Without a doubt, one of the hardest times of my life was when my mother was dying in the hospital. Knowing her time was limited and having all these things I wanted to say to her but couldn’t, because she simply could not comprehend, was agonizing.
It drained me; in the evenings, after a day at her bedside, I would walk back to the apartment Dave and I shared, ironically a stone’s throw from the hospital, to sit on the couch and just stare.
It was very important to me that my mother not see how hard I was struggling; I wanted her to look at me and see the same young woman she had always seen. Even though most of the time I wanted to show up at the hospital unshowered and in my pajamas, I made sure I looked nice.
I did my hair, put on makeup, picked out a decent outfit and I always accessorized. My mum and I shared a love of jewelry, you see, and so I wore pieces I thought she would like.
When she looked at me, I didn’t want her to see how terrified I was, that I was drowning in fear and sadness. I wanted her to see her daughter. I wanted her to remember me the way she always had.
It became a ritual for me, to wake up in the morning and make myself look nice for my mum, and it became something that I actually looked forward to. It made me feel better about things and about myself – it made me feel more confident, like I had a hold on my life, like it wasn’t spiraling out of control. After a little while people began to notice. “You always look so nice,” one of my mother’s nurses commented one day. “It’s nice to see.”
What a beautiful thing to say, I thought to myself. It surprised me how that one comment changed the shape of my day and how I looked at things. In a place where there was so much sadness, during a time where there was so much of it hanging over my head, I was able to be a part of something beautiful. We also checked out the beauty of Luzerne County yesterday.
I was able to find something beautiful, and that’s when I started finding the beauty in every day. I realized then, during those months that my mother crept closer and closer to her death, that there was beauty all around me. Sometimes I had to look a little harder to find it and sometimes it was right in front of me, but it was there, and I made it my mission to find it every day.
I realized this week that I have lost track of that. I read a wonderful post over at Girl Con Queso’s place earlier this week that took me back to those days where I’d find something beautiful no matter how shitty my day was, and it hit me that it was something I should still be doing.
Yesterday…was tough. I shed more tears yesterday than one mother should in a single day; I was a bit of a basket case. I cried on Dave’s shoulder when he got home and after dinner he volunteered to take Julia swimming to give me a bit of a break – all I had to do was put Oliver to bed and I was free to flop on the couch and just chill.
We sat on the family room floor and read books together and then climbed the stairs to his bedroom, where I changed him in to his Spider Man jammies and rocked him in the rocking chair. And for ten minutes, it was just him and I. Together. Loving each other, bonding, making amends. We laughed and sang songs and I pulled on his toes and told him which piggy went to market and which piggy had roast beef.
I gave him butterfly kisses and he gave me ‘cheekies’, his version of raspberries, and as I sat there with him in my lap feeling like he was the best fucking thing that had ever happened to me, I thought, This is it.This is my diamond in the rough, this moment with him. This is my beautiful thing for today.
It’s out there, the beauty. Whether it’s a slobbery kiss from one of my kids or a rich sunset or awesome comments on my blog (which, seriously, I have the best commenters ever, because I read all of your comments last night and laughed and cried and felt very, very comforted, so thank you a million times over.
(And during the night something really wonky must have happened with WordPress because several comments came into my inbox blank this morning, and some of them couldn’t be approved. So if yours was one that got lost in the shuffle, I apologize)) or reading a really funny post, it’s out there.
And speaking of funny posts, Redneck Mommy is one of those bloggers who has funny down to a science. She cracks me right up, and that’s why I awarded the post in which she describes the perils of personal grooming with a ROFL award. Give it a click – it’s a great laugh, and check out the rest of the award recipients here and here.