Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Mom & Mandy

Happy Times on Mom's Lap

In the wee morning hours of Sunday, January 22, 2012, my Mom died.  She bravely endured dementia and Alzheimer’s but her little little body finally gave out and God took her home to be whole again.  Even though I knew it was coming, I’ve never endured such a searing and painful loss in my life.  I wasn’t ready to lose her yet, even though her mind had been gone for quite some time.  Her physical absence is harder to cope with than I thought it would be.

As much as life needs to get back to normal, it’s not.  I forget things I used to just naturally remember.  I walk in circles a lot.  My brain operates in a different mode now – not that it’s altogether bad.   I’ve never experienced grief like this before –  physical, emotional, social and spiritual.   The toll it has taken and continues to take has been a bigger mushroom cloud than I thought it would be.    But this I know:  pain = growth, right?  Please nod your head, ‘yes’.

Oh, and there is the crying at wholly odd times.  For example, we used to give Mom a hard time for using too much toilet paper.  Yep.  She was guilty of ‘THE MIT’ for even the lightest of tinkles.  So the other day I burst into tears in the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store.  She loved Neil Diamond, so listening to ‘Sweet Caroline’ in the car Tuesday prompted me to have to pull over.  Sheesh.  Ironically, Mom was a nurse and one of her many specialties was dealing with death & dying.  She’d do work to prepare the patient and then would walk the family through what to expect.  Oh how I wish for her now – for some of that wisdom of how to lose her – gracefully.

But angels are all around.  I am so grateful for the caring support of our tight family and the shoulders of precious friends that don’t mind tears and a tiny bit of snot on them. The flowers, calls and cards have been a groundswell of love that make me – well – cry.  Again. 

I have found healing and solace in curating the beautiful photographs that were taken of her & by her over a lifetime.  I’m preparing a memorial ‘Lyn’s Life in Pictures’ for her memorial service and I’m strongly pursuing the best avenue for this.  Animoto?  I am not sure yet – it needs to be able to support the pictures & accompanying music and possibly text on the pictures…

Not-so-brilliant discovery:  It is going to take time to accept this loss – a lot of it. 

Mom & Mandy 2007

On our way to the 'Golden Scholars' lunch

Brilliant discovery:  there is no RIGHT way to grieve.   Conversely, there’s no wrong way either. 

I have two older sisters and we are all processing the loss differently.  This grief, pain and loss has made me love deeper and to be more compassionate of the challenges in the lives of the people I know and love.   It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Be kinder than necessary.  Everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle.” ( It’s attributed to both T. H. Thompson & John Watson.)  I find that I look at people with a sweeter love filter now because honestly folks – we have no idea what others are enduring at any given moment.   

Here are a few Apps (don’t be too surprised)  I found that actually offer support without having to go to a group, read a book or otherwise do something that is outside of my pain-zone: 

  1. Grief Support ($0.99) – Created by Joe Prainito, who is a Pastor, Grief Counselor & author, he offers audio, video, blogs and discussions on the many faces of grief.  There is a companion book for those who want to go even deeper.
  2. Discuss Grief   ($3.99) – this is a walk through the grief process of one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis.  He wrote a book by this title after his beloved wife died.  The creator of the app has really made this a study one could possibly lead later on.  In the meantime, it’s just good soul food.
  3. Talk Life (free!) – I like this one because it aims to help you through tough stuff in all areas of life, not just losing your Mama. 

6 comments on “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

  1. Amanda, this brings back the loss of my mother.We weren’t as close as my dad and I have always been, but there was this aching void that I simply was astonished by. and the loss of my brother two years later was another void. Now as I watch my Dad slip away, I am reminded of the power of love and the grief we who are left feel when our loved ones die. The truth I have realized:you get beyond but never really over the loss. You learn to live with it. Yet even years later, something can bring it back just as sharply as if it were recent. You have such wonderful memories, and such love. Those never ever leave us but are always there to sustain us. Love you!

    • Sweet Cheryl,
      You’re so right. I don’t think I’ll ever heal – it’ll just get to be a familiar void in my life. I miss her so deeply and it’s still simply surreal – even 2 months later.
      I am so glad you get to be with your Dad so much. He is blessed to have you.
      Love you.
      Let’s go buy sweaters – that always makes me feel better. Heck, works well in England & Oregon anyway!

  2. I did it- after three times I was finally able to read this without bursting into tears myself!! Your words are true, but the emotion scares me. I feel deeply and the thought of loss so personal scares the crap outta me. Heck I still cry thinking of my Bam Bam (grandma) that died in 1997! I think it’s great though you are so honest and reaching out to others. Using technology to help commemorate her and deal with grief is just fabulous too! You could also create a photobook of her and fill it with memories that accompany pictures- it would be a great homage to her and a wonderful gift for others that are grieving. I love mixbook.com, but it’s just a thought.

    Maybe we can do another ‘cookie mom exchange’ at Ruby Tuesdays soon? That was fun and laughter and smiles help to heal 🙂

    Stay beautiful and strong!

  3. What beautiful words you write Amanda. It just seems so unfair doesn’t it, that all around you people are just going on with their lives while you are experiencing such loss. What a wonderful thing that you are using this as a reminder to consider the needs of others.

    When my dad died, a very close friend whose dad had died a few years prior gave me the big heads up about exactly what you were talking about. He told me that when I least expect it the tears will come over something I never would have dreamed of. For me it was seeing his wheel barrow where he last parked it or the sight of an aging Veteran, or coconut cake or the Royal Ambassador emblem or yes, acoustical tile. He spent the first half of his adulthood as a carpenter who specialized in installing acoustical tile. I pray that for you, these unexpected moments will be as they have become for me….sweet reminders of what made our loved one the person we know and love.

    Obviously your Mom was a great lady in all senses of the word.

  4. You have always had a way with words. I wish I was close enough for you to cry and snot on my shoulders. I have so many wonderful memories of your mother yelling Mandy at the top of her lungs.

    My mom went to Heaven 2 years ago and I miss her every day but my mind is at peace knowing that she is talking to Jesus.

  5. My Mom died when I was 17. It was one of the two hardest things I’ve ever lived through (the other being caner surgery at 27). For the longest time I thought I heard her making breakfast in the kitchen. Bit those were my dreams. A poet, who I have forgotten wrote, “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

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