Haven’t had the heart

By Sherry White Jeffcoat

BABEE_thumb Hi to all the Deluded Diva readers. I have missed putting my deluded thoughts down on paper and sharing them with you.

As many of you know, my mom passed away in July and so I am aptly titling this writing with "I HAVEN’T HAD THE HEART".

It sticks in my mind for almost everything I try to do since Mama died. As a baby boomer site, most of you can relate to losing a parent at this point in our lives. Too often lately, the only time

I see any of the old high school crowd, it is at one of our parent’s funerals. Sadly to say it has also been at a few of our friends funerals.

We all knew these days would come, but somehow, it always seemed so far away, such a distant, distasteful, awful occurrence that none of us felt comfortable to talk about. Mama would say to Sandy, my sister and me "Oh ya’ll are silly, we are all going to die." We would tell her we couldn’t imagine a life without her. Somehow the idea of Daddy’s being gone has sunk in. He has been gone for thirteen years now, and although still sorely missed, I can still hold it together when I see his picture or see something that reminds me so of him. Not so with Mama now. It is too raw, too fragile, and way too painful.

I see Mama and Daddy everywhere I go, in everything I do, in everything I feel. If I pass the elementary school, memories flood back of Mama taking me that first day, and the panicky feeling I got when she left. I pass the post office and enter its doors where she worked for so many years, and the memories flood back. I ride past B and W, where Daddy worked for so many years and remember how hard he worked to support us. I walk past the fountain that used to be the kiddie pool and remember how Mama would watch us with an eagle eye to make sure we were safe. She would listen to every "Mama, look at this!" Usually we were just doing something stupid like holding our noses and sticking our heads under water. To her, however, she would exclaim with pride saying "GOOD!" to which we would then proudly continue to do the dorky moves we were making. She made us feel like Gold Medalists instead of the little kids with little rubber inner tubes and water wings to keep us afloat.

I am wondering truly how can I stay here where I grew up, when every single thing in this town holds a memory of my parents? When does the hurt stop and the enjoying the memories begin? I think many people think I have lost my mind when they see me and all they get is tear filled eyes and a choked up response to the "Hey girl, how are you?" I want to say fine like I always did, but I am not fine. I hurt, I feel too deeply, I remember too much. I don’t know how to change it. People say stay busy, get involved, it will get easier. I guess I know it will, we all go through deaths every day. You are just getting total honesty here now, I am not one of those bouncing back.

I want to move on and be happy again. Mama would want that and I know that, but when I take her clothes out of her closet and put mine in there, when I take her dishes that she treasured for over 70 years, and put mine in her cupboards, I feel guilty. I feel pain that what she worked so hard for all of her life is being discarded and passed on. She would want that, I know she would, but when it comes time to actually be the one to discard, the one to get rid of library cards, driver’s license, social security cards, it becomes a whole other story.

You donate, makes you feel good someone can use something she enjoyed or needed. That part isn’t so bad. What is bad is when you go through some card or letter she saved that meant so much to her, it must have because she kept it for over 80 years. Who am I to just throw it out with the trash? At this point, I can’t. I find myself wanting to ask her, "Mama, how special to you was this dish, or this letter, or this paper? How do I decide what to do away with or stick up in a cupboard somewhere where some relative in the future may or may not appreciate its worth to you. I don’t feel worthy to make those decisions.

That is why right now Mama’s house looks like a hoarder’s house. Not because she ever let it look like that, but because I am frozen in time finding it easier to just close doors off and put it off to another day because the hurt and the pain and the love is too raw right now. So if you see me out and ask me how I am doing, please forgive me when my eyes tear up, and I choke up and may even walk away. I am not okay, but know that one day I will be because Mama and Daddy would want that, they always have. I won’t disappoint them in the end, because they spent all of their lives devoted to just trying to make their children happy.

What a legacy they left…..we all loved each other almost too much, that it makes their leaving so bittersweet. They taught us well, to be independent, and good, loving children. What they didn’t know was that they did so good of a job, that it is just too hard to let them go.

When I get the "heart" back I look forward to writing my usual quirky outlook on life view of the world, and find my broken heart healed. To those of you who still have your parents, I envy you, and I ache for the day that you too may not "have the heart."

(Editor’s Note:  Thanks Sherry.   Do please pen more often for The Diva.  We’ve been missing you.)

10 thoughts on “Haven’t had the heart

  1. Thank you so much Emily. I have missed very much sending in my ramblings, but have continued to read yours. You have helped keep me smiling, and your articles and constant humorous view of life always encourage and inspire me. Thank you for “getting me”. Ha not too many people do view the world like you and I do.

  2. Emily, please give Sherry my love and let her know I am thinking of her. I did not know her Mother was gone. I moved my Mother to the nursing home in Ponchatoula, so I lost touch with them. She writes so beautifully, and I pray that someday her sorrow will be fully replaced with pleasant memories. She is so blessed to have had such a close relationship with her mother.

  3. Hey Ann Randle Poche. I have lost touch with you too! So glad to hear from you. I don’t know if you knew Jack’s 105 year old mother died in June. I was down there for a few days. Wish I had looked you up. Best wishes for a wonderful Holiday season

  4. I don’t know you, Sherry, but you put beautiful words to the feelings I had when my mother “moved” to heaven. I still have a dresser drawer filled with cards and letters my mother had saved throughout the year. I have a shelf in the closet of figurines and “what nots” that were Mother’s, but I can’t bear to just give them away. It will get to the stage where you will enjoy all of the wonderful memories. It’s been 16 years for me, and I love telling my grandchildren stories told me by my mother. I won’t tell you that you will ever think of Mother’s Day in the same way. That is the one day of the year when I still let myself “mourn”.

  5. Sherry… It never gets better, just different. My mother has been gone for 3 years now and I still hang on to alot of stuff she had kept. There is a special bond between a mother and daughter, so don’t feel bad putting it off til another day. It took me about a year before I could even bare to part with the most insignificant of items. Chin up, lady! You’ll get there in your own time.

  6. I get back to West Point frequently to check on my brother. Mom’s been gone for about 10 years now, and dad’s been gone for 15 years longer. I’ve been gone from West Point for over 20 years and I’m still amazed at the memories that float around in the cobwebs between my ears. So much is changed and so much is the same. It will always be “home”.
    Sherry, it takes a year before you start to see colors again. You’re halfway there. Don’t do anything significant in the first year after a major loss. One just doesn’t have the mental energy.

  7. Oh my dear Sherry…….My heart is hurting for and with you. I did not know your mother had passed away and I am so so sorry. There is no greater gift than a mother and daughters relationship and I know in my heart and soul that your mother knew how much you loved and cherished her. As a mother it is our ultimate desire to have our children adore us. Your mother achieved this wonderful honor. She raised such an exceptional loving kind daughter and I know you made her proud. It is so hard on the loved ones that are left behind and it so difficult to “go on as normal”. Take care of yourself and allow yourself the time and way you need to get through this. It is difficult but I know you have many friends who love and care about you. Lean on them for support.

    I am thinking of you with much love.


  8. Sherry…I feel your pain as I read. Loosing our Mom is probably one of the harder things in life. It changes everything. Time and God can turn that pain into laughter and smiles. It is amazing how little things can trigger that feeling of wanting to hold our parents hands again or just wanting to pick up the phone and hear their voice. I am praying for peace and joy for you that you will find comfort. When you see or hear something that reminds you of your Mom, just smile and know that her memory will live forever in your heart.

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