And it is a very saddish day for me....so read on only if you have the stomach for sad.
My mom, Joan Bailey Hambly, died just before Christmas, 7 months ago.
Her death was precipitated by neglect and abuse from her primary caregiver. He was arrested, but not prosecuted because my older sisters decided not to press charges.
Her primary caregiver was also her son, my younger brother.
It still makes me sick to my stomach.
My journey through this convoluted grief has been intense, and supported largely by my wonderful beloved husband. And mom's death has brought my eldest sister and I together in powerful ways. We tended mom together as she died. It was holy time. I am so deeply grateful for that time.
My mom was a great woman and a great mom. She was an artist, working in fabric as well as with canvas. She used to wake me up and tell me that today was the day I was not going to school because we were going to the museum in San Francisco instead. And we would spend all day together looking at good art. She loved music --played opera full blast, country music, you name it. She loved to cook--a really great cook, and she gave brilliant parties. She was the first female chalicer at her church in northern California. She founded Home Hospice in Sonoma County. She was a nurse, graduate of UC Berkeley and nursing school in San Francisco.
This is my mom at her graduation from nursing school, 1945.
I am not done with my grief. Just not done. For so many reasons. But mostly that I was so far away and unable to extricate her from her God-awful situation. And while my eldest sister and I have grown closer, the rest of it --with the rest of my brothers and sisters (five of us) --it's all pretty much a shambles. Which adds to the grief.
I have kept a grief journal. Here are some of my entries:
I have not yet even begun to try to reconcile with my brother. I am just not yet there, because I know he will never own up to what he let happen, to what he did, --not just once but time and again, and I have to let go of that first.... and while I have catalog cards in my head that help me "know" what to do, I am still grieved enough that I could not be in the place to let my brother be in the place he is.
I am deeply grateful that in the midst of grief, I have still found joy and laughter. I have still found abiding peace. And my snarky humor is returning. Aloft.
So, I ask your prayers on this day for me and my family. And, if you find it comfortable to pray for the dead, I ask your prayers for my mom.
Happy Birthday mama. I love you and miss you.