Friday, May 06, 2011

Alone, But Not Lonely

What a whirlwind the past couple of weeks have been. My grandmother has been gone for two weeks already and I feel like I still have not had time to process it. I have been spending a lot of time with my mother. She cared for my grandmother through her long illness and was definitely the person who was closest to her in many ways.

Because my grandmother depended so heavily on her, my mom hardly left the house except to get to doctor's appointments or to the market or pharmacy. Until two days after my grandmother's death, my mother—who lives 45 minutes away, in Ventura County—had never been to my house.

My sister and brother-in-law, who with my nephews share the house with my mom and grandma, had booked a cruise months ago for April 27th, just a week after my grandma passed. So the day after the viewing in San Diego County, as my grandmother's body was being flown back east for burial in the family plot, my sister and her family took their trip as planned. My mom was alone in the house (where my grandmother had just died) for the first time ever in more than five years.

I asked her if she would be all right, if she wanted me to come and stay with her, but I knew she would say no. My mother and I are very similar in our need for time alone. I honestly think this oddly-timed vacation was one of the best things that could have happened, to give her time and space alone to get used to a world without her mother in it. I have called her just about every day to check in, and while her sleeping schedule is out of whack, other than that she is doing fine.

Last Saturday, I took the kids up to spend the day with her. We drove to Ventura Harbor, had fish and chips and ice cream. We took lots of pictures, and laughed a lot, and enjoyed the sun and the water and people watching. My mom was happy. The kids were exhausted and happy. At the end of the day as we were driving home, Viva said, "That was the most fun I've ever had with Grandma." Bittersweet.

My mom and I have had our differences and our difficulties in the past, and she can still push my buttons like no one else can. But, at the same time, helping each other through this transition has brought us closer.

Of course, this weekend is Mother's Day. We will be celebrating together tomorrow, as my sister and her noisy bunch arrive back in Southern California sometime tomorrow and I'd like to give them their space to recoup on Sunday. Sweet Dub and Viva are on a road trip to Northern California to celebrate my 22-year-old nephew's graduation from college, returning Sunday morning, so it will be me and my ole roll dog Ceeya* holding down the fort until Mother's Day festivities can commence on Sunday.

To all: thanks for your words of support and comfort. It means more to me than I can say. Happy Mother's Day, whether you are a mom or have a mom, or are just one bad mutha-shut yo mouth. Be safe and be happy!

* I would love to be part of the road trip, but the very idea of six hours one way with a 2.5 year-old makes me want to poke a chopstick in my ear. Or my eye. Or up my nose. Whatever, it would be painful.

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