Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life marches on...

We have been very busy since the death of my mom. Busyness kind of puts the grieving on hold. My dad doesn't need to be by himself much so one of my sisters and I have been going back and forth staying at his house and taking him to our houses. Thankfully he is a very easy person to take care of. It has still been very tiring on all of us. We are starting to clean their house out and will be trying to sell it. We are not sure where or what the best living situation will be for him. This is a really tough time for our whole family!

McKenzie decided recently that Myles should have a duck. This is "Mr. Puddles"

The poor thing thinks this is his pond! (Yes, Madeline tethered his foot to the picket fence!:o) We are hoping to release him at a local pond soon. He is eating way too much of our chicken food!

Last night I made an appointment for a much needed haircut. McKenzie and I "escaped" the house for a few hours. It was a much needed break from reality. We went to a Mexican restaurant afterwards to eat dinner. My mom loved Mexican and we immediately started reminiscing about her. I ended up with tears streaming down my face. Our waitress came to fill our water and looked distraught. Sometimes when I am out in public and just can't help the tears I want to scream... "My mom just died!" I definitely realized that I have just been too busy to even think about the fact that she is gone. Some days it just hits harder than others.

This little wooden star was the extent to our Memorial Day celebration. Hoping the summer gets a little better.

My mom died on the opening day of Matthew's baseball season. She was so proud of her "lefty" pitcher. We have taken my dad to several of his games. I think it has been a good distraction for him.
The little guys enjoy playing with the rocks during the games! :o)

Malachi loves his "Pa". He calls him his "Grand Man". This morning at breakfast I overheard him say, "Grandpa, are you an old man?" :o)

Our left-handed pitcher.

Grandpa watching Matthew pitch.

Until next time...

Monday, May 21, 2012

I will see you in the morning.

Well, I have been putting off writing another blog post about my mom but I know I need to get it done. There is so much that I want to journal about that it is overwhelming. I think tonight I will focus on her last days and her funeral.

Sometime the first of April my mom woke up one morning with terrible back pain. Because she had crippling gout (along with congestive heart failure and kidney failure) we all wondered if it was just gout. She would mention it to her doctors and they would prescribe pain pills and muscle relaxers. It is a long story but finally on April 19th one of her friends took her to the doctor. I called to check on her and she was crying and told me that her doctor was admitting her to the hospital. I packed my bags and took two of my children and headed to the small town that she lives in. There have been many trips like that over the past years and even though it was obvious that her health was getting worse and worse, I just kind of thought this was more of the same. When I walked into her hospital room it was awful the kind of pain she was experiencing. My children stood outside her door and cried. I cried telling the nurse she had to have more pain meds. Her nurse told me that her blood pressure was dropping and they couldn't give her anything else. She ended up being transferred to a larger hospital in a nearby city. In just a few short days she ended up in ICU with dangerously low blood pressure. It was evident by then that without a miracle she wasn't going to make it. It was the worst time of my life.

An incomplete family without our mom.
She did have moments in the hospital where she was more alert to talk to us. It was heartbreaking though. She didn't fear dying but was sad that she was not going to be with us. She and my dad would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on July 14th. She kept saying that she wanted to live for that. Watching my dad grieve was awful. He was so desperate for her to live. The hospital experience was terrible. Me and my sisters felt so helpless to help her. After days in the hospital we finally found out that it was two fractures in her back that was causing the pain. Her blood pressure never was stable enough for them to do a procedure to help her. The doctors and most of the nurses looked at her as an old dying lady. We saw her as a 67 year old mother that we desperately wanted to live! Looking back over the whole experience I can see how our culture devalues human life. It was kind of ironic that for years my mother was a director of a crisis pregnancy center fighting for the unborn and her last days we were fighting for her life. It was a very upsetting time for all of us.

When we got the call early one morning that they were having to start a second drug to keep her blood pressure up we knew it was coming to an end. We made the gut wrenching decision to stop the blood pressure medicines and move her to a hospice room. She was awake part of that day but the pain medicine kept her pretty much out of it. Her best childhood friend came to see her that day along with lots of other friends. We played hymns for her, read scripture and talked to her. Late that night she was still hanging on. We didn't want her left alone so I spent the night with her. I laid on the chair listening to her breathe and watching her chest rise and fall. In some ways I wanted to be the one with her when she died, but in other ways I knew it would be awful. Around 6:00 A.M. on May 5th I got the nurse to check her blood pressure. It was higher than it had been the night before so I decided to go home for a while. My sister's husband came up there to sit with her that morning. Around 8:30 that morning with my brother-in-law and two of my mom's best friends there she took her last breath.

(Gertrude was my mom's grandmother that she dearly loved. She was buried at the foot of her grave.)

You can't imagine the pain of losing a mother until you have experienced it. There is a void in our family that will never be filled. The day we were planning her funeral I was driving home wondering what Matthew should wear as a pall bearer. I thought for a second of calling my mom to ask her. Even though her health has been really bad in recent years she was still available to talk to. I didn't realize how much I took that for granted. I would give anything for one more phone call, one more visit, or even one more interruption in my school day!

Of course, Mother's Day was the Sunday after we buried her. I was dreading it but it really wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The waves of grief come when you least expect it. I have cried (and I mean really cried) several times in the middle of Kroger. Everywhere I go there are reminders of her. She was a huge part of our lives. In my lifetime I have been with her every Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas (except the one when I had the flu!) She made everything special and it is going to be very hard to recreate the things that she did. We will try though.

My sweet heartbroken dad. He is so pitiful without her.

I can't imagine having a good day again. I know they will come but I just can't imagine. I am not sure what our new "normal" is going to look like. My dad is 18 years older than my mom and even though he is very healthy, his eyes are not so great. He was her hands and feet and she was his eyes. They made a good team. We are starting to sort through their house and hope to eventually move him down close to us. I am looking forward to him being a part of our lives each day. I know my children will be blessed because of it.

Well, I think that is all for tonight. Mom, I miss you terribly and as the line in one of your favorite movies (A Man Called Peter) goes.... I will see you in the morning!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Mother

I wish I was writing a Mother's Day post for my mom tonight.  Instead I am writing to say that she died this week.  It is a long story and I will save it for a day when my mind is clearer.  She was sick for a long time but I don't think you can ever be prepared to lose someone close to you.  It still seems surreal that she is gone.

If you still have your mother here on earth enjoy every minute you have with her.  Losing a mom leaves a void that you can't imagine until it happens.

I will write more later...