Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Impossible

"Oh God, Oh God! that it were possible
To undo things done; to call back yesterday!
That time could turn up her swift and sandy glass,
To untell days, and to redeem these hours." ~ Thomas Heywood

Lately, I have felt my mom's absence in a huge way. When she passed away in February there was plenty to keep me distracted, what with packing, moving, etc. But now things have settled down, the daily calls from friends and relatives have slowed, and this allows more time for pesky thoughts to come barging in, intrusively demanding my attention. I keep pushing them away, but if I don't deal with them, I am awakened at 2 or 3 in the morning with their annoying persistence.

I guess specifically, I want a do-over for that whole period in the hospital with my mom. When the doctor said she wouldn't last more than a few hours off the breathing machine, then went on to live SEVEN MORE DAYS, I wish I had gone back to the doctors after DAY ONE and demanded, "Put her back on the machine. Now." But I didn't do that and it plagues me every single day. When you're exhausted and emotional and scared, it's not the best time to make a life-or-death decision. It really shows what you're made of, and I feel like I failed my mom, that I gave up too easily. Even though I had a team of doctors telling me that her quality of life would be severely diminished, that she would be in a nursing home unable to do for herself, I am still left to wonder... And she haunts some of my dreams.

Those are some of the things I have been dealing with lately. Sorry, didn't mean to get all Debbie Downer on you, so enough of that! All of us have our problems, right? Photography to the rescue! Last week I found another arboretum and got these photos. I have never seen coleus in such abundance. And finally, a clouded sulphur that sat still enough for me to get some shots!







"If tears could build a stairway, and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again."

 Linking up with Rural Thursday


Comments now closed. I deeply appreciate all of the wonderful advice and personal emails! I'm much better now!

36 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

dear sweet gail, you cannot beat yourself up over this! your mother is most certainly not blaming you for letting go too easily. she is probably relieved to have moved on from this life to the next, and tries to comfort you in your own grief and guilt. there is no reason to be guilty for doing what you thought was best for her, especially on doctor's suggestion. the grief, the loss, yes. that'll continue to come for years. the guilt you feel is unwarranted and you have to let.it.go!

now, the sulphur is gorgeous. i want you to remember something that your mother held dear, and every time you see it, you consider she is sending a message to you that she loves you and wants you to be kind to yourself.

Renae said...

Wow! Thank you for joining me. I hope you were able to see all of my available photos while you were there. I was experiencing technical difficulties some portions of the morning. I've going through some guilty stuff too regarding my brother's passing. Life is hard at times but we have to figure it out, too. I hope things are better for you soon.

Evelyn S. said...

Gail...I agree with Theresa! You cannot let guilt determine the rest of your life. I really have what might be considered an odd view of such a situation: a generation ago, you wouldn't have had to make this choice because there wouldn't have been one. That's because Nature had more to do with it than medical science. Certainly, doctors don't have all the answers, but they generally have a very good idea. I would certainly not want my mother to experience a severely diminished existence. You helped your mother.

She Who Carries Camera said...

Gail, you are not alone. Having to hold the power to someone else's life is a burden no one wants or ever hopes for. SO, the only thing to concentrate on is what your mom wanted. She had faith in you to do the right thing "for her". As far as speaking to her, after my dad died, even after Simon died, I found my peace outdoors and even spoke to them out there. We even have a special spot for Simon where we can seek some inner consolation. The butterfly thing totally sucked me in, since i had never heard of such a thing, but now I do. If you are unaware of what I'm referring to, write me and I find the post I wrote a few years ago about it. Hugs.

Michelle said...

Oh, Gail...I know the grieving guilt well. My grandma started the dying process a month before she passed...and we had no choice but to put her in a nursing facility at the end. I was miles away from home...no better option. I want a do over, too. But...we both know we did the best we could with the circumstances we were given and no do-over would change God's decision to take our loved ones home. My heart breaks for you because I know the rollercoaster. One minute you're on top, next you're just hoping to hang on. Your mom knew you loved her and I'm sure it meant the world to her that you moved there and helped her all the way through. Praying for peace to envelop you...and praying you will get better sleep. (((take care)))

Ruth said...

Such beautiful images, I love the macros especially :)

Shug said...

Hey Gail....gosh girl, I could have written this post myself! That last quote is engraved on a stone and it sits at the end of my mom's grave.
After 7 years, I still am carrying guilty feelings of the what if's or the should I's. (I'll have to share this with you later) I too have experienced MANY of those dreams that just keep on coming back.
Hope you'll just ask God to cover you with a bubble of Peace while you sleep. I'm praying for you!
Asking God to Bless you above and beyond.
Hugs,
shug

Butterbean Row said...

Gail, I am with Theresa too. Don't be so hard on yourself. I am sorry for the loss of your Mom but I think things progressed the way they had to. Being in a nursing home around others who are no longer living to the fullest would be devastating to you and your mother. Take solace in knowing that you will see her again. You are a good loving daughter.

hugs,

charlotte

Deanna said...

Oh Gail, I can so relate to your feelings of guilt and distress. My Mom had a stroke and we thought she was going to make and then the Dr's told us that she would be in a nursing home, totally dependent, with (if she lived through the surgery) a feeding tube...terrible quality of life. We needed to let her go, but it was so difficult and I still have some guilt over that decision. But I know she would not want to live in those conditions, she had made it quite clear in earlier discussions, so in the end, the right decision was made....yours was also. Be kind, you cannot re-wind, only look ahead to the beauty of life.

Buttons said...

Oh Gail I do not know you but understand where you are coming from. Grief is so hard to get through if you think about things you could have should have. I am sure your Mom would never want you to feel that way.
Try to keep yourself busy but give yourself time to grieve it is OK.
I truly understand. Take care HUG B

Patrice said...

Gorgeous photos, Gail. So sorry you're missing your mother...

Linda said...

I'm so sorry for the death of your mother, but it does no one any good to beat yourself up over it. You did your best for her, and that's all anyone can do.

These images are so beautiful that they should cheer a saddened heart. Your butterfly macros are truly special.

Terri Buster said...

I wish I had words to take away the pain, but I can tell you that many of us have been where you are.. Please don't be too hard on yourself...so sorry for you loss.

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Gail,
The passing of a parent is very difficult under any condition. You can't blame yourself for listening to the "professionals". You made the decisions you did with the most sincere belief that you were doing what was right for your Mother. You can't ask what if --- know that your Mom is out of pain and with God. If you believe - you know she is with you - and I'm sure she is concerned about the agony that you're putting yourself through. You can't go back and you can't continue to live with what ifs --- keep your Mom's memory strong with thoughts of the good times and the love you had!There IS a here after!!
Your flowers and butterflies are lovely!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh Gail dear -- your pictures are amazing and they cheer me up...

But please please don't beat yourself up over your mom's death. It's really such a hard time and not a good time to make a decision, you are absolutely right about that. And it is so hard to lose your mother and you will always miss her.

But You did the right thing. Please believe me -- we've seen what 'severely diminished quality of life' means and your mother wouldn't have wanted that.

Gone Country said...

Making that decision is something I wish no one would ever have to make. Having made that decision just recently with my Mom I know how you're feeling. If your Mom was anything like my Mom then she appreciates your decision because she would not want to live if her quality of life was not 100%. Please trust God that you made the right decision. You're in my thoughts & prayers.

Beautiful photos too!

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

We listen to the professionals believing they know what is best. Know that GOD had her mind and she was not aware of what was going on. IF GOD can be with a sparrow that falls to the ground, HE was with your mother. For we know the one that roams this earth, whose time is short and is seeking whom he may devour also can put negative thoughts in our mind. He wants your focus on the negative to keep you in turmoil but do not let that happen. KEEP your focus on the LORD and know GOD was in control and was there with her.
Keeping you in prayer for the Lord to relieve you from your guilt you feel.

beth said...

oh sweetie....
there will always be wondering and questions when our loved ones leave us behind.....always.

don't let the guilt bring you down. keep picking up that camera and sharing your beauty with us....xo

Deb Crecelius said...

You have been given much good advice.
God is good; go to Him.
He forgives and will help you to forgive yourself :)

hootnonny said...

Oh Gail, I'll pray that you will have peace.

Kerry said...

Aww, Gail. Teresa said it so well, and I just want to second that. The end-of-life decisions can't be second-guessed, and your mother is in a peaceful place now. I would have made the same decision that you made.

Sleep well, knowing that you did the best you could.

Your photos are, of course, gorgeous.

ladyfi said...

Gorgeous shots! I'm with TexWis Ranch girl here - don't beat yourself up. Sometimes we just have to let the ones we love go - no matter how painful it is.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

You describe the grieving process beautifully. I think we all, every one of us that have had to do it, second-guess those tough end of life decisions.

bailey-road.com said...

Since my mother passed away in January, I have felt an emptiness in my heart and life. I miss her, but I know that she is at peace and no longer suffering. I'm sure your mother felt your love and that you did your best to care for her. Cherish memories of the good times.

Stewart M said...

Dealing with the death of a parent is never easy - I had to deal with it when I was 16, which did not make the teenage years any easier.

But the only way to deal with the situation is to deal with the situation - by this I mean that the feelings of loss are natural and (eventually) beneficial and need to be be embraced, rather than rejected. We all need to mourn, and it probably better to do it at the time than do it 15 years later!

Seeking a release in nature is a great way to go - it's natural!

Hope you dont mind a serous comment for once!

Stewart M - Australia

Justine said...

oh you poor thing, what a burden you are carrying, you mustn't let it take over your life. It must be eating away at you which is not good, you did the right thing. I hope it gets a bit better for you.

Linda R said...

My heart and prayers go out to you this morning. And a great big HUG!

Nancy Claeys said...

Gail -- we never know when these thoughts will creep in. I still have thoughts and dreams of my father, 7 years after his passing from Alzheimers. But now, they are all good ones. You are still grieving dear. Sometimes it's painful. Have no regrets -- life is too short. xo

cat @ sea.sky.stone. said...

I'm so sorry you're hurting, Gail, and I know it's hard not to second-guess everything. But you were with your mother at the end, and you cared--in my book, no one could ask for better than that. Be gentle with yourself *hugs*

Phil said...

Gail, you musn't let these thoughts take over your whole life at the moment. It sounds as though you did exactly the right thing for your mother and nothing could have been worse than to watch continued suffering. The last quote is just a wonderful few words.

Lynn said...

Ah, Gail. You have such support here on this page. I’m going to quote Susan, “Your flowers and butterflies are lovely!!” That’s for holding on to at dreamtime tonight.

Marco Alpha said...

Hey Gail,
Wonderful shots. Amazing with these brightly colors.
Much strength with the loss of your mother. It needs time to give this all a place for yourself.
Good luck!!

Many greetings,
Marco

Mitzi said...

awe sweetheart...I'm so sorry...I know it's easier said than done, but try not to beat yourself up too much on this. Unfortunately we cannot turn back the hands of time, but boy would that be a feat if we could. Your photography is always awesome and like me, you have discovered that photography is a great way to escape. I need to find an arboretum...Big hugs to you sweet Gail, xoxo

rainfield61 said...

"If tears could build a stairway, and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again."

This is so beautifully written.

I saved it.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Gail thank goodness for the solace of photography and the beauty surrounding us. I have found it an ever increasing comfort since my own Mum died last year. Take Care I empathise with you.

kenkiz said...

magnifique serie