Monday, July 25, 2016

Feeling kind of numb. Except for migraines.

Day 26 in New York.

My mom passed away 27 days ago.

I don't know how or what to write. I feel down most of the time. I can't pinpoint a specific emotion, but down kind of covers it. As down as I am, my father is a thousand times more down. Many things are forever changed in his life, and there is no map explaining how to proceed.

There actually is never a map for how to proceed. If life were "Waze" it would "recalculate" the route every 3 seconds.

I feel kind of numb.

I kind of lost my mother slowly over these past five years that she has been ill. I realized then, maybe about four years ago, that I no longer have her as a mother, in the definition we understand as mother, in our young years. She became another mother in my heart. Over time, she couldn't even hold a phone in her hand for more than a few minutes, and had no capacity for real conversation, at least over the phone, which is all we had.

Losing her body now, and looking at the last picture I have of her- the one of she & I together in her bed- it doesn't really register. When I look at the picture I posted in my blog, it doesn't even look like my mom. I almost don't recognize her. Her vibrancy was already gone by then.

So losing her physically now, well, I don't know. At the same time I say her vibrancy was already gone, this house is ghostly empty without her, even though she was living in only one room of the house for almost five years, without mobility whatsoever. Even though she slept most of the time, as long as she was alive and living here, this house was alive. Now it just seems like a bunch of old dusty things without sentiment. Every corner of the house is decorated by her. My dad walks around here lost and confused. Very confused. I'm worried about him.

I don't know how I feel about the fact that my mother just passed away. I don't know. I have no words, and almost no feelings. I am also just walking through the house, and trying to take care of my kids, and just going through the motions. I just want to sleep.

I miss my home. By home I mean Israel. I think my feelings are there. I'll probably find them there once I return. This trip is so, so long. I feel like I've been here for many months already. I'm tired emotionally and physically.

Wound up in the local hospital the other day. A migraine that speared through my head and made me see white and black at the same time behind my eyelids. After throwing up, I knew there was no way out. I took the pills that were at my disposal to try, but what I took, while it would have put an elephant to sleep, didn't give me any rest at all because I was in such intense, vicious pain.

We showed up at the ER in Glen Cove at about midnight. We left without my father or children knowing; everyone was blissfully asleep. My mother's nursing aide is still living in the house, for the time being, so I knew things would be OK if my father woke up.

We were taken care of pretty quickly. There were only like two or three other patients there, I think. I had my eye shades on, and was just rocking and moaning in pain, and Robert did the explaining. Within an hour I got my "cocktail" of IV meds that I know can rescue me from the pain. The ER doctor said she'd not usually give those meds to a migraine patient, but in my case, I knew it worked, I have a lot of allergies, and we were not discussing other options. Not at that moment, anyway. Robert had even brought a print-out of the evaluation of my recent brain MRI, just in case they gave us trouble, just to show that I am getting treated for the problem.

Anyway, I got relief, and even dozed a bit there in the ER when the meds kicked in.
We got back to my father's house (my parent's house...) at 3:30am. Not too bad.

I've had what I call migraine "remnants" since then. Not a headache, but soreness near my eyes.
I now have the "cocktail" meds in oral form, in case I need them. That's good, but I'm not sure if they will be effective going through the digestive system. I assume I'll report on that at some point.

Anyway, enough about me.

I have to muddle through the next 10 days before I'll get home.
Then, as soon as I get home, I'll be worried about being away from my dad.

Here is a random picture from my high school years, or early college years... we know that because of my big 80's hair. :)
The menorah in the forefront is from Jerusalem, made of Jerusalem stone. We had just bought it for them. My brother Peter brought it with him from Jerusalem at the time.

The copper coffee set, clay bowl and chess set are still on the same table in the living room, in the exact same positions. The more things change..... well, it's actually not the things that change at all. They do stay the same. The people change, though, a lot. So much.

(btw- this is my thousandth (1000th) post to this blog!)


  1. Beautifully written, Sarah.
    Your mother would be proud of the writer you have become.

    It will take a lifetime to "process" your loss. Wishing you and your family comfort.
    XXXOOO, Devorah

    I very clearly remember the hair! (did you wear a feather too, or was that just me)

  2. heartbreaking Sarah....I hope you & your father find your way..

  3. Looking forward to your menukhat hanefesh. It's in process. [HUGS!]

  4. You wrote this so beautifully. I"m so very sorry for your loss.

    1. thanks, Michele. Actually after I wrote, I started to feel a bit lighter... like a bit of the burden was shared, and not all on me. Writing is therapeutic, I know you understand that, too.

  5. Hugs from me too, Wow-Dovi was sitting to your right in that picture from college days. All this time I thought he came into the world much later!

    1. It really is uncanny how much he looks like Tom.

  6. I remember the hair from before your wedding. Good that you wrote this. It helps. Missing you. How about making arrangements now for your dad to visit Israel? Do it while you're there with him.

    1. He's just not ready for any big trips or decisions yet. Everything in it's own time.

  7. Looking forward to seeing you home.

  8. Dear Sarah,

    It hurts to lose your mom. It always will, in some corner of your mind.

    1. Thanks, Jeannette. I appreciate your thoughts. I know you are right. They say that a woman is never quite the same after her mother passes away. I can see that could be true.

  9. Hi Sarah,
    So sorry to hear that your mom passed away.
    From my recent experience with my dads passing, it's not an easy time, but remember the good times, have a good cry when you need to, and a good laugh when you think of the funny good times with your mom z"l.
    Hamakom yinachem..
    ❤️ Yael Katan

    1. I think of your father every time I see your mother in shul. I think to myself 'she is too young to be a widow'...
      We're never ready to make this transition, it just has to happen I guess.
      Thanks for your thoughts. And BTW, memories of your father in my mind are that he was light hearted and an optimistic person. And funny, too. :)

  10. Numbness is a protective mechanism - it kicks in when there's too much to deal with. I think you are emotionally healthy enough to eventually return to more normal state later on. You are a survivor!

  11. 1000 entries is really a milestone. Hope the next 1000 have you in better health. Don't worry about how to react. Being numb or emotional or whatever...they are right for the moment and will change and transform.

  12. I think we don't really control what we feel. If you didn't have so many responsibilities I think you might have more of a handle on what you're processing or not. Maybe when you get home you'll be able to sort things out. Safe journey.