balancing-motherhood-and-death

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’m having a nice lunch at Sabhai Thai with my girlfriends and our babies. Let me clear that up, we are having as nice of a lunch as you can have with a one year old that would rather be off exploring the restaurant than sitting in her high chair. Food flying everywhere, broken dishes, smiles and giggles to the neighbouring tables. I’m chit chatting with my friends and caught up in the moment of baby craziness. We pay the bill and leave. I have plans to take my little one to Tumblebums with one of the girls.

While at Tumblebums, I watch my little one for signs of sleepiness. It’s getting close to her nap time. She climbs the slide up and then slides down, again and again. When she’s all done she finds her favourite ball and holds it tight while she runs around the play area. I try to have a conversation with my friend, but I have to stay within arm’s reach of my baby and am constantly moving spots. Finally, it’s time to go. It’s nap time.

I get home, offer my little one some milk and then rock her and sing her softly to sleep. I exit the room and let out a sigh, finally a moment to myself. Immediately, I check my phone, after all it’s been at least 2 hours and I am trying to find day care for my little one in preparation for my return to work in a month. I see that I’ve missed calls and from my dad and texts from my husband and some of the texts look urgent. I read them, I listen to my voicemail. I call my step mom. No answer. I figure I will talk to her soon enough.

Her voicemail sounded just like many I had heard before. Just like many of the phone calls we had. She said my dad was in the hospital and she would be there all night with him. I didn’t keep calling that night. I was exhausted. I’d had a busy day with my little one and later on also with my 10 year old. You know the drill, pick up kid, make dinner, clean up dinner, give the baby a bath, put the baby to bed, put the big kid to bed, pull your hair out, scream and sink into your bed. I didn’t have the energy to call my step mom again. I would talk to her tomorrow. My dad would be fine.

“Death isn’t supposed to be convenient. We don’t sit around thinking today is a good day for someone to die. We don’t schedule it into our day planners or our to-do lists.”

Thursday morning I woke up to a text from my brother, I figured this is starting to get serious now and I better get a hold of someone. I called my step mom and found out my dad was on life support and he was going to die today. Whoa, wait, what? Back up a minute. MY DAD IS GOING TO DIE TODAY?! That’s all I got from my family and then it was time for them to go and time for me to take my big kid to school. Later in the morning, I received word from my brother that our dad had passed. I didn’t know what to feel, but I knew that I couldn’t break down. I have a baby at home with me and a big kid to pick up and take shopping. We had plans. My little one’s first birthday party is coming up and we have to get her a dress. Death couldn’t be any more inconvenient.

Death isn’t supposed to be convenient. We don’t sit around thinking today is a good day for someone to die. We don’t schedule it into our day planners or our to-do lists. There is no perfect time in between the endless birthday parties, after school activities, homework, holidays, work and special events to fit death in. It just happens when it happens. We are simply living our lives, running around as busy as ever without a moment to ourselves. We are moms, it’s what we do. Death and grieving can wait.

For three days I carried on with my motherhood duties, putting on a brave face for my children, going about our lives as planned and following our schedules. My children need me and it is my job to be here for them. On the fourth day after I found out my father had died, I finally broke down. My husband was home on days off work and it was finally okay to hide in my room and cry. It was okay to stop being a mom and to sleep all day. It was okay to do nothing. He covered for me during my time of need and now he is back to work. So I will go on with my days, working towards my goals, following schedules, making travel plans and caring for my kids until the next time I can get a break to grieve, because Motherhood doesn’t have time for death. I will be with my family soon enough. I can cry again then.

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