A new normal

Getting adjusted to life after my mom’s death has been nothing short of a monumental challenge.

I’m really not sure how I’m supposed to do this life thing now. I find it hard to concentrate at work. Sometimes I feel like I just want to do nothing. When I do nothing, I feel like I should be doing something.

I feel very lost.

I think about a lot of things related to her death. My mom took a fall at the beginning of September, and I’ll forever believe that started the events that led to her demise. I take the elevator at work now when I can. That’s silly, I know. But I can’t help but think about it. In case you didn’t know, falls are the number one cause of injury or death among older Americans. I don’t think I’m old, but I imagine her falling down the stairs, and I remember the pain and suffering that escalated after that day. I will never know for sure what happened, but that doesn’t stop my mind from coming with with all sorts of scenarios.

It all seems so unfair. She worked all her life and didn’t get to enjoy a retirement. When she was in the hospital in mid-September, I floated the idea to her: “Have you given any thought to retirement?” She loved her work, and I am unsure if she would have retired anytime soon had she lived. Her main concern was having health insurance. She had insurance through her employer, but was afraid that if she couldn’t work, she wouldn’t have coverage. She was worried about that while she lay in that hospital bed, and said to me, “I couldn’t retire until I turn 65 when I would be eligible for Medicare.” Her 65th birthday would have been Dec. 11.

Why is healthcare tied to your employer? Why does it cost so much? How come other countries have this more figured out than we do?

Healthcare in this country is a joke.

I would have loved for her to have retired, get healthier, and then she and dad could have came and visited more. They could have spent time with their grandkids, enjoyed their company, and lived out their days comfortably. But that didn’t happen. Isn’t that something? Most of us think that we are working toward a time when we can kick back and enjoy our lives a little more. But that day may never come.

My thoughts are with my dad. He built his world around her. The house they lived in, with a few exceptions, was built around her. From the countertops she wanted, the color of the walls, the bed they slept in, to the decorations she loved to put up for holidays, he was committed to shaping a life around her. I remember when she went to school in Colorado to work toward becoming a nurse practitioner, he was a bit of a mess. He missed her presence deeply. On the day she returned home, he had a big “Welcome home Linda” (or something like that, I don’t remember the exact wording) sign attached to the side of the house for her (and everyone else in the neighborhood) to see.

He acts like a curmudgeon sometimes, but he’s also a teddy bear.

And now, all of that is gone, ripped away. I’m angry about that. I don’t want it to be true. I’ve wanted to call her this week but it is not to be. I just want to chat, but I can’t.

This is the new normal, and it’s unjust and unfair. I hate it.

One thought on “A new normal

  1. Carol McCoy

    Ahhhhh, Eric. *sigh* I could write you a book. My mom was extremely bitter when *her* mom died; she was a nurse registrar, and hadn’t had an opportunity to retire yet, either. She spent the rest of her life pissed off at God – and I do not wish that on anyone.

    Fast forward to me – I’m 61 now. You know my circumstances (fired/retired….hell, they rhyme so that’s close enough – LOL) and life is different now than when my parents were alive. The thought of a “traditional” retirement frightens me; the thought of kicking back and “taking it easy” sounds boring AF.

    Was your mom happy/fulfilled, doing what she was doing? If so, then be happy for her. You know what scares the crap out of me? Dementia. Let me work, let me be active. . . . and let me drop dead of something. Don’t let me linger, and above all else, do not let me be a burden on my family. Seriously. I don’t give a crap if my kids consider it a “labor of love” – it sure as hell wouldn’t be for *me*.

    How will you live? The same way your parents did when they lost *their* parents. The same way I did after losing my dad. The same way she’d tell you to carry on if she was still here – right? You’ll live well for your wife and kids. You’ll live well to honor her memory. You’ll live well to support your dad. You’ll live well because it’s the right thing to do. And that’s who you are <3


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