Posted in Family

Home and the Re-Entry Phase

I’m back home, after a relatively fast and uneventful drive home. I’m slowly – slowly – getting back to normal. My first impulse yesterday morning was to clean my front hallway. I practically took it apart piece by piece. I somehow needed to get this clean and organized. I figured it was my way of riding my grief in a constructive way. But, about halfway through I suddenly realized what I was doing: cleaning my hallway in some weird effort to bring my mother back. She was very clean and it suddenly made sense why I was deep-scrubbing the entry way and hall. That would have been her entrance to my house.

I broke down after I realized that and ended up losing it for quite a while. Thank God my husband was at the hardware store so he didn’t have to see me yowling all over the place. Things being what they are, though, I expect those experiences to return until they’ve worked their way out of my system.

It does feel good to be back, though. Familiar surroundings and tasks have been very stabilizing. I’m also going to have a massage later this afternoon. I managed to pull a muscle with all that deep-dive cleaning and would like to get that smoothed out, along with the rest of my body which, at this point, could really use it.

Posted in Family

Coming Up For Air

I’m starting to regain my equilibrium after my mother’s wake and funeral. Everything was, thankfully, short. This is the first day after all that and I’ve pulled out the computer to start answering emails and otherwise getting back on track.

This will take a while. Being near my mother’s usual haunts is especially difficult, but I seem to be holding up.

Many of you have sent your condolences and I want to say thank you. It’s made a tremendous difference. I’m going to take things as they come. NaNoWriMo might have to wait another year, along with some other things I’ve been planning to do. The important thing is that I’m getting back to myself and am moving on from here.

My dad seems much more at peace than when my mother was alive. She was in very poor health and he carried the tremendous burden of her care. There were 24-hour aides and then a skilled nursing facility, but he still bore a tremendously heavy burden. I was worried about him, but he’s been far more resilient than I was expecting. My entire family has been, actually. I am grateful for that.

Posted in Family, Health, Life

A Passing

My mother passed away last night. She was 89 years old and in poor health for many years. She was in a skilled nursing facility and had recently contracted pneumonia. I am told that she died peacefully, in her sleep.

I’m saddened but also relieved. In some ways I lost my mother some time ago, as her mental and physical health declined. She was no longer the same person. My own expression of grief occurred a few months ago, following a message from my sister. At that point my mother had again fallen and was in the Emergency Room. My sister was of the opinion that she would not be coming home. I remember sitting at my desk in front of my computer and writing this in my personal journal. I cried for her then and said goodbye. I let her go in my heart, wrenching as that was. I remembered that time when speaking with my brother this morning about what had happened. I relived it in my mind’s eye.

Will I cry again? Probably. But the wrenching, goodbye grief may have already passed. I’m waiting to hear back from my sister with updated funeral arrangements. After that my husband and I will prepare for our trip back to pay our final respects and lay my mother to rest.

I was very close to my mother and knew that she had limited time. I made a decision over a year ago to spend as much time and share as much joy as she needed. I cared for her in Buffalo for seven weeks, then regularly went back and forth to visit her for shorter periods of time. I spent one Thanksgiving in Buffalo General Hospital when she was there. I also saw her at home and had the time to take her out and about. She and I savored walks and gardens together (she was in a wheelchair). We laughed. We had meals together. We opened presents on Christmas, Father’s Day and her birthday. I feel content with that. I did what I felt I needed to do.

So, farewell Helen Rydzynski. If you have an afterlife, may it be filled with the joy you gave us. I’m sad to see you go, but relieved that your suffering and illnesses are finally at an end.

Helen Z. Rydzynski July 28, 1924 - November 2, 2013
Helen Z. Rydzynski
July 28, 1924 – November 2, 2013