A rambling note that I hope is somewhat coherent

As many of you know, my mother passed away on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 4:10pm. This hasn’t been an easy experience for any of us, including myself. For those who are unaware, my mother died from a glioblastoma brain tumor. She fought it for twenty-three months, almost 8 times as long as her initial prognosis. For that, I am thankful to the surgeons who initially saved her life, to the doctors who subsequently extended it, and to those who made her finals days as comfortable as possible.

To my readers, I’m sorry I haven’t posted much in the past month or so, I just haven’t been motivated to do so. Give me a little time, I ask, and I’ll get back into it.

That being said, grieving is probably one of the most difficult times for me. Partly because coming to the realization that the person I loved is forever gone. Partly also because I’ve have to withstand a barrage of people telling me that my mother is in a better place, with God now, is enjoying peace with other deceased family members. I even had one person tell me that my mom was flying about, literally flying about in the clouds. I’ve don’t my best not to get angry with this, as such sentiments may be comforting to the person expressing them.

I was in the room and watched on as my mother passed. I would be lying if I said at this moment I did not understand the comforting value of religious belief and ritual. I was brought up in the catholic faith, and at this moment I felt the urge that some sort of ritual should be performed. I knew though, that such an act would only be comforting to me in the moment, and wouldn’t really have any bearing on what was left of my mother. My rational mind held my irrational thoughts in check. This should not be taken as evidence for some kind of divine, but just for what it is, my own experience.

There is comfort to be had, though. My mothers death marked the end of several months of being in what was essentially palliative and hospice type care. My family can finally bring closure to this ordeal. While my mother will be missed, and that’s an understatement, it is comforting to know that her suffering has ended.

I still have trouble seeing all of the old pictures of my mother, before her brain was invaded by rogue cells. And it is difficult to think about how my younger siblings and step father are coping. It will take some time to grieve through this, but life does go on, and my mother would have wanted us to continue to grow. I know she would be proud of what I’m doing with my life, and would continue to urge me to do that which makes me happy. There is so much more I want to say, and much that I work to not forget. In the mean time, I will take this time to be with my family, support them as they support me, and try to make the best of life.


2 responses to “A rambling note that I hope is somewhat coherent

  • Another blog about NOLA

    I lost my Mother last year.. I lay by her side in the hospice, brushed her hair and then she was gone..i do not understand the whole “better place” routine.. I was a better place, ya know?
    I send you some healing vibes for each person grieves in their own time..
    While I am stronger, there will always be those days..

    I truly am sorry for your loss…

  • Criss

    So sorry Coleman…
    Here is a story that may help: My brother, also a former Catholic, and his wife had a child born with neroblastoma. Seth, there second child, lived only six weeks. My brother struggled, turned to his original religion, or a form of it for a while because he wanted to see his child become an adult, experience his development and so on. He was in great pain. One night a couple weeks after Seth died, he could not sleep and tried very hard to believe he would see Seth again. All of a sudden, he said “This is bullshit. My son is dead and I won’t see him again.” He immediately felt better, not healed, he misses Seth to this day but he now had something he could work with….Sometimes when we talk I will say something like, “I believe in the God of Spinoza.” He says, “I believe in physics.” Then I agree that for me that is the same thing.

    I have been thinking about my mom who died when I was 33 the last few days. She had gone to Reed College in Portland. About 3 weeks after she died, I was in grad school and had to read a paper by Allen Neuringer who was a researcher/prof at Reed. I told my prof my mother had gone there and he was impressed. The article by Allen impressed me and I have read so many of his since. He is, to my mind, one of the best thinkers of our time relative to human behavior and thinking. Anyway, Allen was our spring lecturer on Thursday and I took him to Yosemite yesterday. I told him how sad I was the day I was assigned his article and I realized there were so many conversations I could not have with my mother. I still miss her but am so grateful for all she gave me. I try to give it to my students. I am sure you will do the same…


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