Friday, January 28, 2011

Turning Point

For the last several years I have LOATHED February, seriously dreaded it. About mid January I started bracing myself for the dreaded four weeks. Maybe its because endless dreary days out here make me feel like I am stuck on the set of Twilight or the fact that the kids are climbing the walls from cabin fever....but mostly, whether I like to admit it or not, I know exactly were my feelings were coming from....February is the anniversary of my Mom's death after a long difficult battle with mental illness and COPD.

My Mom's illness and eventual passing was by all definitions tragic...Mental illness had robbed her beautiful mind of her talents, cognition, Independence, and ability to have loving relationships with her family. The last few years of her life, this illness had caused my mom to be manipulative, unpredictable and at times rage with anger. Heartbreaking.

About a year before her passing had, I begun to lose my ability to cope, the rug rats were 3,4,7,8 &9 at the time and Grant had only recently returned to full time work. My mom had just been admitted permanently into a care facility. I was exhausted and literally falling apart. Grant recognized our need to leave Southern Alberta, if we were to save our marriage and our sanity. Just six month's before her death Grant found a job and we moved back to the Island.

The right decision for our family, but many judged us for abandoning my Mom, which was deeply painful. Just six months after our move my Mom took a turn for the worse and my sister and I rushed to say our goodbyes...I am still unsure if she really recognized us, but after several days Mom had rallied and we were assured the crisis had past. We headed home.

Just four days later when the phone rang at four am on a Sunday morning...I knew she was gone. My sister explained that Mom had fallen hit her head and died. The grief, which I thought I had prepared for, was like a Tsunami.....I went on auto pilot and the next week was a blur. What surprised me even more was the guilt. I was wounded and broken. Did I abandoned her?, I hated her illness and the hurt it had caused, there were so many unresolved issues and questions. Would my heart ever heal???

There was a sense of peace that mom's suffering was over,but I was still so very hurt and angry and I felt that in that, hurt and anger, I had let her down when she needed me most. The guilt and grief was consuming.....

Over the last almost seven years, life has gone on, there has been much healing and perspective. Many good and happy things have happened, but there has always been guilt and grief in February, but this year there is a change, I feel I have reached a turning point....

Several months a go has part of my calling in RS..I was asked to help with the final arrangements for a dear sister in our ward who had passed away. I have avoided funerals over the last seven years and truly wondered if I had the courage to help were I was needed. After a few tears and a prayer or two I went forward....

And through that experience my heart was healed..... I was unable to help my mom, but I could do for this sister, what I was unable to do for her so many years ago, and that was okay. I think I was finally ready to let my heart heal and let the guilt go. It was a sweet and sacred experience for me, a true turning point.

I look forward to February this year. There are wonderful things about February....Dallyn & Bailey birthdays to start the list...


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