I have had one of those days when I didn’t get a chance to come up for air. I was thinking back to what Pralle told me his mom said. That she wouldn’t want to know she was about to die. In some weird way that gives me comfort about the whole situation. So far 2020 is going great. Even with this damn bug. I know you would’ve told me to move as soon as I told you the air filters were dirtier than the bottom of an Amtrak train. So you know me, gotta just take care of it. Not at all costly. Work has been pretty crazy. Keeping my eye out for the next move. Comcast coming at me a few times. Even today. Maybe that’s the next move. Just kinda bored of the same thing. I guess it’s easy to not have to think about answering. I was thinking about the roads we traveled as a family and you traveled as a person. I thought about this the other day. We never took a family picture and we never took a family vacation. Even for folks in Folcroft, I kind of found that to be somewhat depressing. I wish we even had just one family picture. Sounds weird. I guess just a moment we were all together and happy. Christmas came and went. I really just took advantage of my time off to take it easy, watch some bowl games, eat a lot, and just kinda be alone. A lot of thought about August 2018 until February 2019 and the entire year. How it was just so much. So fast. Like this storm that kept coming and never passed over us, or me. Just kinda stuck around. I know you would never have wanted to leave us like that. On the flip side I know you would’ve been the first to say you didn’t want to be a burden on us; but the thing is that parents as they age or become incapacitated are supposed to be a burden on their kids. That’s the trade-off. I passed the road I took to Fox a few times going to Marshalls (your favorite) for Xmas presents for the kids and a white elephant. I couldn’t even bring myself to mutter the words “I miss you Mom” when I looked down that road. That road just looked like a blur to me. A road to nowhere that became a mirage. I can’t believe you were there for those 3-4 months. I just remember how sad the entire time felt. I remember being there so vividly and I absolutely hate it, but I gained perspective the last two days about all of that time. A neighbor’s friend lost her father unexpectedly to a heart aneurysm. Said he was perfectly fine and healthy and out of nowhere, he was called. I felt that “shock” again. That feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. I know that they probably had no chance to save him. I imagine that while the brain can somewhat continue to “function” from the primal parts of the spine and head, the heart may not be like that. I wonder what chance he ever had. I wonder what chance you may have had in different hands. I wonder if another door or road was taken, what we would be left with. I guess it could’ve just been just as terrible. In some ways I feel so sorry for Chrissy and Lisa who saw you those last moments on your way into surgery. Then parts of me wish I could’ve given you one last hug. One last look at you with your eyes open and just there. I don’t want to hear a doctor or nurse or anyone say, “Well she’s not the mom you know…” They have been wrong as many times as they seem to be right. I think about the father who just passed and his family didn’t get those 6-7 months to spend with someone they loved so dearly. I laugh at the thought that there is some right or wrong in any of that. There isn’t. There is only what you may feel is right or wrong, but really, we have no way to know what is truly right. I definitely feel you more than I did after you passed. I feel you a lot more. Mostly when I am alone doing some mundane task. I feel you around when I am cooking. I am cooking more than I ever did. It makes me sad we couldn’t do it together. I think about that. How many times someone asked you, “Hey Mom, what would you like to do?” “What would really make your day?” “What do you really love to do?” That bothers me a lot. I can remember when we went to Newport, we would just walk down Thames or Bowen’s Wharf. Especially the last time with Kathy and just wander. No schedule, no one to report to, no rules. The way free time should be spent. Not being kept on some minute by minute calendar. I think if you even enjoyed the short time you had after your “retirement”. I think about how you basically worked anywhere to bring in money. I wonder how tired you were and how you wondered if your life was improving at all. I really don’t get it. You’re easily the hardest working person I ever have met; male or female. And never once complaining. Parts of me will never understand certain things. My thought is that if I shared them with someone with some unbiased perspective, maybe they can make sense of certain things. I also just want to keep moving forward and forgetting painful parts of the past because they either help people make excuses for being dumbasses or they create anger that drives insanity. I think about your sister. Obviously when I see her I see you. I can look at her and see you around her, hugging her with all your might. I see Pop Pop behind the two of you. I see John behind him, standing there with a stoic face. I just continue to feel this insanely huge void that I know will never be replaced. It is pain for which I do not have a big enough band aid to heal. I wish I could just give Kathy a day or week with you. Without us, without anyone. Just you two. I don’t like that she has to go through this life like this. Of course I don’t like it for any of us, but you were just the best of friends. When I am doing things that we as humans do since birth, I think about that as well. Knowing that you were the first person who probably fed me, bathed me, dressed me, helped me walk, etc. That does not go without appreciation. It really doesn’t. I know how much you did. I know you did the impossible and for the rest of my life, I will be thankful and pass that along. I know my future does not continue if you are not part of my past. You’re the reason I am here. Our story doesn’t start until you’re alive and grow. I think I just miss that physical self or your funny little ways. That’s really what makes my eyes water. The hug only a mother can give a son. Patting me on the back of my big head and I can close my eyes and be a boy again; even when the world expects me to be grieving, but strong man. I tell people to be more empathetic and compassionate. I am human and I am not always there to be that. And sometimes I just get tired of being strong or being a sounding board or even just being present and involved in things. I get why you took rides outside of your normal route to places. I wish, just one time, one time, that I asked you how you felt. My God, such an easy question. I could ask it 100 times a day. Even if 99 times you said fine, if you just once said, “Bobby, I don’t feel so good…” I would’ve done something. It really is just that easy. I believe it’s looking out for people you care about. That’s the thing that bothers me. It’s one fucking question. One. One sentence. It takes 1 second. A girl on one of the diabetes sites I follow said she was at work and was having a high of 527 and feeling so terrible. She worked somewhere in N. Michigan, a place I’ve actually been. I messaged her on FB and told her to tell her manager or excuse herself to dose. In my head I’m like, “you’re gonna risk your life for a f’n server job?!!” Tell them to pound sand if that have a problem with a medical emergency. Our culture and society is just so screwed up with taking care of yourself at any age. Like you shouldn’t be worried before it’s too late and your family is rushing to your bedside on your final days, months, year. I really don’t get it. I see us live these lives and we all do take risks, but we all for the most part have insurance, I don’t get why you didn’t see a doctor. I wish just once you did. I would’ve been happy if you went once a year and if they didn’t catch anything, then fine. 61 is just too soon. We need you here at 61. Really just sad about the whole ordeal. It took you away from us. It took so much out of our lives. It took so much energy and so much determination through that entire process. To the point that not much even scares me these days. I watched my skydiving video before I was sharing it with someone; I said to her, you kind of feel invincible. Well, if that made me invincible, August 2018 until your passing made me believe that nothing can hurt me more than what we were put through all that time. How can a son miss cleaning out his mom’s trach tube as him “helping” her breathe? How can that even be a good memory? Maybe in the same way you clean up your child’s throw-up. I remember doing that so many times when we were alone. I remember being in Fox, reading, waiting, putting my ipod earbuds on you and hoping you would hear the music. No one sees that stuff. That’s not on Facebook. That’s the dark reality about the end of life. That’s the reality of change. I have a headache crying about these things. I am jealous of anyone who still has their mother. I am happy they did not go through what we went through. All I wanted was you to have was a fighting chance. I will never understand how we never got that. I see it every day. People DO survive ruptures. People with bigger ones than you. I read about a person who knew they had a rupture and waited a whole day to even go to the hospital. I just don’t get it. I know I won’t get any answers. I am used to not getting answers to difficult questions about life. I don’t expect God to answer me any time soon. I know that this is life and somehow I have to change and adapt to it. Things will be different going forward. And maybe the change of losing you is what was needed to change our lives. I don’t see it being logical, but things were staying the same for a long time and they are not like that now. You’re also not with us. Not able to enjoy the beach, food, music, cooking, or just wearing one of your fancy scarves. I will continue to sit and wonder…wonder why we lost you….Bobby


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