Never Say GoodbyeIt’s been a really rough nine days. Back in August, I went back to Connecticut to see my Mom. When I got there, her stomach was the size of an NFL football. I knew what it was. I mean there’s only one thing that can make your body look that way. A week ago, she was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. I knew the day she’d pass away was coming. You’ll never forget where you were and what you were doing when you get news like that. I drove around most the day.

I lost my Dad 20 years ago. I remember I was living in Colorado at the time. I took my dog to the park. When I got home, my ex was there and said, “There’s a message on the answering machine from your Dad’s wife. You need to call her. Something has happened.”

I remember exactly where I was standing. I was there preparing myself to hear that my Dad passed away. I picked up the cordless phone. I remember going down to the basement in my house with it. I was sitting on the couch dialing my Dad’s phone number. I still remember the number too. Isn’t that funny?

Dad’s wife Jeannie picked up the phone. She told me my Dad had passed away. It was sudden so I didn’t get to say goodbye.

So now I had tickets to go and see my Mom. I spoke to her a bunch of times over the last week. We had the typical conversations you have when someone’s going to die. You want to make sure they know that no matter what happened in your relationship, and no matter what’s been said, that you love them. My relationship was fractured with my Mom, but that didn’t mean I didn’t love her, and it didn’t mean that she didn’t mean the world to me. She taught me some of my life’s greatest lessons!

Anyway, I talked to my Sister on Monday and I was going to come today (Friday). It worked out perfectly. My Mom was at my Sister’s in a home hospice and I was going to help her. My Brother called me Tuesday morning, and told me I needed to come.

I checked the flights. There were no direct flights after Labor Day. Everything was booked. So I changed my flight so I could go on Wednesday instead.

My Brother called me about 2.30pm on Tuesday and said, “You need to talk to her. It’s getting bad and she can barely breathe.”

So I talked to her for about 20 minutes. I didn’t know what to say. I told her I loved her. I told her I’d make sure my Sister and Brother would be OK. I’m the oldest so I see it as my role. Then I told her probably the most important thing. And I think it was the thing that put her over the edge. I told her she no longer needed to suffer and that she can just let go.

My Mom’s been in pain for 15 years. She’s always had a bad back, been on pain meds, and not feeling good in her body. So I told her that she could go. I don’t know what you all believe in. I don’t even know what I believe in. I know her soul is somewhere. I can still feel her, especially today. I’m not about saying goodbye. For me there are no goodbyes in life.

You live your life, and some part inside you will always have a connection to the people who have died around you. I carry my Dad with me still, and I carry my Mom now. So, we talked about 20 minutes. She fell asleep so my Brother grabbed the phone. He said she smiled a lot, and cried. He said her eyes had lit up. I knew that would be it. I went to bed Tuesday night around 12.30am. I expected the phone to ring all night. I had one of those nights where you just don’t sleep. I kept getting up.

I texted my Brother at 8.30am to see how things were. He called me back and said, “It’s not good. I don’t think she’ll make it.”

I took a deep breath and said, “Go be with her.”

Then I got the phone call that we’ll always remember where we were and what we were doing. My Mom had passed away. I was buying a “Rent a Car” and I was checking emails to see what I had to do before I left for Boston.

So, my Brother called. It was about 9.00am. I saw my Brother’s name. I was on the phone with Tyler who works for me, and I took a deep breath. I needed to prepare myself for what I knew was coming. My Brother told me she’d gone. We didn’t talk much at all. Then I reached out to my friends and talked to them. I have amazing friends in my life. I have people that love and support me immensely.

My Mom was an amazing person. She had her ups and downs., but she was my Mom, and she’s the only one I’ll ever have. Now she’s gone. You know what I did the rest of the day?

I picked up Brett my friend and I had lunch. I met up with my ex and my daughter. We all went to this beautiful temple and walked around. We listened to Neil Diamond. He was one of my Mom’s favorite singers, and every song that came on reminded me of times I had growing up. Every song reminded me of times I had when I was the boy and Mom was the Mother.

I really started thinking about my life, and what it’s about. I’ve always been a caretaker. It’s how life programed me to be. I’ve always been the nurturing person. I’ve always taken care of people without letting anyone take care of me. It’s funny because I would desperately love to have that type of relationship with someone.

My mom was always in control so she taught me how to remain in control. And being in control was something I enjoyed and has made me very successful as a businessman, and in many aspects of my life. The trouble is when it comes down to my interpersonal relationships it’s made me a complete mess. I have a beautiful ex I love and a daughter that means everything to me.  But I’m tired of not being able to let go.

I realized something else today while I was processing. Losing a parent is a way to end a chapter, to start a new chapter, and to learn from the experience. I prefer to celebrate someone’s life, and look for the deeper meaning in it. I try to figure out what this all means, and how I can grow from it.

I realized something today. When I was three and a half years-old, my brother passed away. He was just nine and a half months old when he died. He died of SIDs That day changed my life forever. My Mom went into a deep, dark depression, and my Father and her never really talked about it. I became my Mom’s caretaker. I became her savior. It was the role I naturally took on. It’s not a role you should really take on at four or five but it was the hand I was dealt. It taught me how to be strong. It taught me how to be resilient. It taught me how to take care of people.

My brother is seven years younger than me, and to this day I still protect him fiercely. I realized today why I protect him so much. Because when he was born, in some way he replaced the brother I lost and I didn’t want to lose another one.

I spent my whole life protecting him, taking care of him, and being there for him. I’ve had a fractured relationship with my sister and she’s an amazing beautiful person who really took care of my Mom in the last 15 years, and for that, I love her. She’s such a beautiful person, and although we’re very different, that’s OK.

Loss Makes You See Where You’re Really Going In Life

It’s amazing how when you lose your Mom you think about everything that’s happened in your life, and how it’s affected you and changed you into the person you are.

There are so many things in our life we aren’t away of until we grow. As my Mom leaves this planet to go somewhere else, I feel her right now, and I love her. I’ll miss her, but I’ll make sure everything she taught me in life, and everything I’ve learned from her death is a way for me to make my life even more beautiful and fulfilling. I’ll always be the loving, nurturing person I’ve always been. Now I want to let it go an all into someone. I want to know what that feels like. I don’t need to be as tough as I appear, and I don’t need to be as hard as I am.

I think I’m ready. I know I’m ready. I love the people in my life right now, and I want to thank my amazing, beautiful friends, Sonja, Layla, Brett, Obi, Bryan, John, Tyler, and everyone else who has really helped me today. There’s more but I don’t remember. I have a lot of love in my heart and a lot of emotion. I have a lot of life left to live, and I want to live it with a lot of love.

I want to be a more open, raw, and vulnerable man. I want to let go and know what that feels like. I want to have a relationship, and not run when things don’t work out. I want someone to love me for me, and to honor me so I can honor her back. I feel like as I dictated this blog, my Mom is listening. Just like she was when we had our last conversation and I told her she could leave and go to a place that’s peaceful. I wanted her to know she could rest and be out of pain. I knew my Sister and Brother were saying that to her too.

Here was a woman who loved her children deeply, and I think she needed to hear it from all of us. I know in my heart when I told her she could go, I missed the opportunity to get on the plane to see her, but I wanted her to go to a more peaceful place. Hopefully, she’s saying Hi to her Mom and my Dad right now. I’ve been listening to Neil Diamond music all day, and remembering all the times I heard the songs at my parent’s dinner parties. Its’ what Mom would have wanted me to do. Tell those closest to you how much you love them today, and peace to you all.