Posted by: Kathy | August 23, 2011

The Power of Death

I know that I missed my Friday “good memory” blog. I have a great one, fitting for this time of year, but there was just no time with work. My job has been sucking the life out of me lately, but I will post that blog this week, along with some great pictures, by Friday. It’s a wonderful memory of not just my mom, but of my mom and her granddaughter. More to come on that soon.

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I lay down, close my eyes, and my mind fills with thoughts of my mom. I guess in a way, I hope that if I’m thinking of my mom when I fall asleep, she will come to me in my dreams. I’ve been worried that since the dream I last had of her, the one in which she was actually dead, that I will never dream of my mom again. This thought brings tears to my eyes because I truly want to spend time with her in my dreams. I guess only time will tell if I will walk with my mom again in my dreams. I miss her.

Over the past 11 years, especially since my mom died, I’ve learned a lot about myself, about life, and about death, as I lost 5 close members of my family in eight and a half years. I’ve seen firsthand what grief can do if you don’t move past it. It takes control of your life and consumes you. About 5 years before my mom died, a long-time friend of my parents lost his wife to cancer. He never let go of the anger, the grief, and the pain from his wife’s death. He never accepted that his wife was truly gone or tried to move forward. The last time I saw this man, he was angry, bitter, and lost in a world of grief and loneliness. He wasn’t living, just existing. It was sad to see.

It took almost 3 years, but I needed to truly accept that my mom was dead, so I could go on living, for me and my family. How pancreatic cancer took my mom’s life is a hard thing to deal with. It was heartbreaking to watch, to feel so helpless as my mom struggled with never-ending pain. My mom and I didn’t talk much about the possibility that she would die, but I know the thing that bothered her most was leaving her grandkids. She loved being a grandmother and cherished the time she spent with my kids. It hurts to think of what they’ve lost in not being able to grow up with their grandmother in their lives. But I can’t allow that pain to overshadow her love for them and all the good she did for them when she was alive. So I keep my promise to her, and keep her memory alive for my children in any way I can think of. They see my pain and know I miss her, but when I speak to my children about their grandmother, I focus on her love for them.

Death has power over the ones who are left behind. It can destroy the living without taking them from this earth. The death of my mother almost destroyed me. I was immersed in a world of pain and guilt, and if I had stayed there, I would have destroyed not only my life, but that of my children as well. I couldn’t do that to them. My mom taught me the power of family love. Our family is small, but we are close. My core family – my husband, my son, my daughter, and my dad – mean the world to me and are what keep me going. They are who helped me to heal, and they will help me to keep healing. I can’t become immersed in the world of death because I owe my family life.

Death has the power to turn life into misery until it comes. I hold on tightly to the quote by Thomas Campbell: “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” My mom is alive in my heart. My mom is alive in the hearts of all those who loved her and who she loved. She touched so many lives before she died with her kindness and caring, and my mom will be remembered my many. My mom is alive in all our hearts, and that takes away the power from death.

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