Friday, October 11, 2019

A Real Journey Through Grief

My Facebook messenger while in ballroom dance that night.
**If you have come to this blog expecting to read about the victorious Christian/pastor that has moved on since his mom's will be disappointed. The VICTORY IN CHRIST part is that he hears our cries and understands.This is a messy blog showing real life as a ragamuffin trudging onward with God's help.**

I will start with this statement:

Those who have never lost a parent they loved and were loved by will never understand what you are going through.

I found it to be true as I have lived on both sides of that statement. This blog stems from the upcoming one year anniversary of my mom's passing.

I have conducted many funerals for people that were dearly missed by their family members and a few where the family didn’t get out of the car for the graveside service. Regardless, I have always maintained that I would prefer to conduct a funeral than officiate a wedding (perhaps more on that in another blog) but nothing prepared me for what it was like to lose my mom. 

Since the day I was born I was a mommas boy. The way I would worry and cry when my mom left the house for work, church, etc. when I was a little boy is the same way my youngest son acts when my wife, Tracy leaves our home. I was attached at the hip to her. Even when I moved into my first bachelor pad in Bay View (Milwaukee), WI. I would call and stop in at home just to say hi. It is safe to say that she was my biggest cheerleader and friend. I truly feel bad for boys who do not have the love and support of their mother. 

It was October 22, 2018 at 7:19 PM when my cousin began messaging me. It was a set of messages that sent the worst feeling through my body (see screenshot picture). I remember calling my aunt only for her to answer the phone crying. My aunt is a straight shooter and she told me my mom just died. I was in ballroom dancing class with my wife when I made that call. Instantly we left because I desperately wanted to get down to Milwaukee but I first had to take the babysitter home. There were a few reasons as to why I wanted to get to Milwaukee as fast as possible. I was going to be the one that notified my dad of her passing. I relentlessly called his cellphone as I was driving. He finally answered and I told him the news. With such big news his first response was shock. My dad has never had a strong heart so I immediately went to his house when I arrived around 9:30 (I may have been speeding). I picked him up and we went to the facility where my mom was off and on that year trying to rehab pain she was dealing with. 

After picking my dad up from his house and upon our arrival I remember asking my dad if he was ready to go up. We were met by her nurse in the hallway where my mom’s room was. She told us she is still in the room where we can see her. After walking into that room I remember the air conditioner on full blast and seeing her lay there. In no time my dad began to cry. I had one arm around him to support him mentally and physically as I have seen people react in different ways at the news of their spouse passing. After a little while my dad said we can go, I knelt down…gave my mom one last kiss….told her I loved her and that she was an awesome mom and did a fantastic job raising two boys. 

They say everyone moves on at different times but never really recovers from such a great loss. To me my mom was one of my best friends and those are pretty scarce. She would always call me wanting to just chat and I likewise. She would always tell me how proud of me she was. Even in my younger years she always gave me the benefit of the doubt and truly loved unconditionally. I have often times said she was my biggest cheerleader and to hear someone say regularly to me “I am so proud of you” meant the world. Now it is gone.

People have told me over and over to focus on the good memories and I totally get that. I am forever grateful for the fun times and the strong foundation of faith both my mom and dad have instilled in me. I have many of those stored up in my mind. In my basement I have boxes full of pictures from the past of her. With all of that however I still have it fresh in my mind what she looked like that night laying in her room. I will never forget the look and how at that point I was the one supporting my dad with my arm around him as he cried. The roles have changed and I knew my life just jumped to the next chapter. 

So, it is almost a year later and I still find myself randomly in the storage side of my basement looking at old photos. There is a red jacket that my mom wore during the winter to church and Christmas parties. It was supposed to go to charity but after loading it into the car a few weeks after her passing, I fell apart. It had her perfume on it and is currently in a bag in my office.  I have not used my home office since she passed because I have stored many of her belongings in there. Nothing of large size but many hand-written notes, Bibles, even two of her dolls she made clothes for from when she was a little girl. A couple of weeks ago I went to organize the office and ended up not being able to finish due to anxiety and sadness. When I do get to Milwaukee and am able to stop at the cemetery, I am thankful that I am alone because I am a crying mess as I sit and talk.

Life is still full of regret as I wish I could have been there for my mom as she drew her final breath. Earlier that day I spoke to her on the phone and she was not making a whole lot of sense because her speech was not understandable. That should have been a red flag for me. The person who was there for me and so many others was now left to leave this world by herself. That’s thought is something that I deal with weekly. Over this past year I have become way more in tune with peoples hurts and needs as a result of this.

This blog got to be very long but I miss her…God do I miss her. Until my dying day I will boast that Donna Adams was my mom.