Ever since I started trying to get pregnant, my mom was always on my mind. Now that I'm pregnant and in the condition that I am, she is even more present than before. When she passed away over four years ago, I was engaged to Brett and I couldn't stop thinking about how hard it would be the next year on my wedding day to not have her with me. Frankly, every process leading up to the wedding was hard because before she got really sick, I had the expectation that she would help me pick out a dress, plan the shower, give a toast at the rehearsal dinner, etc. Now that I am at the next stage in my life and about to become a mother myself, not having her here is 100 times harder than what I went through for my wedding. That was ultimately only one day, but having my own children will be for the rest of my life and she can't be there for even one minute of that. I do strongly believe in ghosts and spirits and know that she is with me right now in that sense. When I first found out that I was pregnant, I would tell people that my mom was the "behind the scenes production manager" making sure these babies are growing and developing perfectly. I even think that she had something to do with the perfect timing of catching my major pregnancy complication before it caused us to lose the twins. My mother is definitely my guardian angel so I take comfort in knowing that even though she is not here physically, she is working her magic in ways we can't see with the naked eye. Even with this reassurance of knowing that she is around me, it does not make up for the fact that my kids will never get to meet her when they are born or grow up with her as their doting grandmother.
At this point, I do not have any more anger regarding her death but only disappointment that her life was cut so short. Since she passed away from a disease that was completely preventable (COPD), it is frustrating to think that if she just stopped smoking at the first signs of trouble, she could still be around today. In a way, she chose her own death and with that choice came the consequences of not being around to enjoy her grandchildren. I stopped being angry about it because that ultimately was her choice and not mine. I had no control and there was nothing I could do to stop her from smoking. She would always tell me "why should I quit smoking today when I could get hit by a bus tomorrow?" or "I want my last breath to be mentholated." My mom had such a fatalistic attitude and never wanted to give up something that gave her such pleasure because in a way, she believed she would eventually die from something else or at least hoped that she would. She constantly told me about people who smoked just as much as she did that were never affected by smoking related illnesses which helped justify her decision to never quit. Unfortunately, fate would not let her be one of those "lucky smokers" and she passed away very slowly and in a lot of pain.
As I now lay bed ridden, I can't help but remember my mom at that time of her life when she was always at some hospital. Part of the reason for choosing my current hospital so far from where I live is because I have bad memories of my mom at pretty much every hospital in the valley. Regardless of my choice and being in the happiest ward possible, my father still has not come to visit me, probably because of his own bad memories of my mom in hospitals. I completely get where he is coming from but if the tables were turned, I would suck it up and do the right thing. Again, I have no control over his choices just like no one had control over mom's smoking habits. But at a time like this, if I can't have my mom with me, I would really love to have my dad.
With all of this time to sit here and think, I wish that I could at least just talk to my mom and ask her advice about pregnancy and parenting. I do talk to her late at night but the conversation is very one-sided and I get no answers. Luckily, I do have others to turn to and a bunch of family and friends to "fill in" for my mom but nothing compares to the real thing of course. I have a picture I look at everyday of her holding me when I was about two that I keep next to my hospital bed. I think about how much joy she could have had with the twins and can only pray that before they are born, she is able to spend time with their souls while still on the other side. Who knows...maybe my kids will be able to see and talk to her when they are little since most children have that ability to communicate with spirits at a very young age. Or for those of you who don't believe in that stuff...they will make a new "imaginary friend."
*The song "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" is from the 1986 Broadway musical The Phantom of the Operawhich is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most famous shows. In the musical, Christine sings this song about her late father when she goes to visit his grave. Even though this song of mourning is written about a father, ever since September 12, 2007, I hear it and instantly think about my mom and how I lost her too soon. Overall, losing a parent at any age is difficult. In my case, I was able to enjoy having her in my life for nearly 26 years which may seem short to most. But then I think about all of the people who have lost a parent much younger than I was, or never even knew their parent because they were too young to remember. I keep running into the fact that there is always someone else who is less fortunate. At least I have 26 years of memories and great times I can look back on so that I can tell hundreds of Grandma Trudy stories to my kids. Some people only have pictures with just a few stories that came from someone else's memory. The focus should never be on what was lost, but what was gained. Everyone who knew my mom was so lucky to have her in their lives for as long as they did. Even if they only knew her one day, that would have been better than none at all.