Wednesday, July 11, 2012

living with a hangover

.... is not cool ....

i refer to what i "lovingly" call the day after a night filled with dreams, an "emotional hangover day."

i don't drink, so i've never had an alcoholic hangover, but i would say that the emotional kind is compatible.

my dad's mom, mamaw, died in march 2011 from lung cancer. so much was happening in my life then. november 2010 was when i had my first seizure. my life was filled with dr appointments, new medications, counseling, and sleep. so much sleep. my body was exhausted and had given up on me.

let me tell you a little about mamaw. she was perfect for me. when i talked about her i said we were twins separated by a few years. mamaw and i were so alike. she struggled with anxiety and depression and would talk to me about it. she had 15 kids. she lived on a farm. she did what had to be done. i adored her. some of my favorite things about her were her flower gardens, her hummingbird feeder by her back window, her love of camping, her creativity in making red hats as part of the red hat society (she even made a bra one just to give you an idea about her sense of humor :), her ability to make each person feel like the center of her world, that she always wanted me to drive when i was there and never criticized my driving, she trusted me, she loved me. she was always rubbing something. i remember snuggling up next to her chair and she would rub my head or hold my hand. she loved scratch offs and gambling! she was one hell of a woman.

and the greatest, kindest, gentlest, person i know.

i felt a deep connection to her. our souls matched. and words can't describe what that means. we were comfortable in each other's presence. she loved me with every part of her, and i knew that. and i loved her back just as much.

which brings me to march 2011. my life felt odd. mamaw was so sick. in so much pain. and i was torn between wanting to keep her forever and wanting her to be free of her cancerous body.

she would ask for me and i would come in and sit by her bed. tears come to my eyes as i remember her holding my hand and rubbing it. even in death she was thinking about me. and i treasure that memory. my aunts would get everyone out of the room. turn the lights low. and mamaw would lay in bed holding my hand and i would sit in a chair next to her, begging my mind to memorize every moment, because it was fleeting.

the last time i heard her voice was when i was saying goodbye. she held me tight. hugged me three times. and whispered in my ear, "i love you, forever."

it is so hard to write this. to remember and go through these feelings. a few weeks later she passed. and at this time i entered the numb part of my personal journey. too much was happening and i didn't have time to process her death. i wasn't able to grieve for her. until now.

yes, now, over a year later, i am having recurring nightmares about her dying. in my dreams i cry, all night, sob for her to be well. chase after her or the illusion of her, but wake just before getting to her. in these few moments after i wake my heart is crushed, my soul burns, and my mind becomes consumed with "what if ... " "if only ... " and mostly "why...."

why did she have to go? she was supposed to see me grow. see my husband. hold my babies. and i always dreamed of having her come live with me. and not worry about things. i wanted to give her so many things and shower her with love.

she. deserved. the. best.

these emotional hangovers have been increasing in their frequency. and with each daunting nightmare my ability to cope with the day ahead of me decreases. i feel less able to concentrate. less able to work effectively. and tired. so tired. but sleep is a harsh mistress, because she allows my squelched thoughts to rise up and be heard. all. night. long.

and i have not choice but to lay and endure.

if i could link the words "my love for mamaw" to a web page that would bring you to my open heart, i would. i have tried to paint a picture of her for you with my words. but nothing will be able to show my deep love for her and the incredible pain i feel because she is not here. not a single day goes by that i don't think of her. my home is filled with reminders of her.

she is always on my mind. constantly in my heart. i love her with every breath.

and miss her with all my tears.

sister, me, mamaw


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