Friday, August 22, 2008

This Ache

The last 2 weeks have been so painful. I don't remember my mother's own funerals having been as acutely painful as this all has been. [SIDE NOTE: Yes, we had two funerals; one in SLC, UT and the other in Bear Lake, ID. At each service, the overfill for each meeting hall was used and some people had to stand.]

When my mother died, I felt numb and I generally operated in a dazed state of disbelief for the first two weeks after. Many who had been around me the week after my mother's death have told me that I seemed subdued, but unaffected. Very few people ever saw me cry. Many have told me they were either confused or disturbed by my lack of emotion at that time.

My most prominent memory of my mother's funerals is my knowing that all eyes were on me. I felt like I was under the microscope. People were constantly around me, constantly talking about me in the third person as if I wasn't sitting right there. And if anyone spoke to me, it all sounded the same... how sad they were for me and my father. Strangely, it was infuriating. And something that stands out in my memory most is the impression that everyone knew she was to die - - everyone had known but me it seemed.

With Amber, it wasn't like we experienced a known period of time leading up to an inevitable death, like someone battling a severe case of late-stage cancer. Nor did Amber have some long-had illness since childhood with no known cure that was bound to eventually take her life. There was no freak accident of misfortune. No drunk driver had taken her out; someone whom we could blame for their reckless disregard for others' lives. There are a number of theories as to where things went wrong and when it first began, but simply put, Amber got sick and spiraled downward in less than 9 months' time. In the last 6 months, so much was done to help her and nothing worked. Amber apparently decided she'd run out of options, and she decided we would be better off without her... In her last 3 months though, we'd already lost her. She was so severely ill, she was almost unrecognizable. I can see why she did what she did - - I don't blame Amber. I just wish she hadn't ever gotten sick.

For nearly eight and a half years spent with our family and her Trev, Amber had been a gorgeous, vibrant personality, full of spunk and a glowing passion and TONS of love. Her enthusiasm for life was absolutely infectious and you couldn't help but feel inspired by her joy for life. For her to have died in this way, to have fallen ill in this way in such an aggressive manner and so quickly, I feel like we have all been robbed and there's no one to blame... not that finding blame would make any of this easier in any way. I still can't believe she's gone.

I'm older now and I can remember the aftermath of my mother's death clearly and I understand the various and complicated dynamics involved in the months and years following my mother's death. It all has given me the chance to offer my cousin, Trevor, the kind of advice no one had given me or my father in our time of loss. Although my time up north for Amber's funeral and the time after with my family was terribly painful, I'm grateful I could be there. I don't know what more to say.

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