As all of you know who read this blog I have taken some time off due to my world being rocked on it’s side… I am certainly not over losing my mother and suspect that I never will be – and you know what? That’s okay…. I have long said “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” I have so many things I want to talk about… Some of them I will no doubt delete before I post this so I don’t hurt any feelings (that is never my goal)
I want to tell you about my mother, I want to tell you that as everything she did in her life she left this Earth on her terms! Not cancers! I want need to tell you that she told cancer to both Fuck off and go to Hell… All the while making sure I knew that I was loved.
Sunday I woke up and spent the day with mom – not in the “sick bed” kind of way that people would think. I picked her up and carried her teeny little body to the living room and Cheryl, Alicia and I played games – at some point in there I actually commented to Cheryl that I could go on like this forever having Mom in and out and knowing that I could take care of her – I was confident in her pain management by then. Mass General had sent out it’s own doctors and they were working up plans to keep her well and comfy. She was swallowing ice chips and the occasional sip or two of Boost. I really thought she had a couple of weeks left, she was out of her constant sleep and every time someone said I love you to her she replied in kind. She sat in her chair and listened to us play games and we had a great time, just sitting by the fire loving mom and seeing her smile while she slept beside us – it was truly one of those moments where you know that everything in the world is EXACTLY where it should be. Cheryl had brought over some cinnamon apple bread and was heating it up and the scents were wafting through the house… It was living a Christmas carol! Then we got mom all settled in her bed again and they left (well in that we live 109 feet apart kind of leaving ie they were in and out all day) and with NO notice mom’s two best friends stopped by (independently and about 30 minutes apart) to talk to her and let her know they loved her (I am now convinced that she needed this in order to go) she woke up for both of them! Nothing spectacular happened and we went to bed – mom was having little cute birdie coughs that the nurse who had stopped in earlier in the day had shown me how to relax her lungs… A little after 3 AM they got worse and more frequent and I decided to sleep on the floor of her room so that I could cup her back each time she coughed more quickly… Around 7 AM it settled and I decided I would go to work and I got up dyed my hair, took a shower and went downstairs (Jim was with mom meanwhile). Then Jim got ready for work and I hung out downstairs I talked nothingness to mom and just relaxed. Jim left (he had a storytelling show) and I waited for Cheryl and while I was waiting I decided I was staying home – I just wanted to be there to enjoy the glow of the weekend a little longer and Mom didn’t look great – not awful but not great. Cheryl came over (with all her working gear) and I called my boss and IT to set up my VPN. Cheryl and I went in and looked at Mom. C didn’t love how she looked and I couldn’t find the thermometer (found it a little later after I no longer needed it) so I ran to Walgreen’s (called Hospice on the way) and grabbed a thermometer (I found a cool one that you just stick on a persons head) and a bottle of liquid tylenol (just in case) when I got back Mom’s breathing was shallow and infrequent and Cheryl and I took her temp chattering all the way. Cheryl asked her to take a breath a few times and she did and it was good – she regulated and we left her to rest (knowing that hospice was on the way – ohhh yeah I also turned up her oxygen just to give her a little help in that aspect.) I was so not worried about her that I went up stairs to work on getting my VPN set up and about 3 or 4 minutes later I heard Cheryl get up and walk to mom’s room (all of 4 steps so I got up to join her – I am fiercely jealous of anyone getting more Mom time than me) and as I hit the doorway I heard her say “Mom take a breath, Mom BREATHE” and I ran downstairs… And that was it, my life as I know it just ended, and I know that people keep thinking I had tons of warning but really I never thought it would happen… That my mom who was so full of life all of a sudden had none left to give or share, she was gone.
The day was crazy waiting on family to come say goodbye and the hearse and making decisions at the funeral home and friends and family coming over and well Mom wasn’t there – and I know that this aspect should have occurred to me but I suppose that if I am honest I was prepared for her to die but not for her to be dead, it’s so so weird! She is my mother and she is the one who is always there ALWAYS!
The next week was filled with friends and family and cards and flowers and fruit baskets and people being wonderful and it was amazing. The other thing that happened is that people frequently said things they thought was kind and considerate and really it was like a kick in the chest… I have learned so much through all of this, I have watched friends who have just been amazing and friends who don’t know what to do and are just avoiding me and friends who really want to help but don’t know how…
So much has happened since then, friends who have lost loved ones, gotten divorces, spent time in the hospital and really the world has continued to turn, mine isn’t yet… But I have to continue if only for the sake of mom… I wish that you all don’t have to go through this (but know that you probably will in some form or another) and I want you all to know I hope that I can be as wonderful for you as you have been for me.
I want to end this with something more cheery (I am after all “Joy”) so I will tell you that spring is coming and when it gets here I am ready – I have heirloom tomato seeds ready to plant (early May) and heirloom pepper seeds (late April) a watermelon kit that I am pushing and planning on starting on May 1st… And last night while I went to pick up some pellets I saw the coolest thing ever at Lowes so of course I bought it - - An ENTIRE salsa growing kit… Which I know means more tomatoes and peppers but there are also herbs (and I love growing herbs) and some green onions… I. CAN. NOT. WAIT!!! Want salsa?
Please hug your parents and let everyone you love know it…