This is going to be a hard post for me to write. I think the best thing to do is to make it brief.
My mother was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in late spring and given twelve to eighteen months. We were off the island and living back in Montana near her within a couple of weeks to help take care of her through brain surgery, radiation, and chemo. She was brave and determined, and she fought hard. She made it just over three months.
She was an amazing woman, intelligent and strong-minded. After grad school in the 70s, she married my dad and they dropped everything and moved to India. Then they came back to northern Michigan and built their home in the woods- themselves. She was a counselor, a social worker, a feminist. She was supportive, encouraging, unconditionally loving. And beautiful. So beautiful. She was my mom. It is a loss that I feel deep in my core, and I’m only at the beginning of trying to process it all.
I’m trying to explain it to my kids in a way that doesn’t scare them. Death is a natural part of life. She’s not sick anymore. And even when her brain wouldn’t let her mouth form words, her heart always held love, love, love.
Books have helped. Grandpa Green is a favorite, about a small boy whose horticulturist great grandfather has grown his life story into a garden to help him remember it. Another one that I’ve found drops me is Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, about a small boy who lives next to a nursing home and inadvertently finds memories for his dear friend there. I’m trying not to focus on loss for them, but rather the bond that was and is there between us and our grandparents.
- Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox
- And The Good Brown Earth, by Kathy Henderson
- The Keeping Quilt, by Paula Polacco
- The Raft, by Jim LaMarche
- Song And Dance Man, by Karen Ackerman
- Full, Full, Full of Love, by Trish Cooke
- Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say
- When I Was Young In The Mountains, by Cynthia Rylant
- Grandpa Green, by Lane Smith
- The Hello, Goodbye Window, by Norton Juster