Saturday, April 16, 2011

Distances



Yesterday my mom was moved to a nursing home. She was no longer able to stay in her apartment in assisted living. In terms of actual distance, she has not moved very far away from where she was. However, we all know that mentally, physically and emotionally she is moving far from where she once was. Away from us. Away from this life.


Yesterday Sonny Boy called us with the happy news that he has been accepted to graduate school in Virginia. He is striding forward towards his future and we are so incredibly proud of him. In terms of actual distance he is moving 3000 miles away from us and though we are so happy for him, we all know there will be changes to life as we've known it. Visits will be fewer. Holidays will be different. Life will be different.

Why does it seem that no reaction to an event is as pure and clear cut as it used to be?

Have I reached an age at which loss and happiness and growth and sorrow are nearly always intertwined? The various hues of life seem folded over one, woven so tightly together in a chain that sometimes they are indistinguishable from one another.

Ah life. It's good. It's difficult. It's joyous. It's sorrowful. It's cyclical.

Thirty years ago, my mom watched me set out across country right after college graduation, towards a new life. I understand now how much grace and love it took for her to wave goodbye with a smile.

I'll remember that in the days to come because in the woven chain of life, the strongest cord is that of love.

It's the one that we hold on to in times like these.


It's one that allows us to let go.




77 comments:

Maggie said...

Sorry to hear that your mom is no longer able to stay where she was. I assume that this move to the nursing home is a good one?

Congrats to Sonny Boy! What an amazing thing :)

Miriam in KS said...

Grace and love. Both are an incredible gift in this journey of life.

I'm glad your mom has the opportunity of a place to live where she can be cared for as she cared for others 30+ years ago when I worked with her.

And congratulations to Sonny Boy. I wish him all the best.

Ms. A said...

So wonderfully stated and profoundly true. While I'm sorry for the situation with your Mom, I congratulate Sonny Boy. Life is a gamut of emotions, huh? I can relate, wholeheartedly.

Pat Tillett said...

Very bittersweet words Betty...
I know the feelings you are having about both your mom and son.
You are such a great writer!

Leanne said...

Oh, Betty. What a post. Congratulations to the son ... clearly a product of your wisdom. And I'm keeping your mother in my thoughts. One day at a time, my friend. hugs.

Shan said...

Sending you love and a peaceful heart, BB.

Desiree said...

What a beautifully written post...you've articulated so well exactly what we all feel. Life IS a complex mix of joy and sadness and we really can't have the one without the other.

I echo Shan's comment...sending love and a peaceful heart!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

It's so sad for you and the family to see your mother declining, I do hope all will go as well as can be expected for her.
You have written a wonderful post and it was so lovely to read.

Yvonne.

Laura said...

Sad news and happy news...and they're both sad for you each in its own way.
Both my kids moved far away (both ended up coming back). And though it was hard, it was good for them and they needed to spread their wings.
My mom spent the last two years of her life in a nursing home. Something we never thought would happen, but ultimately had to happen...
Such is life...

Peggy K said...

Y'know, your posts tug so deeply at my heart sometimes that I can't figure out what to post in a comment (tissue, please!).
"...And the greatest of these is love" is what gets us through these life moments that seem to be so diametric.
Congrats to Sonny Boy. And wishing serenity to your Mom. And for you, my friend, I wish peace.

Old Kitty said...

Beautiful BB!!! Congratulations to your wonderful son!!! His future is ahead of him and it's bright and exciting.

I am so sorry to hear about your mum - I hope she continues to enjoy life to the full. She is certainly very loved and very treasured!

Take care
x

Cricket said...

A wonderfully written post. You have captured something of the essence of life with great delicacy.

Hilary said...

Beautifully expressed, Betty. It's tough getting to that pivotal point in life where we need to be the adult for the generations on either side of us. I'm sorry about your Mom. And I know the feeling of your son moving away. Hugs to you.

Gigi said...

Betty, so sorry to hear about your mom.

As for Sonny Boy, I can only imagine how happy you are for him and how difficult it will be to send him off.

Keeping you in my prayers - all of you.

Seams Inspired said...

Beautiful post, Betty. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers as you face the bittersweet days ahead. With your love and grace you learned from your Mom, your family will thrive on this new journey. Happy Sunday, sweet bloggy friend. :o)

Anne Gallagher said...

Oh, Betty. Didn't expect the tears this morning. But there they are again.

Congratulations to Sonny Boy. I hope your mother is content.

Cool Gal said...

I am sorry to hear about your mother. That has to be a tough one (I remember when it happen to my grandmother. She was separated from my grandfather. Very sad.).

Congratulations to your son. As difficult as it may be, you are doing the right thing in not holding him back. So many parents give children the "guilt trip" and they (the kids) never end up spreading their wings. They settle for a life they were not meant to live.

To me, it's one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make. There comes a time when we have to let go.

Theresa Milstein said...

This post resonates with me. Your emotions are normal. Your news for both your son and your mother are filled with loss. But also of joy. Your son is working towards his goal and your mother will get the care she needs.

There are few big experiences where I've experienced pure joy. I don't know if we're wired that way. There's usually another side to consider.

slommler said...

Yes! You are so right! Life is always intertwined with the good and the bad! It's hard to know what to feel at times like this.
I am glad for your Boy...that is great news. And sad that your mom has to go to the nursing home. That has to fill you with mixed feelings.
Hugging you
SueAnn

Siv Maria said...

The cycle of life. Things change.

Out on the prairie said...

Changes in our lives where we exchange roles our parents had.It is harder when you aren't close to be there.

Catherine said...

Life is truly a roller coaster of emotions isn't it? So many things can make you happy yet break your heart all at once.

Sending you extra big hugs this weekend Betty!
xo Catherine

Nicolasa said...

Beautiful post! Sorry to hear about your mom. That is difficult, I am sure.

Congrats to Sonny Boy on getting in to school. That is very exciting! My sister went away to school and I saw how it effected all of us. It takes time to get used to but you'll all be ok! :-)

Mamma has spoken said...

I oh so know what you are writing about! When I got married, my mother said that it was like she was loosing her best friend. Seemed silly at the time since I was living close to where she was. But now as I see my sons leaving the nest and going on with their lives I so get what she was saying.
Too bad it took coming around a full circle to understand....

Donna said...

Sometimes I just sit in Numbness...and you're right, Love is what it is all about....
((((HUG))))

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bossy Betty .. life deals two blows in one .. and one to celebrate and share your son's joy and happiness at moving on and the future he has ... while you shed a tear for your mother .. she at least has had a good long life and you have many memories to share with her now, as well as remember in the future ..

Look after yourself and with thoughts - Hilary

EmptyNester said...

A beautiful, bittersweet post!

Voices in My Head said...

I have no words--just a whole bunch of hugs!

Flartus said...

Wow.

Brian said...

The circle of life keeps spinning, no matter what we do. Purrs and hugs to you always!

Liz said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom, BB. Though at the same time, I'm sure you are so proud of his acceptance!

missing moments said...

Beautiful words ... expressing the full circle of our lives and the richness of those experiences.

Reena

Bouncin' Barb said...

It is a sad thing when you put a parent into a nursing home. I had to do it with my Dad. But I agree with you BB, it's part of life. The bad comes with the good. It's an evolving circle. That's why we must enjoy every single good thing and day we get. Thinking of you and your family!!

Mike said...

Wow both ends of the spectrum. Congrats on your son. Sad to hear about your mom. Always a hard move.

McGillicutty said...

My Mum went into a nursing home a couple of years ago, she has Parkinsons. While it's a struggle to emotionally deal with the thought of her living there, the reality is that she's actually way better off and she has those staff wrapped around her little finger.
There are a million and one complicated emotions surrounding our family movements over time, luckily we're able to recognize them and deal with them, and share them in blogs. xxxxx happy thoughs dear BB.

Leah J. Utas said...

Accepting change with grace is difficult, but most rewarding.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Major life changes, that's for certain. Best thoughts as you and your family move through them.

tattytiara said...

The more perspective we get the better the big picture comes into view, eh?

Mary Ann said...

Wonderful post:)

Jamie said...

I've given you the Kreativ Blogger Award because you have such a great blog!

From My Classroom Window: Kreativ Blogger Award

Theanne and Baron said...

Great post!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Such moments are the greatest joy and the greatest sorrow.
Sorry for the changes in your mother's life. - aging parents is just something that sucks. (For lack of a better word.)

Ann said...

so touchingly written. Life has so many twists and turns it's a wonder we aren't all dizzy from the ride
Hugs to you Betty

jenny_o said...

Growth and happiness, and sorrow and loss - yes, after we experience a few it seems they really are always intertwined.

Did we really wish at one time that our lives, and then our children's lives, would hurry and arrive at some mystical point? There is no single point, as we generally find out soon enough. There are a series of points. But by the time we know it, some of the sweetest ones are only memories. But, sometimes growth includes kids moving back to where they grew up, too. You never can tell.

Congratulations to your son, and to you for your part in his getting to this point.

Linda said...

My first visit to your blog was back in November, to read your "1954" post, which Hilary had mentioned in her POTW listings. I was hooked. You have a gift...an ability to express things that we all feel but struggle to put into words. You're right...our joys and sorrows often overlap.

Your closing comments are so true: "The strongest cord is that of love. It's the one that we hold on to in times like these. It's one that allows us to let go."

Chuck said...

That is so well put Betty. Now that I am older it seems family only gathers for funerals and weedings. Ironic, but not all there is in life to get together for. I'm glad I found your blog through the A-Z challenge.

Lori said...

Such a beautiful post full of truth. I am sorry about your mom...and happy for your son...I know the letting go and saying good bye with a smile all too well...grace and love are my mantra..without them what would life be? I have missed visiting you here...reading this makes me hope to come back soon.

I pray that as your mom moves into the home and your son moves away that the thick cord of love will be tightly wrapped around you. XX

Kazzy said...

Have I reached an age at which loss and happiness and growth and sorrow are nearly always intertwined? The various hues of life seem folded over one,

Oh, boy. Do I relate...

Cheeseboy said...

Sorry to hear about your mother. Seeing your loved ones get older is never easy. Someday, we'll be in that nursing home and our kids will be saying the same thing about us.

tracy said...

Beautifully said, Betty. I remember leaving home for the first time, too, after I got married and watched my Mom waving in the rear view mirror. So exciting yet so sad at the same time. I am so much wiser now even though I thought I knew it all at the time. Best of luck to your Mom and to your son. Life is good, when all is said and done. But it isn't without pain.

Munir said...

"The strongest cord is that of love" you said it so well. I remember when my son first left home for Penn State. I could not stop my tears all through the way home after dropping him off. My husband said that we just have to trust that God will take care of him. He is right, but you are right too, about holidays being different and the visits getting fewer as they grow up. Although my son's dog was in worse shape than I was, missing him and breaking the leash to go look for my son. It used to break my heart but all is well now.
I hope that you get strength to help you with your feelings about changes in your mon's life. You have to take care of yourself though.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Oh, Betty! This is such a poignant post.

Such huge transitions for both of them, and for you, and both of them involve someone you love moving away from you!

I pray you find comfort in all of this: I really do. I so get the bittersweetness of your son's bright future - yet distance from you. And the downright tragedy of a human being losing some of the very abilities that so characterized their earlier life.

Sending you a big hug.

baygirl32 said...

(( big hugs )) to you Betty. So sorry to hear about your mom, but happy for Sonny boy

Daisy said...

Oh dear Betty. Your life and mine have many parallels. It does seem the older I get that the good and the bad, the happy and the sad are all entwined together. I'll be thinking of you and your mom and your son as these changes take place. So much to think about, isn't it. Sending prayers up on your behalf and leaving you with a big hug from me.

Retired English Teacher said...

This was a very poignant post. Some good-byes are painful because they signal that our loved ones are moving on just as they should. Then, there are those good-byes that really hurt because we know that the loss they bring cause us great grief. It is so hard when those good-byes all come at once.

I'm sorry to hear about your mom.

Marlene said...

Big hugs to you.

Congratulations to your son! What a fantastic achievement...but I know it's never easy. I felt a similar pain mixed with happiness when my daughter moved away last fall. (Only about 550 miles, but it's still somewhat difficult to plan holidays around the distance and her work schedule....*sigh*)

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your mother's independence. I'm sure it will give you some peace of mind knowing she is being looked after, though...and not be so worried about her well being.

Baby Sister said...

Sorry to hear about your mom. That would be really hard. Watching my mom get older is just so incredibly hard...and I'm not looking forward to that day.

Lazarus said...

Very poignant and trenchant observations BB, nicely done.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

You express yourself with so much grace and love, Betty, I'm tearful.
Hugs to you.
Robyn

Jennifer Shirk said...

Awww...you got me right in the heart with this post.
Sorry to hear your mom had to be moved to a nursing home. I'm sure it was hard for her too.
{{hugs}}

Gaston Studio said...

Beautifully said, Betty; keep those thoughts with you as they'll continue to sustain you.

LittleSilkDress said...

Hugs for you, BB. Thank you for the reminder that no one experiences an event in exactly the same way. I love the thought that many differing emotions intertwine instead of my thought that they are warring with each other. Such a different and less cynical way to view it. Thank you for that insight, as well.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your post really touched me. My mother is close to needing assistance but she's being very resistant. It's so stressful for all of us. And I'm mere months from my youngest going off to college.
There so much bittersweet emotions as life rolls by us. Thoughts with you today, Betty.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

Now there's a tear in my eye. I think watching our parents age is one of the most difficult things any of us will do. Right now I'm still watching my parents as they help my grandparents. It's difficult, but just a small taste of what it will be like when it's my turn. I hope you have so much strength and support from both the blog world and real friends!

The Empress said...

I can't help thinking that some of the sadness in this post is from knowing our day of assisted living is coming, too.

I think of that more and more.

Georgina Dollface said...

Oh Betty, I'm sorry to hear about your Mom. Indeed, it will be a big change for everyone, but as you so beautifully pointed out, love will be the bond that keeps you all together no matter how far apart. I've always enjoyed reading about your son. Your posts about him are always filled with such love, pride and admiration. He is a bright, smart, lovely young man who will no doubt go off and do wonderful things in graduate school. Bravo to him and hugs to you. - G

gayle said...

So sorry to hear about your mom!
Congrats to your son but I know it's has to be hard to see him move so far away. My girls live just 20 and 30 minutes away from me.

Cricket said...

Just a quick congratulations on your potw :-)

Gaston Studio said...

Beginnings and endings (sigh). Sorry about your mom, Betty but happy for your son. And congrats on POTW. A beautiful post!

Sandra said...

A beautiful, poignant view. Thank you. And congrats on POTW. :)

Elizabeth Grimes said...

So beautifully written. This line was poetic and heartbreaking, Have I reached an age at which loss and happiness and growth and sorrow are nearly always intertwined?
Thank you for writing about your experience with change. I know that it reaches many.

ladyfi said...

Wow - this is moving and poignant and lovely as it sums up what life is all about... You've reached that age called wisdom.

Frank Baron said...

Only change is certain. I hope your Mom isn't too upset by her altered circumstances.

Barbara said...

"Life's about changes..." That song won't let go of me lately. Beautiful post, so full of truth!

lailani said...

So true. What a wonderful sharing of your journey and those mish mash of emotions and feelings and thoughts.

Brian (not the cat) said...

With each such change, we must decide how we will change as a result. The challenge is to transform the self-pity that comes with change or loss into an ever stronger sense of mission to be true to our essential character, that which is or was loved by those we love.

Sara said...

I hate that saying, "Distance makes the heart grow fonder." It definitely makes it more sentimental and sappy, but I contend that we're all just as fond as we were before the big geographical gap opened up. As such, I hope that your new distances stir up a multitude of fond memories and sentiments ♥