8/2/09 Thanks Mom, Goodbye

When I was a kid I would have dreams where I would come home and my parents were gone and new people lived in my house. I would be told that my parents had moved and forgot to tell me. Other times I would be told my mom had died and my dad was on one of his yearly trips to Mexico to take care of lands he holds there. I would wake up crying. A heaviness on my chest scared me because it would be sitting there making breathing n swallowing hard. I would get up and look for my mom.

Yesterday she barely spoke. The last thing I heard from her was telling my daughter "I love you too." We knew it would happen any day, but she had surprised us for so long. It would have been a week without eating on Monday. For an 80 yr old full of cancer that is impressive.

This morning I felt a shock in the middle of my chest. Seconds later my father called and said it was getting real bad. He hadn't slept all night, she was throwing up most of the night. She was losing her voice and sight. I jumped up and jumped in the shower. It's like a reflex to shower in the morning. Half asleep, sick, hungover, tired, I just end up in my shower. It heals me and readies me.

When I got out of the shower my father called and said she had left us. I went to tell Q who was still asleep. 13 yr olds need at least 12hrs of sleep and she really takes advantage of that when she stays with me ever since I told that little bit of science. I was dressed n ready to go. She decided to stay at my place, her great grandma and uncle live next door, she would be fine.

I have made the drive from the Eastside to my parents house thousands of times in every possible state of mind and sometimes out of my mind. It's very easy, the far right lane on that 5 to the 10 west takes me straight off the freeway at Los Angeles street. Two lights, left onto Main, to 28th and I'm home. This time the tears were like none before. I remembered those dreams of my childhood. This time I knew my mom wouldn't be there but my dad would and we would be starting a new way of life. He as a widower me as a son without a living mom. Is there a term for people like me?

I burned the sage I had rubbed on her the day before. The smoke filled the room and rose up as her soul did just minutes earlier. I imagined my grandma, her mom, was here to help her in the end. The smoke followed them up, or over, or on to wherever they are now, which is definitely better than here where they had both had rough final days.

We called hospice care, a funeral home and my cousin Lucy who had cared for mom like she was her mom. She is like my distant sister. My father called the comadre and people started arriving. I texted work and friends who had helped me. Told work I needed at least a day. Haven't taken any calls.

Everyone is gone now. They picked up her body. My dad is finally getting some sleep. He says he maybe got an hour in last night. I gotta wake him in two hours. He doesn't want to sleep more, he wants to sleep at night. Lucy is here, we are listening to the Platters that my mom would play for me when I was a kid.

The comadre wants to host a rosario at her house. Mom didn't want anything. No one to see her, no funeral, no services. Others have said services are for the living. I see that, but at the same time why pray for someone you know was good and went to a good place? I can see if the dead were jerks and needed people to pray/put in a good word to get them to a good place.

I'm writing to process. I tell my students if u can't say it, u can't write it. For me if I can't write it, I can't handle it. I've been told all week to stay strong. Can I be weak now?

Of course there is some relief in knowing my mom is no longer hating life. Good memories hurt to remember. Pictures bring those memories. The music playing reminds me of dancing with her. I couldn't dance with her no more in the end.

My dad's first words to me when I got here were "Ahora estamos solitos." He has ten brothers n sisters. I have none.
This is my life. I'm grateful for it. For the parents I had/have. Gracias por la vida y las vidas que crusan la mia. Ojala que tenemos mucho mas a~os. Healthy n happy.

Tomorrow my father and I will go to a sweat ceremony together for the first time. New life.


la rebelde said...

Pachucoville, I'm sorry to hear about this. These are beautiful posts about love and life. I was remembering when my abuelito left this world a few months ago, that he went through similar bodily changes. So much suffering. During the last couple weeks, kept speaking to his siblings and his parents who had long since passed--and my primo, who is a healer, said that they had all been with him when he left, to help him transition to another world. I found great comfort in knowing this. If my abuelito wasn't alone, I am certain that your abuelita was with your mom too. Abrazos.

cindylu said...

Maybe the prayers and services are more for the living than for the dead. Coming together to mourn a loss, share memories, and a meal might help some. I guess in times when you have no sort of manual or know what you need to do, the ritual and prescribed methods offer some relief. You can keep busy planning services, making calls, etc. I'm glad you're respecting your mother's wishes.

Like I said yesterday, I'm really sorry.

Te mando abrazos.

Let me know if you need anything.

El Random Hero said...

You're mom sounds a lot like my mom, the strongest woman on the face of the earth. She can do anything and everything. Just like mom tells me I'll say the same to you, "que dios te vendiga." If there's one thing I am sure of about life, no one ever really goes anywhere. You'll see her around guiding and helping you like she always has.

Gamin said...

as i child i also had the dreams you had. words can't describe the fear, the solitude, the helpless i felt in my dreams and in life of the possibility of never ever seeing my mother or father again. what you say gives me some understanding of how i will feel if and when i lose those that borne me.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that I send love and light to you and your family.

- Karen Salgado

The Franksta said...

Pachucoville, soory for your loss. Something similar happend to me when my grandma past away. She too had cancer. She was only 56 years old. I remember that everyday after school my dad would take me to her house because she refused to be treated by docters. She said it was a waste of time that the medications did not help. she only spent two weeks at home. That last week she spent at home she stopped eating. i was in middle school but i still remember it like yesterday. i was in math class at 9:26 am and i felt a sharp pain in my chest that gave me "escalofrios". That day i got home my mom gave me the bad news and she had passed away at the exact time that i felt the pain. My uncles told me that her son took her with him because he was her favorite adn he had just gotten killed in El Salvador in the hands of M.S. Your blog, although sad its inspiring. Thanks for all that you share with us. Thanks, let us know if there is anything we can do.
"EOP 09"

Josue Sanchez said...

Pachucoville well i read the post and im sorry for your loss. As i read your words i got that knot feeling in my throat. It's sad to loose a loved one yet, as far as i've see you've been really strong about it. I wish you the best and whomever reads this i say cherish the time you have with your loved ones now because one day it might not be there. Thanks for everything!
"EOP 09"