As I was finishing cleaning the lake cabin yesterday, I took a break and laid down on the couch (I was having headaches on and off, possibly a sign of changes in my hormone levels). As I was lying there, trying to grasp what was going to happen here in a few hours, I wondered what I would be feeling if it were my mother coming to visit me instead. What would that be like? This is a total fantasy, of course, as my mother has been gone over a decade. But I thought about it nevertheless. I figured it might help me frame things, and give me perspective.
For one thing, while I might have cleaned before my Mom got here, I don’t think I would have gone to such extremes. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted things to be nice for her, but I think she would have been okay with a little clutter. She wouldn’t have cared if my freezer wasn’t spotless or there were vacuum lines in the carpet. She would have understood that those things weren’t important right now. She would be coming to see me. To take care of me. To help me through this grief.
Waiting for her arrival, I think I would have been both excited and anxious (versus the dread and anxiety I have been feeling). The anxiety would be more about knowing that although this would ultimately be a good thing for us, it would not be easy. I would be forced to face the reality of what has happened. It would possibly also bring up some old issues that hadn’t been dealt with. I would be anticipating many tears, but also a release. I think I would also be very grateful.
I imagined my Mother’s arrival, and how all I would want for her to do was hold me like she’d never let go, and just let me cry. I thought about just being able to be held in her arms and sob. To cry until I couldn’t cry any more. To hear her say that it would be okay, and that I was okay. That she still loved me and didn’t blame me for what happened. To feel safe while I let some of this pain leave my body. I thought about what a wonderful gift that would be.
Of course, my mother was not one for letting me cry (or getting sick or showing any other signs of perceived weakness). Crying usually got you banished to your room until you were done. Only then could you return to the living room (or kitchen or her bedroom) and be allowed back in her presence.
I think though, that this time, even she might make an exception for these tears. Being a grandmother was something she actually admitted she wanted to be. Well, not initially.
Growing up, the joke was that if I had kids I would send them to my mother. Her reply was that she would only give me her PO Box, so I would be out of luck. Even back then I had some weird faith in the US Postal Service, and said I would just mail them. She would have to show up at some point to check her box. I guess I figured a kind postal worker would care for them in the meantime.
But as I said, this is all fantasy. Back in reality, I had a house to finish cleaning.
I put off meeting them for as long as possible. We went out to lunch and the grocery store, so weren’t here when they arrived. They wanted to hug me, but I used the grocery bag as an excuse. I felt like I was being attacked somehow.
It became immediately clear that somehow they drew the conclusion that ectopic pregnancy means being sick – physically sick. They kept asking how I was feeling and if I was okay. It was suggested that maybe I needed to eat chicken soup for dinner (while I was preparing a roasted chicken with rice, sweet potatoes and spinach). The message was clear they believe that this is about my physical health.
I told them I do not want to talk about it. I think we are in for a very long 3 weeks.