PEGGY (mom): I was close to my mother and had the privilege to take care of her while she fought a courageous battle with colon cancer. She was stoic, brave and she never complained. While this may have made it easier to care for her, it made it even harder to say good-bye to such an amazing woman. She was one of a kind. Her battle was frought with many war wounds and I was with her every step of the way. As time went on, we both discussed the inevitable and I thought I was at peace. I thought the tears I shed at night when I felt like I couldn’t take another day of seeing her suffer were going to end and after she died, I would be okay. Afterall, I had already grieved while she was dying, hadn’t I? I was ready to jump right back onto the bandwagon, wasn’t I?
Never mind the 75 lbs I gained…that would come off right away….everyone assured me. Work? I’d go right back to being the super productive employee I had been before this tragedy struck my family. Time with my kids? I’d be the perfect mother, playing board games and cooking healthy meals as soon as the funeral was over.
I couldn’t have been more ignorant! I found myself feeling NOTHING. There were words in my head ALL THE TIME……what were they? “I can’t.” Go for a walk? I can’t. Make dinner. I can’t. Do some work. I can’t. Change your clothes. I can’t. It was all so insurmountable. Weeks went by and I was barely existing. All I wanted was to be “fixed”. Everything that I did felt like a struggle. My therapist said its like having pneumonia and someone tells you to go run a marathon….all YOU can think of is just maybe you can work up the energy to brush your teeth. Why couldn’t I get better? I had never felt this kind of low before….I needed to get better quick….my job wasn’t going to be there if I didn’t snap out of it soon. I didn’t want my kids to see me like this. What kind of pathetic excuse for a mother was I? I “should” just go for a walk, that will help. I “should” just take a shower, that will help. I “should” just change out of my pajamas, that would help. I knew all of this would help but why couldn’t I just DO IT? Arrrggghhhhh, it was so incredibly frustrating. I just wanted to sleep or die.
My crusted, dirty body and sweatered teeth weathered on…it didn’t matter how bad I wanted to be better….there was no rushing to the finish line for me. I had to go through every painful step of grief. I had to allow myself to FEEL all the emotions I so desperately did not want to feel. I had to break down the overwhelming emotions into tiny bite sized chunks that I could swallow….one by painful one. I had to start to put one foot in front of the other. The first day I made progress? I made ONE phone call to a business associate I needed to make. I had 1000 things to do for my job but all I could do was that ONE thing that ONE day and count my blessings I got that done. Yes, in my pajamas from my home office……no brushed teeth, no brushed hair but I GOT IT DONE and I was actually a tiny bit proud of myself.