Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hints of Spring and Reminders of Hospice

This past year has been a blur. But this stretch from Christmas to my Mom's anniversary has been cold, dark, very damp and well....just sad. It's a stretch with no major holidays except Mardi Gras and if you aren't in New Orleans you are just reminded you aren' New Orleans.

These days the stretch of our Hospice care is replaying in my mind every single day. Was this the day I went up there? Was this the day she smiled? Which day did we begin to stop feeding her? Should I have gone up there more? Daffodils are blooming just as they were at the Elizabeth House we moved her to. An abnormally warm sunny day reminds me of the when we all sat outside her patio and snuck in a much needed bloody mary. Unannounced flurries take me back to the morning of her funeral when it snowed in Asheville.

I think because my birthday is literally five days before her death; the anticipatory countdown for March 14th is now also aligned with her anticipatory decline ending on March 19th. March in the past was for visits from mom and dad. She made birthdays a big deal. Not with lavish gifts and facebook posts but with party planning, thoughtful little touches, hugs and attention. They would come to town bearing too many gifts, flowers, candles, red beans from the freezer, and we would do our annual boozy lunch at Roosters to watch the ACC Tournament. Mom would help me decide on how to spruce up a few rooms, Dad would fix this and that, hang these and those, and they would leave my house a little more beautiful than when they had arrived.

If you think I'm being dramatic it really is just part of my personality. My Kangaroo Court punishment back in the 90's (a camp thing) was that everything reminded me of something else. This is preschool soup! I smell rain coming in 30 minutes! Definitely the same hairspray as Mom's AquaNet! 

Everywhere I look signs of spring remind me of Mom. I hear the birds outside singing and the Rufous Towhee says "Drink your Teaaaa". My mama taught me that. My parents used to fix cocktails and have me walk around their garden with them quizzing me on all the flowers beginning to bloom. Crocus were always first and usually met their demise from a late snowfall. Then the daffodills, tulips, dogwood, iris, I could go on and on. So many nights we would run outside with sheets and heavy rocks to save our plants from a Dogwood Winter. Now I have her iris in my garden. I have a gigantic Sweet Olive that when it blooms smells exactly like walks in the Garden District I took with my parents during our few visits back to their hometown. 

I'm an empath, and a pisces, and someone so in love with routines and traditions and memories. I should busy my mind and throw myself into exercising or reading or organizing but the weight of what we went through just a year ago is heavy and I am tired. I miss her. I feel like the John Pavlovitz article in that everyone has moved on and I have not. You don't get over a death, you just learn to live with the pain. 


I miss my Mother. Even the bed-stricken, mumbling, agitated, docile, almost unrecognizable version she became. I miss holding her hand, brushing her hair out of her face, and the tiny flash of recognition I could see in her eyes when I would come into her room. Nobody loves you like your mother. Not because they can't, but because they didn't carry you in their womb for almost ten months. Because they didn't have your heart beating inside their body. Because that love is once in a lifetime and unique to her.


  1. I hope that when I am gone, my kids can have the memories of me that you have of your Mom. When they're teenagers, as mine are, they roll their eyes at you. Think you're stupid. Sometimes they'll actually tell you you're stupid. They don't appreciate your cooking, or much of anything for that matter. But that will change, as it does for most of them. That's when all the time and effort and traditions start to mean something, and I know you'll make these memories for your kids because you had such a great teacher. Hang in there, this sucks.

  2. I just want to reach through my phone and hug you. Have you seen the ball in the box analogy for grief? If not google it, it’s a good one. I think the first anniversary has to be the hardest because your life without her in it is still so new and raw. Sending hugs and love for March!

  3. Well said, dearest; no-one loves you like your mother. And no, you do not ever get over the loss, pain and grief; but, yes you do get used to it, most days, until the inevitable wave comes crashing over you. The dark and gloomy late winter/early spring will turn to bight flowery days filled with sunshine. That is when you will relive Easter celebrations in Arden and vacations to the beach. My hope is that as time goes on your memories will become less painful and more sweet reminders of how wonderful life and love can be. Love you, sweetness.