Grieving & Unveiling

This coming weekend is going to be a tough one for us. Back in December, we lost my mom to lung cancer. She went into the hospital the day after Thanksgiving and was gone just before Chanukkah started. Two weeks - that's how long it took. She fought hard for almost a year but it took two weeks for the cancer to take over. The day she died, I became incredibly symptomatic. I had a migraine, I was nauseous beyond belief, I was dizzy, and I was exhausted. It was as if my body knew she was going to pass. I let my instincts take over. My aunt told me to go home and get some rest. I tried. I tried to sleep. The nausea got worse and then, in a panic, I packed my bag and raced out of the house to get to the hospital. A half hour later, she was gone. The nausea continued. I was so nauseous during Shabbat (Jewish day of rest) that I wound up missing the Rabbi who came to grieve with our family.

So, this coming weekend is another Jewish milestone. Sunday will be my mom's unveiling. I'm not ready for it. Traditionally, it's done in the 11th month of mourning but we opted to do it earlier. In Judaism, we grieve publicly for about a year - we refrain from going to anything joyous (and we hope that our friends understand), we're supposed to say Kaddish (the mourners prayer) and we're supposed to take this time to grieve properly. The last milestone of that year is the unveiling. I'm not ready for it. I'm still grieving and it's still messing with my dysautonomia. I become more symptomatic when I'm upset. I think of my mom often and it usually sends me into a fit of tears. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), I sat and watched old home movies. I cried. I cried a lot. I miss my mom more than words can express and the more I miss her, the worse I feel physically.

My mom was a rockstar. When I was a teenager, she was diagnosed with lupus. At the time, lupus was a scary disease that didn't usually come with a good prognosis. My mom taught me how to live with an autoimmune disease. She showed me that giving up and giving in wasn't an option. she excelled at her job and showed me how to live with an illness and still function like a human being. It taught me compassion for others. Then, one day, while she was getting her chemo treatments, I got sick and I haven't recovered. Being there for my mom while feeling like I was on boat (with nausea and dizziness) wasn't easy but giving up wasn't an option. When my Papa died a few years ago, my mom picked herself up, dusted herself off and went to work. When my mom died, I did the opposite. I let my symptoms consume me. I was grateful for the time off of work because I was in no condition to rejoin the rat race.

All in all, my mom was super human. She listened to her body. When she was tired, she rested. When she had shit to do, she powered through. I'm no more ready to say goodbye to my mom than I was when she passed but I feel her around me sometimes. It gives me comfort. Let's just hope my dysautonomia stays at bay this weekend. I prefer not to power through this milestone.


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