Monday, July 23, 2012

Skin and Bones

My dear friend of 24 years, Christina, is going through a difficult situation right now. Her father is battling aphasia. I believe his specific situation has a more detailed name than aphasia, but that’s the overarching issue. As time goes on, he struggles more and more to find the right words to say what’s on his mind. Christina and her family are slowly losing him mentally, and it weighs on her.

As I think back to my mom’s final days, I realize that the mental decline can take a bigger toll on the family than the physical. It absolutely was miserable to see my mom’s body weakening. But the moment I remember my emotional collapse beginning was Monday morning, not quite 40 hours before she passed away, when my dad called to tell me the cancer may be in her brain. I was at my desk when I took the call. I pinged another bestie I work with (Annie of A Girl's Guide to Being Alone) to meet me near the elevators of our office. She sat with me while I choked out the words and calmed down. It wasn’t that we had lost her – she was still at Good Sam at that point. It was that she was gone. Not quite lucid anymore. It was me realizing that I would never have a full conversation with my mom again. The witty banter (yes, witty banter, we were hysterical together) was done. I’ve never been able to fully articulate what that feels like, and I’m not really doing it justice right now.

Sometimes, songs say it better. This isn’t a new song, but once I really paid attention to it, I realized how well it fits. The lyrics crept in my ears and as my brain was considering the weight of the simple words, the music was wrapping around me. This song makes me cry, makes me want to dance, makes me want to talk to my mom. This song takes me back to those days of begging her to hold on. Asking her to keep fighting. Praying desperately that God would spare our family from this pain. Crying to TJ and anyone who could handle me.
Skin & Bones - David J. Roch

This song almost makes grief feel pretty. I wish grieving felt like this song feels in my bones now. (I also wish I didn’t look like Kim Kardashian when I cry.) When I hear this song, I cry, without a doubt. But afterwards, I almost feel like I’ve been cleansed of grief, at least for a little while.

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