It's hard to listen to someone you love die a little more each time you talk. Especially when you know her as well as I do, who for almost three decades has lived with a rare genetic disease called Porphyria as well as having multiple back surgeries, chronic pain from various syndromes, and other bodily dysfunctions, breakdowns and depression that are interconnected like a rusted chain anchored to the bottom of a red tide sea.
It's hard because for the longest time the collective "we" felt that some of this could've been prevented with lifestyle changes and taking better care of herself. But although today I still made recommendations of taking it easier, today was the first time that I conceded to this fact: that I can't change a thing at this point, only listen and love and do what I can to help.
However, no matter where I'm at with it all, it's still hard to comfort someone in such a broken physical and emotional state, especially when that someone's your mother.
A beautiful mother who's strength and courage survived over 12 years of domestic violence with two little kids to care for, my sister and me.
A loving mother who finally found the man of her dreams, only to have their love's foundation rocked multiple times with his unfortunately stroke, heart and lung problems over the years.
A proud and stubborn woman who always wanted the greater family to appear as such, a family, at any and all costs.
A caring grandmother who loves my sister's kids as her own, who was devastated when we weren't going to have children, and then just as devastated when distance and illness relegated her to phone calls and Skype video chats with the B-hive.
A faithful servant of God, even in the moments of destructive doubt and belittled will to live, which seem to be coming more frequently now.
I don't have the same faith as her, and even though I tell her I pray for her, which I do, I'm just not convinced of God's intervention in our physical world. Don't call me faithless, though; love and hope and humane action are faith enough for me.
And speaking of faith, this morning I looked through my photos and I found an old one of my mother with my beloved childhood dog, an Australian shepherd named Poco.
These were two things I loved the most as a child (besides my little sister, of course). The two things that kept me grounded and safe in the otherwise violent dysfunction we grew up in.
When we left my birth father, we had to leave Poco as well. That was hard for a 9-year-old boy.
As I fly across the county tonight, I know I'm losing my mom a little each day, and that's hard for a 45-year-old man.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you and miss you.
And I'll keep praying for you.