2:57 in the afternoon

I have a full-fledged case of blog envy. I anticipate reading other people's blogs and secretly wish I had thought of the subject first. It's sad, I know. I want mine to be entertaining, but have 17 unposted blogs because I get halfway through one and quit caring about the subject because I'm trying too hard to get it right. This one won't give you blog envy.

Many things going on right now in my life; many sad and ugly things, but many great and wonderful things too. I don't have the time or energy to give to any of them anymore.

I don't like the blogs where it's happy roses and sun-shiney thoughts for page after page.

I don't live there.

My world isn't so neatly tied up into witty euphemisms where I find the good in everything that has happened. Sometime it's shit and I just realize that it's shit and move on. I get particularly frustrated when I read the blogs where everything is neat and pretty and inspiring. I wonder what in the world is wrong with me that I am not these people. Should I be? I feel like I should be more lady-like, as if this type of thinking lends itself to being a lady. Ladies are neat and pretty and inspiring. I am not a lady by this definition. I struggle with the fact that I alternately care and don't care about this. I guess that's odd.

My Mimi was obsessed with being a lady and with my being a lady. She did her best to teach me all of the ways to be one from age 10 on up to my later years. Anyway, Mimi died on Tuesday (Fat Tuesday; also the worst storms to come through the south in 20 years and killed so many people). I loved her tremendously, but she never got comfortable with the fact that she alternately cared and didn't care about these things too. She beat herself up inside that she wasn't perfect and always put her best foot and face foward to make sure she wasn't letting anyone down (or letting anyone judge her for that matter).

She wouldn't have been happy with the indignity of dying. It was horrid to watch. We knew it could happen soon, but I found out in the middle of a meeting at work and promptly left to try and give my last respects. I faced an hour and half drive and the prospect of my beloved mother falling to pieces without me. It was a long drive. I had rationalized my way through Mimi's battle with illness and body fatigue and felt "it was the right thing". For some reason though, it just destroyed me when it was finally time and I was on my way. I cried all of the way to Montgomery, then pulled myself together at the hospital in the bathroom before I went into the room to where my mom, dad, papa, cousins, great aunts and uncles were.

....I wish I hadn't made it there in time.

I walked in and was ushered to her bed and I just looked at her stunned. Where was my Mimi? Who was this person? What was the thing in her mouth, on her hand, the fifteen things in her arm, her hair is wrong, the toes are wrong...who in the hell is this? This isn't my Mimi, what's wrong with you people? Mimi talks, A LOT, why won't she talk...if you're my Mimi then talk damnit! Talk incoherently, but talk. Why is everyone looking at me standing here. Seriously, what is going on?

What happens when you know death is coming and the hospital can't do anything further, is you watch your loved one die on a screen before you in a private room in the ICU with nurses coming in and looking down at the floor asking if you need anything. Curtains are drawn so no one can see in and so you won't see the smiling faces and laughing going on outside of your room. You ask the nurses to turn off the alarms on the machines because the machines know something isn't right. No one does anything except try to act like what's happening isn't happening. You tell fun stories about the person, you smile awkwardly at family you haven't seen in awhile. You tune out the gasping breaths of the person lying in the bed and the oxygen that is over her mouth. You pray that she won't have to go through this alone, that there is a God and that he will be there just like you've always believed (but sometimes doubt when you're alone). You make allowances for her short comings with God and say, "just remember, she loved you even in those dark times when she was seriously pissed with you...please don't abandon her when she's with you because she messed up here, please...please...pretty please with sugar on top".

The black screen is the background for the numbers that vary from moment to moment. The heart rate goes up and goes down, the oxygen in the blood goes up and down, the respirations go and down, and the blood pressure goes up and down. After hours of this, when the last ditch efforts of medicine given hours before have finally worn off, the numbers all drop in unison. Once they start to drop, they drop quickly - you know and the people in the room look around. Now everyone is praying for the same thing, "God, please don't let this hurt...promise us she won't hurt, please don't let this hurt us either". There is obviously no pain involved. There was no movement the entire time and there isn't any in the end except a noticeable last horrible gasp of air.

Then the person who has filled your memories for your whole life is gone. Even if you doubt it for a moment...the machines don't lie. You stare at them blankly. You can't feel a thing, nothing. She's still, which is no different than it was three hours before, except that the oxygen is off and it's uncomfortably quiet. It sinks in and in moments you're crying and comforting all at the same time.

A piece of me that I thought I had hidden very carefully in a spot that no hurt could find, is found. My heart pinches, my stomach cramps, my brow furrows and a piece of me that was my Mimi died at that same moment.

I wish I had been more of a lady.