This mom's life Posted in South Jersey News Online vwilliams@sjnewsco.com

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This mom's life Posted in South Jersey News Online vwilliams@sjnewsco.com

Post by Wind-Dancer on June 11th 2009, 7:02 pm

Anniversary. . . .

Prior to this year, I used this word to describe a joyous celebration. It was connected with life, not death.

The anniversary of my mother's death weighed on my mind and disrupted all thought processes for an entire week. One year had passed, and I still couldn't erase the vision of her in the hospital bed. I hoped to seek some closure, so I ventured to the basement where Mom's treasures were stored. I needed to find something that would help me reflect upon her life, not dwell on her death.

I started down the steps and went through the sequence of events that put me in this state of mind. My parents lived miles away, so Mom and I often exchanged letters. She wrote about recipes, new books, and day-to-day events. One letter had a post-script: "I'm having trouble with my back, but I'm handling it."



Nancy Viau wrote a personal essay about her mother, Eleanor Frey, after she died in 2001. The essay, 'Life in a Box,' is featured in a book, 'The Ultimate Mom.' At top left, many pieces of memorabilia that Viau found in a box of her mom's is shown. At top right, the book cover for 'The Ultimate Mom,' is shown. At bottom left, Viau's mother is shown as a teenager, bottom right, as a young woman with Viau on her baptism day and above Viau's mother, Eleanor Frey, is shown in her high school graduation picture.I learned that doctors attributed her discomfort to fractures in the spine due to osteoporosis. Medicines were prescribed. Time passed. Soon Mom became so consumed with pain she was unable to leave the couch. She was admitted to the hospital, and I caught the next plane. By the time I arrived, the specialists had already made their diagnosis. They spoke the words I feared -- lung cancer, throughout the chest and back. And it was terminal. Dad dried the endless tears that streamed down my cheeks.

"This should not be a surprise," he said, holding his emotions in check.

No truer words were spoken. Mom had been a smoker for almost sixty years. As I went to her side, she stated without fanfare, "It doesn't look good."

I pushed down the anger swelling inside me. I wanted to scream at her for every cigarette that she had inhaled that added to the blackness in her lungs and the gray mass evident in her body, but words were useless now.

Instead, we simply hugged, and she asked, "How are the kids?"
As was Mom's style, she did not complain or feel compelled to discuss her diagnosis. She understood the truth and accepted it. And she wanted me to do the same.

During the following week, Mom needed more and more painkillers. Morphine pumped into her veins, and she eventually lapsed into a semi-comatose state. Each new day I discovered deeper creases puncturing her face -- evidence of pain not quieted by powerful drugs.

I longed to see the sparkle in her green eyes and hear her cheery voice. She remained motionless as I read cards, sang favorite songs, and held her -- never wanting to let go. "You are the best mom anyone could have asked for," I whispered. "Stay with me a little longer."

But three days later, she died.

In the months to come, Dad sorted through Mom's personal belongings. He thoughtfully placed clothes, jewelry, and more into categories: "Give Away," "Sell," "Save." And he moved in with me.

I did get to the bottom of the basement stairs that day, and I discovered what I needed -- the box that contained items from the "Save" category. I lifted the lid and was overcome by Mom's scent. She seemed to be with me as I went through what was there: school yearbooks, graduation and wedding photographs, newspaper articles, war memorabilia, journals, and, of course, letters decades old from siblings and friends, children and grandchildren.

I sat for hours among delightful fragments of my mother's life and discovered so much more than items in a box. I got to know her as a skinny preteen dressed in ankle socks and loafers; a high school basketball star; a poised young woman who stole boys' hearts; a war correspondent; a devoted sister, friend, and newly wed; and finally as a mother who was especially at ease when photographed with a baby snuggled in her arms.
I realized that while she was alive, I unintentionally viewed her only as Mom or Grandmom. I was selfishly unconcerned with what occurred before my birth.

But what I found in that box on that anniversary day was what was significant in one woman's life -- before and after my arrival. It was her entire life -- and it was depicted in items that lingered in a simple cardboard cubicle.

I am grateful for those tangible items that cleared my mind and helped me through a sad time. Visions of Mom on her deathbed no longer haunt me. I take comfort in remembering her, not only as Mother, who trimmed my bangs, sewed my prom dresses, and cried at my wedding, but also as a truly amazing individual who shared a portion of her life with me.


.

What will end up in my box?

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Re: This mom's life Posted in South Jersey News Online vwilliams@sjnewsco.com

Post by Linda on June 11th 2009, 7:28 pm

What a nice way to turn a sad moment around. (-: Linda
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Re: This mom's life Posted in South Jersey News Online vwilliams@sjnewsco.com

Post by Spirit-Being on June 17th 2009, 8:17 pm

Nancy knew if her mother had not smoked she may still be alive. But what Nancy was not seeing was that her mother was moving on her journey into the spiritual plane/s and she will be doing the same one day. Her mothers spirit was still alive she could talk with her mother anytime she needed, and her mother would be there to comfort her. The box was the key, she learned the greatest of teachings. Losing people we love from this earthly plane is not an easy process, we all mourn in our own ways but the memories we have live on for our entire lives and that is how we remember the ones that have moved on.

As i read Nancy story i thought of one person that has helped me beyond what i could imagine. My mothers boyfriend Dan Daniels. He was also sick with cancer and he smoked, one thing he would not give up was his cigarettes. When he was sick in the hospital for some reason i could not visit him laying in bed suffering. I did talk to him once on the phone, and i felt his pain greatly i said to him "Dan you need tp pray" the last thing i remember him saying is "i will" I prayed for him that his pain would be lessened but i knew it was time for him to move on. After his passing i cried uncontrolablly, but through my sadness i experienced something profoundly Beautiful, i could sense him near me. I knew his spirit lived on, just as each one of us will. We never truly die, all we do is leave this earth.

Many Blessings

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