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01/10/2012 / Julie

Strange Days

I have no idea what I’m going to write in this blog. Maybe it’ll be insanly long, maybe it’ll be short. I don’t know. It will be about the year that’s just been. I don’t know at this point how I’ll be approching it.

As many of you know, my mum died in July. More specifically July 25th. Since then life has been… strange. I didn’t work for the first 2-3 weeks after, but I was soon back at work, and have been working since. I don’t work a lot, which is nice. The world is still moving pretty fast and my energy levels aren’t too high. I feel I’m in a bit of a rut. I take care of my dogs, try to use them as best I can in this time, but I’m not allowed to drive, which keeps me a bit isolated, and I don’t feel like making much of the effort to socialize now.

The fact that mum is gone has properly sunk in by now. The world seems a gloomier space. Mum was diagnosed with scleroderma in 1999. It is a chronic disease which is extremely rare. More people win the grand prize in the lottery, than get scleroderma every year, and most people die with it, not of it. But mum’s health went downhill rather quickly after christmas. Her ilness started to go for her bowels. She went to he doctor a lot, got medications, some helped, others did squat (thank the government for the welfare state and universal health care!). Mum kept trying. She rarely talked about these things. When ever there was talk about illness in our house, she’d say “ugh, let’s talk about something else!”. And we would.

She and her doctors kept on trying. Dad was her confidant at home. They would have been married 34 years on the 22nd of August. After mum and dad went to our cabin down south, mum went back into the hospital. She had been there earlier in the spring. This was now July. She went in for a few days, and came out with intravenous nutrients. And about three days later she went back in. This was her last trip home.

At the hospital, she kept getting worse. Those days kind of blend together. Except the last one. That’s pretty much burned into my memory. She went into surgery 2-3 times. Getting worse each time. She then gradually got worse and worse, untill the machines were the only things keeping her alive. She died with her entire family around her. Husband, children, grand-children, son-in-law and daughter-almost-in-law. She died at 11:10 am on July 25.

Now there’s me, dad and the dogs. They’re good to have, and I’m trying to use them for what they’re worth. Going for long walks, biking, training, etc. I’m also trying to make life a little easier for dad. Doing small things, like not needing to be nagged. One thing I’m trying not to do to often, is walk Romeo. I think dad needs to walk him.

I don’t smile as much as I used to. We had some down time at work, and a puppy at our disposal (we don’t sell puppies, that’s illegal i Norway) so we played some hide and seek. It was the hardest I’ve laughed since mum died, and it felt very good. I want to do something, but I don’t know what. I want to take mum’s car a drive to the middle of the woods, or top of the mountains, bring a tent and a bike and be gone for a few days. I want to move out, and do so many other things, but most of all, I want to drive. But now I have to wait another year.

When it comes to my mum, she’s gone. She’s under the ground decaying. I have memories, photos, Romeo, myself, my sister, my brother, my father. I have every piece of handy craft she has ever made. I hope to get her work ethic, and if I end up in a job that requires it, I hope to get her relationship with the confidentiality clause. My mum welcomed everyone, no matter who you were or what you did. All she required was that you behaved as well you, and that you were yourself.

All of my friends felt at home and welcome at our house. Our door was always open. I could always find a common ground with somone, and I have my mum to thank for that. She thought me accept, and to overlook one thing for the love of another.

While my mum was a social worker, working with teens, she helped a girl, now woman, who is still a good friend. The woman didn’t have a well functioning family, and mum helped her grow up. While mum went in to the hospital, she and her wife had a daughter. Mum would have been like a step-grand-mum to the little girl, and was looking forward to the birth immensely. They sent a text asking if mum wanted them to come by the hoospital, but mum said no. She said no to most visitors. She thought, as we did, that she was going to be fine, once they’d fixed this tummy issue, and she’d have loads of time with the little girl. So she never got to see her little step-grand-daugther, which she had been looking so much forward to.

Today, life is… I don’t know. It’s moving. Suddenly it’s October. Mum’s birthday month. I’m living a relatively normal life for me. I’ve always been by myself, but not to this extent. I need to call someone. I buying lot’s of stuff for the dogs. Don’t really know why. Can’t think of anything else they need now. Oh, hang on.. But luckily I do realise I can’t afford it. I’ve started an aquarium, so there’s one more thing to spend money on. It probably won’t live past November, though. But we’ll see.

Little things hit me harder now. They started to let sheep graze on the fiel where I’d started to let the dogs off lead, and that brought me into a ditch. Life just hits me harder now, somethings I can just ignore, other things will bring me down.

I’ll leave you with a picture of mum and my youngest niece from last Christmas


Leave a Comment
  1. Marcela / Oct 1 2012 02:09

    Let me start by saying that I am really sorry for your loss. Your mom sounds a lot like my aunt Maria. she died January 5th, 2007 around 1am. I find it interesting that we can remember these details, specialy since I have a bad memory. My aunt Maria, just like your mom, was loving and inclusive with everybody. She always made people feel welcome, and even after all these years, my girlfriend, Cynthia, who had the opportunity to meet her, tells me, “I miss your aunt”. This coming from a person that although loving and caring does not get attach to people very easy. Hang in there. You have very dark and painful times ahead of you, but with time, yes time, it will get better, although I still cry when I remember her. Almost 6 years later. The first year, for me, was the worst. I was in so much pain that I ended up getting sick. My colon started to bother me so I went back to my country, Ecuador, and the doctor asked a lot of questions and told me every person is different. When someone is in pain, that pain can manifest in your body as back ache, other heart problems, and so on. In my case, it was my colon. He put me on a special diet and after 7 months I was feeling great and no medication needed. Do you know what he told me? He said, “mourn your aunt, and cry, cry hard if that is what you want, but after you do that, go outside, do something you like. Dancing, biking, spending time with your dogs? Anything at all. Allow yourself time to grieve, but also take care of yourself because I always tell myself this, “Would my aunt want to see me cry?” No. I don’t think time heals all wounds, but it does make them more bereable. Take care or yourself and your loved ones.

    • Julie / Nov 2 2012 18:10

      Thank you for this.

      It’s hard at times, yes, and I was really going through a tough time, when my dad’s planned trip to Berlin with the rest of the “kids” came. It really helped. Just a week-end in Berlin with the family. We managed to enjoy ourselves, which was good. And we talked about everything.

      It’s strange times ahead…

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