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HospiceLand - Tug Of War

Updated on February 11, 2020

Back And Forth

As the months drew near the end with my mom there was a lot of going back and forth for me. I would spend three or four days at my mom's house balancing the needs and demands required there for what my mom needed, what the household needed and what my sisters needed. Followed by a few days back in my own home and the demands required there in what had become an unfamiliar and unknown world since losing my job in February. Back and forth. Back and forth.

My two sisters were living with my mom the last month as well. They had various needs and struggles too. I felt in high demand. Unable to please everyone. When I was at my mom's I was away from my own home and family. My wife of twenty-five years and our fifteen year old daughter were often 150 miles away. They would come to visit on weekends and sometimes not as they struggled with their own needs and demands. The pull back and forth on everyone was merciless with all of the physical travel and sleeping in one house or the other combined with the stress of having a death looming about. It completely wore me out. It wore everyone out. The demands of it all pulled on me like taffy.

When I was home away from my mom and HospiceLand I would like to escape in the bath. I'd put on some music, usually Guster or Death Cab For Cutie. Sometimes I'd sing along not really caring if anyone could hear outside the closed bathroom door. It made me feel better. Sometimes I just soaked in the warm comfort of the water and would let the lyrics guide me or soothe me. I put on an old album I had on my computer from Paul McCartney, for something different one morningĀ and let the music flow into the room and through me.

Paul McCartney - Tug Of War

My whole world felt like it could crumble as I soaked. Tears streamed down my face masked by the steam of the bath collecting on my face as I lay thinking about the lyrics. "In years to come they may discover what the air we breathe and the lives we lead are all about". And how that couldn't come soon enough for me. I had to wonder if my mom and I would meet again and dance to the beat of a different drum?

I let myself slip into "Take It Away", the next track on the album and enjoyed the escape of that song. It made me feel how I use escape for comfort. And how it makes me feel like there isn't anyone there for me. Even when deep down I know there is. When you are in that depressed state, even if it only makes up a small fraction of who you are... it is all of who you are when you are in the depression.

At a time when your mother is dying you wonder if that is the only person who really cares about you? Your mom cares and now she is leaving you. This experience, watching a parent die and the dynamics that go with it - can be very isolating. With all of us struggling I had to wonder if my mom herself wondered if anyone really cared about her? I had to wonder if my mom knew we cared? We were all so preoccupied with our end of it all. I had to wonder if there was someone who cared about my mom on the other side... if there was an other side. I'd like to know. I think it would be reassuring to KNOW it. That somebody cares.

Paul McCartney - Somebody Who Cares

It is more poignant now perhaps, to listen to the words and feel the music. But even then in those weeks before the end, when "Here Today" came on I could feel the meaning it would have after my mom had passed as she has now done. And when I listened to Tug Of War soaking in the bath it certainly did have a hold of my emotions and helped me with the struggle. I think it helped me to let others in as well.. Expressed by McCartney over the loss of his friend and companion, John Lennon, it fits as well with any loss of a loved one. Especially, the loss of a parent.

My mom was always there with a smile and will be sorely missed. You will always be in my song, mom.

Paul McCartney - Here Today


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