On September 25, 2017, my mother, Helen Robb, passed away, after a short but intense battle with Cancer. What started as uncomfortable stomach issues earlier last Spring would soon set her and my family on a similar emotional roller coaster that we had gone through with Darrel just over ten years previously. While we had nearly two years after diagnosis to come to terms with what was happening to Darrel, we only had mere months when it came to my mother. There are those who would argue that the cancer moving quickly is always preferable to a more long and drawn out process, but at the end of the day, and especially THAT day, my mother was still taken from her family far too soon.
We have done the best we can to rally around my father these past months, as his loss was greater than probably the rest of ours combined. My parents would have celebrated their 50th Anniversary later this year, but of course, my father knew and loved her for much longer than that. She was his wife, his best friend, his beacon, and his EVERYTHING. Adjusting to every second of every day without her by his side has been no easy task for him to contend with, but we try to help out and support him whenever and however we can. Thanksgiving and Christmas were significant challenges for all of us to get through without her guidance, supervision, and her smile and laugh at the Dinner Table with us. Moving forward, it will be a delicate matter to decide which Family Traditions should remain untouched, which should be adapted, and which should not be continued any longer without my mother to oversee them. Ahead of my family this year will be many such occasions where the "First Without Mom" will add a new emotional component to the event that was not there before now.
There are countless memories that I could share about my mother, but they could not possibly convey fully how much she meant to myself and her family and friends. I'm still attempting to process this loss, and most likely will for some time to come. I know firsthand that people can deal with their grief in a different way, but I am also discovering that I have many varying layers of grief when I've lost someone so close to me. This does not feel the same as when we lost Darrel. I'm not saying that it should, and I'm not saying it shouldn't, but I just assumed they would be on a similar level. Could it be the internal dynamics of the relationship make that much more of an impact than just looking at it from it being a single generational standpoint? A Father/Protector losing his Son going against a Son losing his Mother/Protector? I've been through a lot over these past ten years, and perhaps they have changed me a bit more than I thought. Whether I find out or not, only time will tell I guess.
The concept of how to differentiate between my parents and Rebecca's parents had confounded all my kids when they were younger, but especially Darrel. Since his Robb grandparents always drove a car, and his Webers grandparents always had a truck, he assigned labels to them on terms he could more easily understand. The handles of 'Grandpa/Grandma With The Car' and 'Grandpa/Grandma With The Truck' would continue to be used long after Darrel was taken from us. Darrel had several other nicknames for people close to him, and phrases he liked to use. While I don't go out of my way to use them, they seem to work themselves into conversations I am having with someone from time to time. It always brings a little smile to my face when I get a knowing and reassuring response from the other person that remembers that those words originally came from Darrel.
Another substantial change around here recently has been Lauren moving out on her own at the beginning of January. It is a big step for her, but it is one that I am confident and proud that she has decided to undertake. While the commute from Fergus to Guelph isn't very long, with the amount of extra hours she puts in, along with the unpredictable road conditions throughout the winter, it does make sense to be closer to where she needs to be most of the time. It has/will no doubt been quite an adjustment for Lauren, as well as for me too. With Kira off at university, it will be just me and the dogs now for much of the year. And so the Adventure Continues...
Thank You for visiting Darrel's Playground
Rest In Peace Mom