Eleven years ago today, my brother and I sat with my mother while she slipped away. It seemed fitting that he and I were there, as we had been with her all through her illness (cancer, that nasty bitch). My youngest brother had just left to go move his car, and my sister wasn't there for reasons I can't remember. It was expected. She had been diagnosed earlier in the year with colon cancer, and had a volleyball sized tumor taken out of her in April. She went downhill rapidly, but had time to say goodbye to all of us. She told me how proud she was of me for all that I had accomplished, and said I was a lot like her - stubborn and always taking the hard road - never the easy one. While in her later years (which would be late 40's early 50's), I got to know my mother more and more, and enjoy her company. When she had her chemo, it was at the hospital that I worked at, and I was lucky to have a boss that let me take her and go sit with her while she had it done. He also told me that he could find me if he needed me "that's your mother, you do whatever you have to do". In that respect, I was very blessed.
Now... about my mother....
I was sixteen the first time I remember my mother telling me that she loved me. She was borderline abusive, and any time anyone mentioned that there are hotlines now for people like her, she got pissed off. But really - there ARE hotlines now! She was verbally abusive to us as kids. We think that she was bipolar, but undiagnosed. She would go on diets, and start thinking some crazy stuff - one time she thought my uncle wanted her instead of my aunt - silly stuff like that.
It wasn't until we were all adults that she leveled off in her moods, and started to show her fun side. I remember a story of her and my aunts on a "girls" weekend away, where they all had to wear white gloves everywhere they went. And my mother was the driver of the car, and when she decided to leave a store, she would blow a whistle. If you weren't in the car when she put it in park, well, you got left behind. My aunts quickly learned to drop everything and run. Another time they got in an elevator, and when the doors shut, she started beating the crap out of my aunt. The doors slid open, she fixed her white gloves, and walked out like nothing was wrong.
I miss the mother I knew as an adult. I don't miss the mother I had as a child.
I miss the grandmother that I knew she would have been.