Friday, November 22, 2013


I feel guilty that I wasn't with my mom when she died. 

Mom has been my best friend as far back as I can remember.  I don't ever remember having a moment in my life where I didn't like her.  She was always on my side no matter how bad I fucked up or how wrong I was. 

When a girl picked on me in high school I was scared.  This girl cut up my clothes.  Mom brought me new clothes and told the gym teacher that I was going to kick this girls ass and if I got suspended for  it she'd be okay with that.  Then mom told me that I had to stand up to this bully and beat her ass.  So ,  I FINALLY stood up to the bully who backed away from my offered fight thanks to mom.  Mom thought I shouldn't have allowed her to back down and that I should have kicked her ass and got suspended.  Mom was a renegade and for that I love her even more.

When I got pregnant at 19 I holed myself into my bedroom until mom forced her way in and pulled it out of me.  Mom knew I was pregnant before I did.  I was so scared and anxious.

Mom asked me, "Do you love him?"  I said I didn't know but he was nice, had a great family and treated me well .  Then she asked, "Really, Chrissa, are you ready to be a mother and do a good job at it?  Are you committed to this child who will be dependent solely on you?  What do you want to do ?"   After lots of crying and soul-searching and knowing I had freedom of choice I said, "I want to keep this baby Ma. ."  She said,  "Jesus Christ!  If it's a girl you better name it after me!!" 

I had a girl and named her, Susan, after my mom.  My daughter is every single bit of her grandmother.  Smart, Independent, Hard-headed and Opinionated, Free Spirited, Kind and Loving in every aspect.  

Mom stood by me all through the twenty-two restless years of marriage, kicking me in the ass if I needed it.  When I got divorced she stood by and breathed a sigh of relief with me, cried like hell with me for hurting a man I didn't want to hurt.  He was a good man but not a man I was in love with. He wasn't in love with me either.   He loved other things and was much more committed to those. 

When I fell absolutely, hopelessly,  madly in love with my Mike, she loved him that much too and told me that he was O.K.  I felt like I was betraying my family.  She told me I wasn't betraying anyone and that I should follow my heart.  "You only live once and most people never really get to be ga-ga in love.  Go for it Chrissa and if it don't work out, I'll be here to pick up the pieces".

When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, mom always told me "You can't go making wallets (end up in the nut house) Chrissa, you've got to be tough." So I was. I didn't think I had it in me to be so strong when I was so scared.  Mom was the half to my whole and I just could not imagine my life without her in it.  She was the strong one.  As she became weaker, it was very, very difficult for me to accept.

I had dinner with her one evening, laughing and chatting.  Two days later I was at her house calling an ambulance.  She couldn't walk and had double vision.  She realized that it was bad. The cancer had spread to her brain and three, long months later she was gone.  But, I wasn't with he when she died and that makes me feel so guilty  that I can barely stand it.  My daughter was with her last and that lends a little comfort to me but I WASN'T WITH HER.   I was there almost every single moment since she was in the hospital but one hour before she died we had talked about all kinds of stuff and I sang to her and shaved her hairy chin (which I have too).  I was home five minutes when I got the call telling me that she had passed away and I was absolutely devastated. I wanted to be with her but I wasn't ....the guilt set in.  I've cried so many times and still feel so much anger about it.  Three years later I still have to push that guilt out of my mind and heart or I'll go making wallets.  

I think to myself that maybe, just maybe, mom didn't want me there when she died.  We had spent a great day together. Laughing.  Storytelling.  Memory-sharing. Singing.  Maybe that's the way she wanted our last mother/daughter moments to be.



Unknown said...

Such a wonderful story. I feel such guilt for not being with my dad when he passed over 7 years ago. He was alone when he passed...waited until his girlfriend's plane took off and was gone. The guilt still eats at me...but I believe he didn't want my memory of him tarnished by the pain his cancer was causing. He was in AZ and I was 7 months pregnant in IN...with plane tickets purchased to be out there the next week. It just wasn't meant to be for me to hold his hand and get one more hug. Stay strong and know she's in no pain...that's how I get by.

Christy said...

Thanks for those words of comfort, Stephanie. Sometimes it's nice to know that I'm not alone in these feelings of mine.