For my mother

My mother, Linda Jane Gruber, died Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. She was 64 years old.

It’s interesting how we all know that death is coming for us, yet we’re never quite prepared for it. It’s 3:20 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14 as I write this, and I’ve spent the last three hours processing, crying, mourning, remembering. I feel like there is something I should be doing, and yet, I’m completely helpless until the sun rises.

I have spent decent amounts of my life writing, and have never been one to shy away from the emotional. So while this sting is still fresh, I want to get something down. Honestly, it’s the only thing I feel like I can do at this very moment.

Mom was pretty sick in September. She had some issues that started around Labor Day, which ended up sending her to the hospital shortly after. Thanks to some generous time provided by my employer, I was able to go down and spend time with her, and tend to some things while I was there to help ease my parents’ burden while she was recovering. That ended up being very precious time, indeed.

My wife, Amy, and I have cried a lot since I got the call. Late night calls are not typically not good, and I knew when my dad called me that this was it. I could feel it before I unlocked the phone and said, “Hello?”

The thing that is foremost in our minds now is how awful Sunday morning is going to be. My three children are sound asleep right now, unaware of the news we will have to give to them when they wake up. I am thankful they got to bed before they got this news, if only to enjoy one more night of pain-free sleep. My kids love all their grandparents immensely. This will be a very painful time.

I am so fortunate. My mom was an excellent mother. She was always loving, and was an incredible giver. I am so thankful for technology that allowed us to video conference Oct. 9 on my oldest daughter’s birthday. She seemed like she was doing better. A week ago she texted me to ask “Are you watching the Chiefs?” (She obviously was, as was I.) On Tuesday, we had a FaceTime call. She and my dad sang “Happy Birthday” to my daughter, Ember, for her 12th birthday. We talked on Thursday afternoon. She texted on Friday to say her recent tests were looking very good. “All normal,” she said.

And on Saturday, she was gone.

I feel like I have much more to say, and yet, this feels like all I can muster for the time being. My heart is pounding. My head is tired. My soul is anxious that I have to tell my children that their grandmother is dead.

Please, I beg of you: put away your past disagreements. Bury you past hurt. I had a great relationship with my mother, and even still, I have regret. I should have called her on Saturday. Did I tell her I loved her the last time we talked? Did I turn out to be the man she hoped I would become?

My heart is completely broken.

14 thoughts on “For my mother

  1. Lisa Stiver

    Bless you and your family Eric. Your Mom loved you and your family so much. She talked often about you. My heart goes out to you and your entire family. Her work family will miss her terribly. I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through as I have not yet had to endure this kind of grief. I will keep each of you in my prayers and we will always remember your Mom as the wonderful, caring, kind, compassionate, God loving woman she was. She will remain in our hearts and your family in my prayers. I’m so glad I got to meet you.

    Reply
  2. Heather Physioc

    Oh Eric, I am so terribly sorry to hear the news. My heart is with you and your family. Lots of love to you and yours. Lean on me if I can make your days a little easier while you grieve the loss of this wonderful woman. ♥️

    Reply
  3. Bonnie Hall

    Eric, so sorry to hear this news. She was so young but got to see so many happinesses. Your children growing and healthy. You and Amy and your loving home that you provide for them. Hope you and your family get through this sad time.

    You know what is important in life. Thoughts are with you.

    Reply
  4. Uncle Bruce and Aunt Laurene

    Eric and Amy, we are so sorry for your loss. May God bless you with comfort and peace. We love you all.

    Reply
  5. Katherine Shaw

    Thank you for sharing what’s from your heart. I’m glad you had that time with your mom. I’m so sorry!

    Reply
  6. Melody Morgan

    I am so shocked right now. I just learned of your mom’s passing a few minutes ago as I sat down and scrolled through Facebook. The tears came quickly. I am so sorry! I will never be able to explain what a positive impact your mom had on my life. Through any struggle I may have been facing in my life, she never wavered in her love and support of me. She loved me as her patient, as her friend, as her coworker, and as a fellow mother trying to raise my child well. I am so thankful for that hug I got from her at my appointment the first part of September. Your family will be in my prayers. Your mom said to me often, “ Well….. we will just pray about it.” And I will. Love to you, your dad, Heather, and the rest of your family.

    Reply
  7. Janet L Nixon

    Oh, I am so sorry. My heart aches for you all. Oh, how many times I have rushed to the hospital and taken my Mom and Pops home again. I know that I will get the call sometime in the near future. I dread it so. She was getting better last I had heard. I had hope for her and all of you. Now I am crying like a big ole baby because I know how close you all are. Remember all the good times, it’s so hard to say farewell. Love you all.

    Reply
  8. Connie Abbott

    I just heard the sad news. This breaks my heart to hear of your mommas passing. I have known you mom many years. She was a wonderful caring lady. I can hear her saying your name in my mind now. She talked about her family with much love. I know the pain of losing a mother. My prayers and heartfelt sympathy to you an your family

    Reply
  9. Misty Griffith

    I’m so truly sorry for the loss of your sweet momma she was truly an angel on Earth she will be missed and never forgotten

    Reply
  10. Dorothy Whitaker

    So sorry for your loss..l’m your Dad’s cousin…last time I saw your Mom was on your Grandma’s birthday…Your Mom put on the best party….what a sweetheart. My deepest sympathy for you and your family. Dorothy Whitaker.

    Reply
  11. Carol A McCoy

    Eric and family, I was blessed to have two mothers – one who birthed me and one who raised me. They’re both gone now, and I can tell you up front that the next year is going to be a year of firsts. Your job now, as her son, is to celebrate the mother she was and how well she raised you; be thankful for having *her* as your mother, and instead of coming at all the firsts in the next 12 months from a gloomy perspective, approach them from a celebratory angle. How are you, as a family, going to celebrate that first Christmas in her honor? Create a new tradition that she would have loved? Something silly she would have enjoyed and laughed at?
    Your job as a father is to share those celebrations with her grandchildren. Listen to them talk about her, encourage them to ask questions; don’t let them hold it all inside for fear of hurting *you*. Let them participate in how they wish to celebrate their grandmother, and new family traditions.
    Your job as a son is to simply love your father; “holding space” is a phrase that I love. Not everything has to be “fixed”; simply being present is the answer and the support that is needed. Hold space for him; he’s lost the love of his life, the mother of his children. 15 years ago, you wouldn’t have had the life experience to empathize with varying depths of his loss. Today, you do.

    You’re a good man, Eric. There is no doubt in my mind that she was very proud of you. I am and I’m not even your mom Much love and many prayers for joy and strength to you, Amy, and the kids.

    Reply
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