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Guest columnist: Samwise

You’re dying, Mom

March 22, 2010

You’re lying in bed, hurting, sleeping... dying. It all happened so fast. Too fast. Three months ago we celebrated Christmas at your house, and you were walking around, cooking, hugging your grandkids. We opened gifts, you loved that. You were doing okay then. Now you’re in bed, dying, hurting, sadness all around. I’m trying to cope with it, but it’s hard to think about. 52 years old, so young, so energetic, so passionate, so spunky. Still I don’t feel like I know you at all. I never did. You could never be honest with me because you couldn‘t be honest with yourself. A life unfinished. A life in bondage to so many things. You never could quit drinking. I never could forgive you for not being there for me. In the hospital you asked me to tell you what has been in my heart towards you and all I felt was disgust. I thought you should already know, I thought it was too hard to say. I thought you deserved to live with the guilt of what you didn’t do for us. I needed you to be a mom. I needed you to call me and ask how I’m doing, to take me shopping, to help me plan my wedding, to be a grandma to my daughter, to be overbearing sometimes, to just stop by without calling. To be a mother, to know my friends and family. To not embarrass me with your drinking. You couldn’t do that because you were trapped in your addiction. You hurt me so much, so many times that I just finally gave up hope. I wanted you to go away, to not be in my life at all. You were a burden to me. But now you’re dying.

The time to talk has come and gone because you can’t speak anymore. I feel so sorry for you. So much potential. A beautiful, smart, strong woman. You should have left a legacy. But your legacy is pain to many people. You live in a dark, dirty trailer. You’re surrounded by people who live in the same bondage as you. You’ll die in that trailer, in darkness, inside the smoky walls of that place. You’ll never get to see the ocean again, to travel again, to repair relationships that you’ve damaged. I feel so sorry for you. You’re just a child inside. Scared, and needy. You need people there whom you trust and love to care for you, but you pushed everyone away so much that we don’t know how to love you now when you need us to the most. You’re in pain and we can’t take it away. We’re in pain and we can’t figure it all out. We grieve the loss of what could have been, Mom.

You’ll never get to know me, or my daughter. You’ll never know what it’s like to have a real family. You’ll die with the guilt of knowing you weren’t who you should have been. I don’t hate you, I don’t feel angry with you. I’m just sad that we can’t have a future together. That you can’t live out your dreams. That you can’t get out of that place now. That there are things in your heart that can’t be fixed or reversed. Just like the disease can’t be reversed. My life will go on. Mark’s life will go on. Casey’s life will go on. We’ll smile, laugh, and live just like we always have. Some days though it will hit us. That you’re gone forever. That you were here, alive and vibrant. Physically here to touch and hug. To say “I love you” to, to chat with. Then you will be physically gone forever. I’ll never see you walk this earth again. You’ll never return to say I got to heaven okay, I’m at peace. So there’s never any certainty of the other side.

Death is something my mind can’t face, so I don’t face it. When I do my whole body goes numb. I can’t breathe in that certainty. I can’t comprehend it. You’re just a baby. You are desperate for the Lord to wrap His loving arms around you. I hope He does soon. I hope you find peace and comfort from Him. I know He loves us for our lives unfinished. I know He’s taking you out of torment. “Enough of this, Nina…” He says, “time to come home my dear child. I loved you from the beginning.” I love you too, Mom. You are like no one else. A spirit like fire that no one can put out. A life that touched so many people, unforgettable, unbelievable… truly amazing the way He created you to be. The world will have a hole in it without you. Irreplaceable you are. Still unfinished on your way to glory… still I’m here without you. Without my mom. A hole that has never been filled completely. “What ifs” in my mind... Mom.

You can’t go yet okay, because we need to talk things out. You need to teach me how to cook like you do. I need to know you first. To know your heart. I need to hug you and love you. I need to mean it when I do. I need to be your friend first. So much. I need to talk to you okay? Before you go I need to tell you some things I’ve been feeling. I need you to say that you’re sorry for hurting me, for not being there. That you wanted things to be different for all of us. I want you to tell me why you needed to escape all the time. I need you to be beautiful again, to run through your house, to plant your flowers. I need to be there when you do so I can see what you love. I need you okay, before you go.

We need to talk about books, about scripture, about being mothers, wives, about life. I need you to know that I want to love you more than anything. Okay? Please don’t go yet. We’re not done yet. We’re not finished. Please, please, don’t leave forever. We need to celebrate your birthday together in June. I promise this time I’ll try harder to be there. To celebrate you just as you are. Life is too short not to love people for who they are. I realize that now. I realize how imperfect I am too, no less desperate and needy. I just pretend not to be, Mom. I just pretend I’m okay without you. I just pretend because I have to be strong, and guarded. I understand better now how it feels to be addicted to something that never can give you comfort. God is showing me. Showing me how weak I am in my own strength. Showing me how short life is. So from now on, Mom, I’ll let you in, let others in, live for today.

So just stay for a little longer so we can start all over. Do it all differently. I’ll be better for you I promise. I’ll never hurt you again. Okay? Please. I can’t say goodbye yet. Not yet. It‘s too soon for that. Life is too short isn‘t it. Like vapor we’re here then we‘re gone. Goodbye, Mom. I love you for all that you are, all that He created you to be, all that you‘ve taught me. I love you, I always will, a part of me always has. I can‘t help it. You’re my mom. I miss you already. Please don’t leave.


From Grand Rapids, Michigan

March 29, 2010 - Samantha and Casey... I couldn't be more proud of both of you. As I read these both to Grandma and Grandpa I cried all the way thru as did G&G. Your pain touched me so much and also made me feel so very guilty for not being there for you more as you were growing up. I am so sorry and I love you both so very much. You both are truly beutiful strong women and have so much to be proud of... so rejoice that you are both Nina's girls. You will always be in my life... love you... - Aunt Mary, Silver Lake, Michigan

March 28, 2010 - I'm having a hard time typing through the tears, but I'm hoping and praying this is the start of healing a very deep wound -- for you, and also for your mom. Matthew 11:28. - Patti, Silver Lake, Michigan

March 24, 2010 - Sam, I'm proud of you! Awesome piece. Hugs! - Bree, Seattle

March 23, 2010 - Your piece made a grown man weep. I'm much older than you, and I'm a man, and the alcoholic was my father, but otherwise everything sounds familiar: the regret, the hurt, the shame, the pain. If I have one thing to say to you, Samantha, it's that you don't NEED to promise to be better. You did nothing wrong. Don't own your mother's mistake. - Walter F., Chicago

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