It’s always weird to see the rest of the world going on with life like nothing’s happened when your own world seems to be standing still.
Lee’s mom passed away this morning.
Lee wasn’t very close to his mom. He was raised by his grandmother after his mom abandoned him as an infant. She came in and out his life several times, but never made much of an effort to be a big part of his life. And eventually Lee stopped letting her try. He never told her to stay away from him, but he wasn’t exactly waiting with open arms either.
Several years ago I wrote her a an email after I couldn’t take it anymore. I explained how much she had hurt Lee in the past and gave her specific examples of things that she had done that really broke his heart. She didn’t take kindly to my email. Although I never once called her names in that email she took it as a personal attack and cut all contact with us [which was extremely limited contact in the first place]. She stopped acknowledging the kids’ and Lee’s birthday. She stopped sending Christmas cards. She just stopped. She was mad at me but took it out on her son and her grandchildren.
I have thought about that email several times in the last six months since we found out she had terminal cancer. Should I have sent it? Or should I have just kept my mouth shut? Now that she’s gone I’m glad I sent it. I’m glad I did it while I had the chance. I’m glad we got the chance to tell her exactly how her actions have impacted those in her life, at least how it’s impacted Lee’s life. Life’s to short to keep quiet; to not speak your mind.
Lee had been speaking to his mother again in the last year and a half. Not a lot, but they did speak over email and she began sending pictures again. Lee invited her to visit our personal website and view pictures of the kids. And she even came for a visit shortly after Christmas. It didn’t make up for a lifetime without her, but I’m glad Lee was able to share some moments with her in these last few months of her life.
Before the email incident, before Caleb was even a thought in our mind, Lee’s dad died. Lee could count the number of times he’s seen his father on one hand and still have a few fingers left over. But we went to the funeral anyway. It was his dad after all. Lee was pretty torn up about the funeral. Not really at the lose of the man. He didn’t even know the man. But he was upset about the lose of a chance. There’s no second chance. He will never, ever get to sit down and talk to his dad. He will never have the opportunity to get to know him and find out what made him who he was. And that’s sad.
Lee’s going through that again with his mom. I think it’s almost harder to lose your mother when you barely know her than it is to lose your mother who you’ve loved and cherished your whole life. When I lose my mom [and please God let that be at least thirty to forty years down the road] I will have lots of good memories to remember. I’ll have childhood experiences to thank her for. I’ll have special traditions that I’ve passed down to my children and they’ve passed down to theirs. I’ll have places, symbols, songs and TV shows that will spark memories in me to remind me of her and her smile and her laugh. Lee doesn’t have any of that. And now he never will.
She was at his graduation. She was at our wedding. And Lee has a handful of other visits with her that he can always cherish. Hopefully these are the moments he can hold on to and remember, instead of the absences.
Lee doesn’t know how to feel. It’s his mother. He’s supposed to be sad. You feel sad when your mother dies. And he is sad. But then there’s part of him that is struggling with that. He thinks, “Why am I crying for a women I barely knew? She’s practically a stranger.” But she’s not a stranger. She’s his mom.
I’m rambling. I can’t help it. I’m sad too. I’m sad for Lee who will never again have the opportunity to really love his mother and to create cherished memories with her. I’m sad for my children who never really knew their grandma and now never will. I’m sad for Lee’s sisters; Tana, who just became part of Bert’s life again about ten years ago and had formed a real bond with her, and Lisa, who refused to ever meet her mother and now will never have the chance. I’m sad for Bert’s family; her husband Bleu who will be forever changed by the loss of his wife, and her brothers and sisters who lost somebody they grew up with. It just sucks. And it’s not really fair.
Sleep on now, and take your rest.
Bert, may you rest in peace and suffer no more. You will be missed.