Saturday, October 29, 2016

Comfort, peace and gentleness

It's been a rough summer. After knee surgery, the return of cancer, more chemo, radiation and extreme fatigue I feel drained and hopeless. The side effects from radiation have been baffling but mostly I feel a great deal of anxiety and I am emotionally overwhelmed by it all. I often find myself paralyzed and depressed, mentally and physically. The advice I receive is to sit with these emotions so I can calmly respond to the situation and not just react erratically. But sometimes its just too much and I feel the need to withdraw and find a safe place of comfort, peace and gentleness. The place I go most often for comfort is imagining an incident that occurred the summer before my mom died. I stayed at her house that summer to help and to be with her. She was weak and in severe pain. One afternoon she asked me to go to the store for her to purchase some ingredients for dinner. For some strange and inexplicable reason I got very ill at the store. Cold sweats, stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness were among the symptoms. I would run back and forth to the bathroom in between getting the items my mom needed. The staff at the store wanted to call an ambulance. Finally I agreed to call my family to come pick me up. I don't know how I looked but my mom gasped when she saw me so it couldn't have been good. She took me home, tucked me into bed and then fixed and spoon-fed me some chicken soup, as if I were a small child. It felt familiar and comforting but still I tried to get her to stop so she wouldn't exhaust herself. She said it felt good caring for me like she had when I was little and she wanted to continue. Without words, we both knew it would probably be the last time. She sat beside me on the bed putting cold cloths on my forehead until I fell asleep. When I woke up she was curled up at the bottom of the bed near my feet, sound asleep. I asked her why she hadn't gone to her own bed but she said she wanted to be close to me in case I woke up and needed her. Her hearing was not very good and she was afraid she wouldn't hear me if I called.

Betty Jo Passmore 
 August 1935 - September 2014

I am glad we had this experience together before she left us. My mother, like most mothers, had her faults but it is her gentle, loving care that I hold most in my heart. Well, that and the guilt for not cleaning my house as much as she would've wanted me too.

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