The Calm Within the Storm

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

Acrylic on Canvas

24" x 36"

The last 6 months of my life....the last 6 months of my mom's life....have been an emotional roller coaster that I will forever be unable to put into words. The emotions that I felt as I knew I was losing her are something that I just could not explain. She was my best friend. My confidant. My shopping buddy. My support system. My biggest cheerleader. She was my Mom. But she was sick. She was diagnosed with COPD at least 20 if not 30 years ago. She had been at "end stage COPD" for at least the last 7 years. But she was a fighter and refused to give in to the illness. But it was hard. She couldn't do the things she used to do. In her mind, she still wanted to put on roller skates and zip around the rink, but her body made it a challenge to even walk across the room. It was difficult to see my mom, who was so active and full of life be held down by this awful disease. In the last year, the inevitable dementia from a lack of oxygen to her brain was predominant. Now my mom who already had lost most of her physical ability was losing her mental capacity as well. To put it simply, it sucked. By August of 2019 she was declining rapidly. The hallucinations, the confusion, the weakness in her body, the constant tremors....all caused by what can be considered carbon dioxide poisoning as a result of COPD....were constant. Her symptoms would reach a fever pitch and we'd think for sure the end was imminent, but then she'd rally and we'd have a good couple of days or even weeks until the next rapid descent. Although you might think I would appreciate the good days, I began to resent them because I knew we would be going through the same thing again before long. It wasn't fair. She was suffering in a way that no good human should suffer. And she was a good human. She would give you the shirt off her back if you were in need, even if she didn't have another shirt of her own. She never put herself first. I hate that the end of her life was full of suffering. It just wasn't fair.

When the end finally came for her, I knew she was at peace. My initial feeling was great relief for her that her suffering was over. I am grateful for that. I remind myself of that on a daily basis. I remember the good times, and I am learning how to navigate through the grief. But it is something that I will never be able to put into words. The last 6 months have been an emotional roller coaster of feelings that no one could possibly understand unless they have experienced it themselves. So I put my emotions onto canvas and the result is this painting. I didn't use any reference photos and literally just started painting what I felt, with no intention of what the outcome would be. This painting is exactly how I feel. It is a God-awful storm that has brought peace and calm but is scary and turbulent and anything but calm all at the same time.

This is what it feels like to lose my mom.

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