Six months

My mom died in July.  I don’t know the exact date. The date on her death certificate and on her headstone is the day I found her in her bed, but she had been gone at least a couple of days before I got there. I try not to go back and pick and pick and pick at that scab. The “what-if” of the whole thing. (What if her boss had actually called me on the first day she didn’t show up at work? What if I had called her over the weekend? What if she had just fucking called me when she got sick? What if she committed suicide and was able to hide that fact?)

I thought I would be a big mess over the holidays since it was always her favorite time of the year. Her birthday is was the day after Christmas and she always wanted sweaters and earrings for gifts. (She was terrible about losing earrings, I don’t know what she did with all those sweaters.) We managed to get through the season without too many tears, no anti-anxiety medication, and relatively low stress. I gave money to a family who needed it and it made me feel a little better. I used some of her money so that Santa could bring something more elaborate than in regular years.

I’m kind of angry at her right now, actually. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t heartbroken over Christmas. Even if she didn’t take her own life in one conscious act, she did it slowly and, I think, possibly purposefully. She had uncontrolled high blood pressure. She struggled with clinical depression. She smoked. She drank.  A lot.  The last medications we were able to find in her apartment were prescribed were four or five years ago. I really don’t think she had been to the doctor in years. I don’t think she wanted to live a long life. She didn’t want to end up like her mother and grandmother who were completely wiped blank by dementia in their nineties. So, she didn’t do anything about the blood pressure. She exacerbated it with alcohol and nicotine. She didn’t give a thought to the fact that she had two granddaughters who loved her very, very much and that she had grandchildren still to come that she hadn’t even bothered to meet yet.

I read one of her old journal entries that described her plan to go to a hotel in Laughlin and kill herself with pills she’d hoarded over the years. She couldn’t find a hotel room though, so she came home. She thought a hotel death would somehow soften the blow. She had chosen to discontinue her depression medication. This was right about the time that I was pregnant with my youngest, but she apparently didn’t care. She was obviously in the grip of a depression that I can’t even begin to understand, but I’m still pissed off about it.

I like to think that she wouldn’t commit suicide at home because she would have known that I’d be the one to find her. I don’t think she’d do that to me. The complete lack of self-care and resulting death though, she did do that. She did it to me and to my sister and to my kids and to my unborn niece or nephew. She did that and I’m trying to forgive her.

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