Tag Archives: Mom

Claws of my Heart

8 Mar

My heart – or better a part of my heart –  has been so tight in recent months, caught in anger that it wasn’t able to process any other feelings. Anger towards a disease science has yet to find a cure for; anger at the person having said illness. It’s been almost six months since Mom’s passing away and only now am I finally feeling the grip of that anger lessen, making it not easier but harder to remember her.

In the last year, I started hating her, yes, actually hating my own mother; hating her for getting sick and being an impossible patient; for making my life miserable and hard; but mostly for reversing our roles. It was all so messed up, I was trying to hold myself together as best as I could while trying to take her to all those doctor’s appointments, making sure she took her meds, ate, didn’t burn down the house, had enough money in her bank account. Those were not my responsibilities, they were hers, she was the mother but I was taking care of her. And I hated it. As her cancer progressed, so did my hatred for her until she died and I was relieved of the never-ending worries of how and when. I was actually glad.

It meant that I could finally breathe again, lick my wounds and start to heal. The months before, I was barely holding on, I was overwhelmed with everything, mostly because I didn’t see it ever changing. A sea of misery and I was in the middle of it, holding on to the smallest piece of wood possible while wave after wave was trying to swallow me whole. I am not sorry for hating her as I know I didn’t hate the actual person but the character her cancer turned her into but it has taken me all these months to actually – finally – miss her because I was still so caught up in my anger.

Now the memories of “patient mom” are fading away and instead the “just mom” sentiments are resurfacing. This sweet, lovely woman that was always trying to give me everything I could possibly want and I am finally missing her. Only, it hurts! FEELINGS ARE THE WORST!

This realisation dawned upon on me earlier today as I was at the university when the thought of a Mom-hug popped into my head out of the blue. I didn’t want a hug but just remembering that I will never be hugged like that again made my eyes fill with tears. Mom-hugs are these special kind of hugs that are filled with unconditional love and an edge of everything-will-turn-out-right-in-the-end that only a parent, but especially a mother, can give. Stupid feelings, I couldn’t start ugly sobbing right then and there in an office with 4 guys. I tried to push those emotions back down but was not successful at it. So I left earlier than I had planned for today because I needed to process these feelings. Holding stuff back only comes back to bite one in the ass and I was not gonna do that. This is me processing because I have feelings and I don’t know where to put them – so I write them down. My answer to everything. Keep on writing.


I Miss You. I’m Strong.

13 Feb

I didn’t even give you a present last year because I was too busy taking care of you, of the house, our lives and myself. Do I regret it? Not really. I’ve never believed in material presents. While it is nice to get them, what do they really say? – “Here, I tried to come up with something so you feel worthy to me.” That has never worked for me. Just bake me a cake and I’m fine. Write me a card and I know you were thinking about me. I don’t appreciate expensive gifts because they imply that the value of a gift correlates to the value of the gift-givers love for you which is just stupid.

Do you remember the time I drove you crazy because all I wanted for my birthday was the complete works of Shakespeare and some obscure Russian literature and you wanted to give me something special?  You didn’t understand how special books are to me. Sorry, this is not supposed to be about me but about you. Oh heck, it’s about both of us.

You knew I wasn’t saying I don’t love you less because I didn’t have a gift for you. You said it was okay. And what do you give a person you know is dying for their – what you presume – last birthday anyway? I was at a loss and to be honest. I don’t even remember what we did on this day last year.

I remember others though. One birthday we spent on a cruise around the Emirates. One time I made you a cake and had to hide it from you because I made it the day before and I tried so hard to get the smell out of the house so you would’t know. You said, you have had no clue but was that just motherly of you? Trying to make me feel good because you knew what I did but didn’t want to spoil it for me? Guess I will never know now. Another year I gave you a poem. Not sure you knew what to make of it but it’s how I communicate. With written words not spoken ones.

Oh Mama, I miss you so much! Not that I would enjoy telling you how my thesis is progressing or what is going on in my love life these days but the thing is. You’re not asking me anymore. I’m not waiting for you to come home from work anymore. All the mess I find in this house is mine now and that is something I don’t miss at all because as much as I love you, you were also a little messy.

Today, the sun is shining. It’s cold and the ground is white from snow. A beautiful winter day. But you’re not here to enjoy it with me. Are you watching me though? Like I imagine you do? Are you sitting up there in heaven with Grandpa chatting about the people you left behind and wish you didn’t have to?

This is really stupid but I’m proud that I’m sitting here crying because for so long, I couldn’t. Even though I miss you every single day, I don’t let the sadness that still competes with anger on a few days overwhelm me. I can only let it out in bits. I am fine, please don’t you worry about me. I understand the circle of life like I understand 1+1=2 just some days are harder but they are few in numbers. You do know that this is just me me being me and not a representation of my feelings for you when don’t break down into a puddle of sadness every time I think of you. I’ve made my peace with your passing even long before you did but I also know that it’s not weakness to be sad every once in a while.

The last picture we took together.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I love you. I miss you.

I Wish I Had Gotten To Know You Better

3 Jan

The number 13 really runs in my family when it comes to birthdays. My Mom, oldest cousin S and myself were born on the 13th of various months. My Granny’s birthday is March 1st or 1-3 so basically a 13. Today is January 3rd which means my Grandpa would have been 91 today if he was still around. Even he has a variation of that 13 in his birth date, especially if you write the date down the American way. I just think this is really cool and I cannot remember but I believe my great-grandma was also born on the 13th of some month or was it my great-grandpa? Not sure.

Happy 91st Birthday Grandpa!

I wish he would have been around longer but sadly, he died over 20 years ago and I barely have memories of him. Granny told me a lot of stories though, some of them I’ve heard many, many times and others are new to me.

After my grandparents got married they decided to start their own company which basically meant working non-stop and being poor as hell. Soon my mom was born which was a great source of joy but times were hard -money was tight. Granny says, she sometimes wasn’t sure if she could afford to buy bread or not. They worked so hard and they made it. They stuck together and just kept going and I love this but then again, they really had no other choice. Even when Grandpa got sick they managed to get through it and come up on the other side. Things were never easy for them but they became quite wealthy for the time and place. Granny’s parents helped them though, mostly with paying for food or clothes in the early days. So when my grandparents finally were doing a bit better, Grandpa got his family-in-law a TV. Mind you, those were the late 50s or early 60s so these things were rare and fantastic and a HUGE deal. As things went back then, it was some kind of deal Grandpa made with the guy selling TVs and it was meant as a thank you for everything his in-laws had done for them. They became one of the first people in their neighbourhood with a TV!

But Grandpa was not only a hard worker, a kind and generous guy, he also had a sense of humour. When my great-grandparents first got their telephone, he pranked them. Back in the days, the telephone was a monopoly  owned and operated by the ‘Deutsche Post’ our then also monopoly postal service. So after the telephone line was installed and operational, Grandpa called his in-laws pretending he was the  Post-Minister and wanted to congratulate them on their new phone line. Needless to say, my great-grandparents were flabbergasted and taking this seriously. They were beyond excited that such a busy man took the time out of his day to phone them and do something like that, just Wow! So they giddily tell my grandparents about the call and  Grandpa cannot keep it together and tells them that it was him calling. I just love this story because it is so ridiculous and cute.

Grandpa was not perfect, nobody is. I’ve heard stories of him getting drunk at parties, being impulsive, making Granny mad or happy – sometimes both at once, showing his love and just being him.

Mom was their first-born and they were debating names. I believe they settled on Dorothee so Grandpa goes to the civil registry to get their daughter registered and he comes home to Granny later telling her that their daughter’s name was not Dorothee as they previously agreed upon but Ingeborg. BAM! So much for talking about stuff that matters. With my uncle, Granny didn’t even pretend to choose a name and let Grandpa work his magic. That’s love you guys!

I believe my ability to fix things around the house and my interest in technology must be credited to him – not that he taught me to do so by himself but that it is in my blood because of him. He was a handy man and quite the inventor in his field. Most of my family is good with numbers and technical stuff – Mom studied Business Administration and my uncle has a PhD in physics. I love math and science and technology. Need I say more?!

Even though he was already quite sick back then, I was their first grand-baby and he couldn’t get enough of me. I would have loved to grow up with him more than I did – with the actual person and not just the stories. I wish he could see how the little girl he loved so much turned out – how she shares his love for office supplies and sports and so many other things, how she shares the colour of his eyes. I really hope he is celebrating the shit out of this day with Mom in heaven!

Happy freaking Birthday, Grandpa!

I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you!

Not My Place

30 Dec

Some days ago I went to visit my Mom’s grave because I haven’t been there in a while but when I finally got there, I couldn’t turn around fast enough. It’s not that I don’t miss her – because I do. Only, I felt extremely out of place. Including the funeral, I’ve been there three times now – three times in over three months.

My Grandpa died 20 years ago and I don’t have live memories of him. Everything I know is because of the stories Granny told me. There are images of their lives together in my head that I never saw but I can still see them. I remember him being sick, and then Granny wearing black clothes and skirts for a long time. I was still in kindergarten back then and I don’t remember much of that time either. I didn’t go to his funeral.

I also didn’t go when about two years later, my great-grandma died and shortly afterwards Granny’s younger brother. By then I was in primary school and I went to classes instead of the funerals. I think Mom and Granny made the right decisions there.

As I spent my time after school at Granny’s we went to the cemetery together quite a lot in order to take care of the graves. Granny always needed a moment to gather herself before leaving but it never meant that much to me. I remember it being boring and tedious unless it was fall and the leaves of the big chestnut trees were falling down, me collecting chestnuts, trying to fit as many of them into my small pockets as possible, jumping into piles of dried leaves. But the cemetery was never a place I went to when I wanted to be close to someone I lost. I never go there on birthdays or the days they died. I had other ways.

Every time I needed guidance or someone to listen but not answer or make me feel less alone I moved my gaze to the night-sky and the stars that were shining. When I wanted to tell Grandpa something, I directed it to the stars and the clouds above me. Poured my heart out to the universe. Graves don’t hold anything for me, I don’t feel closer to the deceased there than any other place except when I look into the sky on a cloudless night.

The infinity of the universe is where I believe all people go once they die. I cannot know if that is actually the case, or if Mom and Grandpa finally reunited there after Mom was called in in September. But I like to think of it that way. I like to think they can watch me and the rest of my family – keep in touch even though they cannot actually answer my questions. I know they are there, as childish as that may sound.

Standing next to their rotten corpses or burnt ashes doesn’t do anything for me. Flesh and bones are not what a person makes, it’s just a shell we need. So, no, a cemetery is not my place. I know Granny needs to go there for whatever reasons I cannot fathom, but I don’t. I have them with me everywhere I go – in my heart and the stars above me.

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