08 December 2022

Three years

Today marks three years since my mother died.

Somehow it still feels as if her absence is temporary, something that will eventually end, and then things will be back to normal.  After being close for a whole lifetime, and the nine years I spent focused on taking care of her after her stroke, the absence seems oddly unreal.

Lately I've been having dreams in which she is still alive -- very vivid dreams.  After one of them, I could still remember details of what we were talking about, for days afterward, even though it's very rare that I can remember dreams at all.  When I wake up from these, I often feel cheated as I realize it was just a dream and not real.

She knew a lot about music.  When I went to visit I would often bring some new piece of music I had heard to see what she would think of it.  Whenever I hear a new piece of music now, I still feel the impulse to do that.

I've read that when you know a person very well, part of your brain actually organizes itself for the very complex task of relating to that person -- and that if the person dies, that part of your brain still keeps trying to do its job, conjuring memories and imagined interactions to replace the real ones which are no longer occurring for it to handle.  I can understand how humans have come to believe in ghosts.

The loss is too much to bear, yet there is no alternative but to bear it.  This is the curse of mortality.


Anonymous Johnny Profane Âû said...

Warm thoughts my friend.

08 December, 2022 03:47  
Blogger bluzdude said...

As you know, I lost my Dad last year and it's still a major blow. This year, as I look for Christmas presents for the family, I see things and think, "That's perfect for Dad... oh wait..."

My continued condolences...

08 December, 2022 05:34  
Anonymous NickM said...

"I've read that when you know a person very well, part of your brain actually organizes itself for the very complex task of relating to that person -- and that if the person dies, that part of your brain still keeps trying to do its job, conjuring memories and imagined interactions to replace the real ones which are no longer occurring for it to handle."

I think you could well be onto something there.

That and what Jonny Profane said.

08 December, 2022 07:17  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

That penultimate paragraph puts into words how the passing -- 14 years apart -- of both parents felt to me. Perfectly. Always wishing you the best...

08 December, 2022 07:45  
Blogger Jimmy T said...

My mom died a little over a year ago. She made it to 97 which is remarkable given the family history. I really don't miss her though, as she was a Trumper to the very end. Yeah that was a sad and inexplicable thing, but given her god centric view of the world it was understandable. It's as if god chose Trump to be president, which seems to be a central fallacy amongst the many right-wing christians. If I had any regrets about our relationship it would be that sanity never seemed to intrude upon her world, I wished it would have...

08 December, 2022 07:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a famous modern poem in GB

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They dont mean to, but they do ...

08 December, 2022 08:10  
Blogger Mary said...

I lost my mother 32 years ago and I still think of here every day, but I don’t dream of her, yet we were very close, so I actually envy you in that. I lost my husband almost 10 years ago and occasionally dream of him, but just something brief. Yet our marriage had deteriorated a bit the last 11 years and I didn’t "feel the love" like I did with my Mother. There’s nothing quite like the love of a wonderful Mother. I consider myself lucky and you, as well.

08 December, 2022 08:44  
Blogger Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I have no words other than I share your sense of loss as my parents too are gone.

But they are with me to the end. From the face I see in the mirror reflecting the faces seen in old photos to voices in my head that still echo a parent's unconditional love.

A resident asked me years ago how I decided what was ethical and what was right. I told them about the little inner dialogue I have. For ethical, I place what I'm thinking into a sentence that starts, "well, Your Honor, it was like this..." If it sounds ok then it probably is. For right, the sentence starts, "Well, Dad, it was like this..."

08 December, 2022 09:22  
Blogger Lady M said...

I am sorry for your loss. I was close to my mom and 20 years on I still dream of her. I always say "where did you go?' but she never answers. Now I dream about my Dad too. I think when you truly love someone, you never stop missing them.

08 December, 2022 14:32  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

One day at a time. Eventually it hurts a lot less.

08 December, 2022 14:44  
Blogger Ami said...

There aren't ever the right words to say, but the closeness of your relationship with your mom and her great fortune in having a son who loved her are both wonderful things.

I had never heard or read the theory you posted, but it makes perfect sense.

I'm not mystical or spiritual or religious at all, but I believe love is an entity. It starts out small and grows and grows until it has a life of its own. And as long as the people who helped make it are here, that loves exists. I don't know where it goes when the people who made it leave, but I find that comforting when I think of those people I love who are gone now.

I am glad you have memories to treasure.

08 December, 2022 19:36  
Blogger run75441 said...


It is harder when you are alone. My wife and I have been together for 51 years now. We still do things together. Although she is slowing down. I can't get her to walk even around the block. I am afraid I will be alone myself some time.

I still remember my dad and my mom well enough. My dad would make Gingerbread houses for all the grandchildren. My mom would take them to downtown Chicago to have lunch, go to Mashall Fields during the Christmas season. She made a big deal out of it or them

My brothers and sister and I left our parents alone, brought back our grandchildren and then they left us just like we left our parents. It is nice to be free and hard to be alone.

I believe we made them happy by having families of our own and flocking around them on the holidays. Ten children making a lot of noise.

And now there is silence except for the clock. Peace my friend

08 December, 2022 21:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Johnny: Thanks, I appreciate it.

Bluzdude: Yes, that's exactly the feeling. We never made much of Christmas, but I often think that when I see or hear something she'd like.

NickM: It certainly feels that way. It would explain a lot.

Hackwhacker: Thank you. I guess this is why we feel that those we have lost live on within us, somehow.

Jimmy T: Religion does seem to poison everything. It's sad that that barrier became such an issue. I've known what it's like to essentially lose somebody because of extremist beliefs, but never anyone so close as a parent.

Anon: It's true in some cases.

Mary: I can well imagine that the grief and memories never entirely stop. I hadn't actually had dreams about my mother for a long time. I don't know why I started in the last few weeks.

09 December, 2022 03:13  
Anonymous Reaganite Independent said...

I am truly sorry for your loss— touching post. Life is fleeting. But your dreams of her seem like a positive thing to me

I lost both my parents a few years ago, but we had no real relationship. I was adopted and never fit in at all, while they were anti-intellectual and lived in their own friendless, joyless, insecure dreamworld. Also had an adopted idiot brother who was even worse. Ghosted him a decade ago, and still celebrate the day.

Honestly I have almost no positive memories of my childhood when any of them were in the room or nearby, but luckily was outgoing from an early age, learned to amuse myself when home, and evolved as independent and capable because of all that.

My father was actually jealous/undermining me (from about the age of five) because he feared I was going to be smarter -and taller- than him. Seems I reminded him of his older brother who he never earned the respect of . That lasted until the day he died.

Then I tried to contact my biological mother… she died three days before the letter arrived. I did manage to find a half sister -and spoke with her on the phone once- but shortly after that she was busted for felony meth distribution, now doing 10 years in FCI Butner. So is her idiot (biker) husband. Nice, huh.

So I’ve never even met anyone in my life related to me, and my immediate family interaction was 99% a negative drag

Be glad for what you did have Infy, many people in this world never saw a day of it.

09 December, 2022 03:23  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Pliny: I think they never entirely leave us.

I never thought about it before, but I don't think I ever relied on my parents for a sense of a moral compass. There were a couple of times when I strongly disagreed with them about major decisions. I guess I just had a very strong internal sense of what was right. But it never poisoned the personal relationship.

Lady M: I think it's that way too. The feeling of their presence never goes away.

In the dreams it never occurs to me to ask where she is now, because she's still there. Somehow in the dreams I don't remember she's gone.

Ricko: It does hurt less with time, that's true. There's still a powerful feeling that it's strange and unreal.

Ami: Her doctor and the people at the care facility always told me I was being a "great son" by visiting so often and being attentive. It helps a lot, knowing I did the best I could.

If love is an entity that grows and resides in our minds, then it's more real than the gods.

Run75441: That's true, being alone can be difficult sometimes, even for someone as introverted as I am. If I'd been married or formed the kind of long-term relationships some people do, it might be easier. Too late for that now, I think.

American culture seems to promote isolation by making the nuclear family the exclusive norm. People lose a lot by not keeping up relationships with grandparents and other relatives. It was especially so with my family since my parents were immigrants. We only saw the extended family during trips back to Britain. Really, there were and are no other relatives for thousands of miles.

I have a clock too, an old one that ticks.

09 December, 2022 03:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Reaganite: That must have been terrible, to feel so isolated when you're young and vulnerable. I don't know why anyone would adopt a child if they didn't intend to do better than that. On the other hand, being around that sister might not have been any better.

I do feel grateful for what I had. There are a lot of positive memories, and at least I know I did right by her when it counted.

09 December, 2022 03:35  
Anonymous Annie said...

Infidel: You so often bring something unusual and enlarging to your posts. In addition to being moved by this poignant recollection, I learned the concept of the brain’s retention of its organizing itself around one’s caring. That makes a great deal of sense.

My parents, with whom I was very close, have both been gone for more than a decade. But last month I found a small box with my name written on it in my mother’s handwriting. Inside was a delicate gold bracelet (I’ve no idea of its value). I wept as if I’d just lost her, put the bracelet on, and have been wearing it since.

Treasure the memories and the strong knowledge that you did everything you could for your mother. That’s so important. And though you’re an introvert, one never knows what’s ahead. You may not always be alone.

09 December, 2022 12:53  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Annie: Thank you, I appreciate what you've written. I can imagine how finding the bracelet must have affected you. Not much chance of something like that happening with me, given the logistics of how I had to clear out her stuff at the residential facility. But I have a few things from our time together, recordings of her voice, things like that.

I hope the memories will remain clear as long as I last. And yes, it makes all the difference now knowing I didn't fail her when it counted.

10 December, 2022 09:40  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I lost my mom 11 years ago and though the pain lessens over time, it never goes away completely. All we can do is keep trying to go on.

10 December, 2022 12:58  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Yes, I guess we have no choice.....

10 December, 2022 23:53  
Blogger Martha said...

Sending you warm thoughts. It gets easier over time but the loss never truly goes away.

11 December, 2022 16:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Martha: Thanks, I appreciate it. It does feel like the sense of loss will never really end.

12 December, 2022 02:20  
Blogger Daal said...

my heart goes out to you, Infidel753 -- such is the knife edge of love. for me, I console myself that this is what being human is. we aren't alone & so true is Tennyson's "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

13 December, 2022 16:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

That is true, although it would be best not to lose at all. We're so close to being able to defeat the aging process. I just wish it had happened in time for her.

14 December, 2022 04:31  

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