doctor had done more If the doctor had super powers If the doctor could just wave his hand over a patient and poof all problems are solved. You can IF yourself to absurdity. I guess with my father it wasDONE.. it was an accident.. a tragic horrible car wreck, by trying to over correct his van they were in.there was No do over.. there was no way to change the odds there was no having any clue that this could happen. As with any time you drive .. Things can happen but more often than not you arrive safely to your destination...However on that November day the world spun out.. Dad's time ran out and in less than 8 seconds he was gone.. On the one hand taken so violently as the van flipped and flipped and flipped again. On the other hand taken so fast that pain was minimal at best.It was over in seconds and my mother bear witness not only in that instant but for the next 7 years of her life. Over and Over it played.. and the Ifs creeped in.. and flooded her ..Momma never quiet could find her footing afterwards.. but she tried.. She wore a sweet smile.. she tried to fit in.. she tried to find her place in this strange new world..She made wonderful brownies and coffee cake and candy that she shared with many... she liked giving....She wanted to fit.. but her heart her soul heart ached for what was and what was never to be again in this life. Her life , her beloved Sidney was gone.. sometimes for people who fit together like they did.. well sometimes there just is no recovery no matter what. Mom lashed out.. she said things .. she was human.. but underneath the bullshit she sent out there was a heart that encompassed all she met .. there was a love both yearning and receptive.. there was a wonderful spirit there..Sometimes.. though things got lost in translation.. but the core of her was true and good. People say .. we have memories... they say that as if memories are bandaids of the spirit.. they say that because.. they have no idea what else to say... I like it when someone will discuss with me.. the details of what happened with my mother..With my father it is all at peace and understood.. there was no rescue... With my mother there are questions.. I have spoken to friends who are researchers, who are professors .. I have spoken to friends who are doctors.. I have spoken to friends who have questions too.. more questions than answers...I just want peace with this.. I want to know why we were not told more of the risk.. I fail to believe that in this day and age there was not some test.. some scan that could have given a better road map to my mothers physical heart. Perhaps the outcome would have been the same... but I just want to know that nothing was amiss... I know it will not bring her back... there is no amount of ANYTHING that can bring back either of my parents... but Knowledge is power.. and if you have that power then that can lead to peace... I was so angry this afternoon when I wrote my last post.. so terribly angry... but as it is often pointed out to me.. and I often say.. Anger does not do anything.. it is a waste of time and does not do a body good. So where do we go from here.. sometimes the tears just run for no reason .. sometimes that deep physical longing to just see the person that is gone is overwhelming... I know I am not suppose to feel guilt... just ask my family.. but guilt sits in my heart too.. as much as i try to let it go.. I know that I could have done better.. and been more patient.. and given more and not gotten so exasperated.. I know I could have felt less obligation and more love... because I know how I feel regardless if I am suppose to feel that way or not... I also know that guilt.. like anger does no one good..
~~ I changed the slide show above.. over time I will be adding the pictures in posts.. and some of the articles too.. ~~ You would think that each day you get farther from something the easier it becomes.. but thatsreally not the truth when it comes to death.. The farther you are away from the loss.. the deeper the pain feels.. For now I am in that angry phase.. why didn't the doctors warn us more.. Why did they not explain the odds fully? All the doctors said was that she had a better than 85% chance of a complete recovery.. We should have been prepared for the possibility of this outcome. A doctor should never just say the word risk he should explain things.. I guess he thought this was going to be a routine procedure.. I know that there were other options for mom. She could have opted out on the surgery and died naturally. I guess that might have been worse.. I am sure it would have. The doctor told us the leak was severe the night before the surgery.. and mom's symptoms were getting worse... but he never played up the risks... My mom died with love around her. I would have given her more had I known that was the last time I would see her. I guess wishes really do not count though.. they do not matter.... Even when we see the full report from the hospital it will not change anything.. I know this.. SO why am I angry.. ?? it is all part of the grieving process I guess.. I am angry at other things.. for example how quickly UAB can issue a bill.. with the wrong date of service.. Mom did go in the hospital on the 14th of July but her surgery was the 15th.. or lack there of. The statement prior to insurance was dated.. july14th for surgery and everything... they charged us over $16,000 just for the use of the surgery area.. my mother was barely there an hour... the pharmacy charged us over $3,000 .. my mother brought most of her own medications from home per MEDICARE. The total of the statement is over $50,000 and for what I ask you.. ? NOTHING THEY DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO SURGERY SHE WAS DEAD BEFORE IT BEGAN!!!! okay maybe for the Arteriogram I can see a charge or so.. but charging for a surgery that never happened.. well we won't know the true bills until after insurance does their part.. but I am sure there are many more to come.. I just felt such rage when I saw this though I can not begin to explain it.. as my eyes wandered the statement. I do have to say that the staff at the hospital who took care of mom.. most of them were so sweet.. from the folks in the holding area, to the folks the night before the surgery..... who would have ever thought this is how it would end up.. where the end of my mom's life is a bundle of medical statements that have absolutely no context or meaning right now.. just slammed on numbers for work NOT DONE.. for surgery that never happened.. I could go on and on.. See now I am angry.. and there is no place for the anger to go.. so I guess in time it diminishes.. and tumbles into a clump of ashes.. settling in the base of my belly. as do all the other emotions that stir inside of me.. from the guilt and sadness and rage.. and sorrow.. and shock.. to the memories, the love.. the melancholy..
Here I am creating a memorial to my folks.. I have found lots of pictures that over time I will add to this blog.. I have stories to share.. Right now though it is so hard.. I was at the house last night going through pictures and putting up loose pictures as well as albums and framed pictures.. I was packing them away in plastic bins.. 3 huge bins worth of photos.. of the panoramic history of my mother and father.. trips, family events, births.. weddings.. etc.. I begin to feel as if I am slowly taking each thread of their woven life tapestry and unraveling it.. I try not to view it that way.. I try to think .. their tapestry of life is done.. tightly woven together by their legacy and now a part of our legacy , their children.. but it is hard when you start disassembling things.. when pictures are put away... when drawers are emptied.. nearly 50 years of married life .. accumulated... and in a few short months.. it all is scattered in pieces around the country... perhaps its just spreading their material lives around.. perhaps.. I really have no answers right now.. Next Tuesday marks 3 weeks since my mom has been gone.. and it saddens me to no end.. as we begin the task of change .. Closing some chapters and opening others..
THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS ARE FAMILY PHOTOS OF MOM AND DAD GROWING UP AND PICTURES OF US, SOME OF THESE WERE SCANNED FROM A BIG BIRTHDAY POSTER THAT FOLKS HAD SIGNED FOR MOM'S SURPRISE 60TH BIRTHDAY DINNER.
Mom and her brother, My Uncle NormanMom growing upMom's engagement pictureDad at 1 years old with my Grandmother Clara (MiMa) Mom's wedding picture