Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This Time of Year

First of all, let me say THANK YOU to everyone for showing their support after my last post.  It was something I really needed to get off my chest.  It's odd, though.  In many ways I feel like I shared to much, and yet at the same time there's so much more I could share.  There's so much more that I wish you all could understand.  It's hard to explain my relationship with Mom, but just know that even though there were many things she did that hurt me, she was also wonderful and kind and caring, and I miss her terribly.

Along those lines, I've really been struggling lately.  Sunday marked 1 month from my 30th birthday.  That was definitely a day I thought she'd be there.  In addition, we're now just 1 month away from the 1 year anniversary of Mom's scans coming back clean.  We're also only 2 months from the Richmond Marathon.  Those are a lot of big events.

Someone asked me what I wanted for my birthday the other day.  I don't want anything.  Well, there's nothing that I can actually have.  I want my mom back.  That's it.  I want to hear her call me in the morning to wish me a happy birthday, I want to spend the day shopping in Williamsburg with her, and I want to end the day by gathering around the table with the entire family, Mom included, and simply thinking how lucky I am.  Now, without that possible, I don't want anything.  I don't even want to gather around with family and friends because it will make it so much more obvious that Mom isn't there.  I don't want the reminder that she's not here.  It's so much easier to just stay in denial and tell myself that I can call whenever I want to.

You know, a year ago people were asking me what I wanted for my birthday, and my response was similar.  I didn't want anything because the one thing I really wanted, for Mom to get better, I couldn't hope for.  The most I could truly hope for was that chemo would have some minuscule effect on her cancer, and we were headed in the right direction.  That was it.  That was all I wanted.  And then, on October 15th, two days after my birthday, we got the results back- all tumors were gone.  I remember when the NP gave us the results.  I sat there dumbfounded until she left the room, and then I looked at Mom and said, "I got my birthday wish."  It was everything I could have ever hoped for.  She was cured.  I just knew she was.  My mom was the miracle.  For months I told people that Mom was the only true miracle I'd personally witnessed.  I said that for 6 months...until we got the scans back 1 week after my half birthday.  So, now I want the impossible again.  Except this time, there really isn't any way I can get my wish.  The most I can hope for this year is a good dream.

I did also mention that  we're only 2 months from the Richmond Marathon.  I'm so excited and nervous for that one.  I have some big goals, and I'm praying all goes well.  I miss Mom's excitement for me.  I miss her nervousness and those phone calls I'd get telling me about someone else who died after running a marathon.  I'm also really nervous about reaching that half way mark.  When I run, I'm generally so focused that I tune everything else out (except for traffic), but I always looked forward to seeing Mom at the half way mark.  She'd often surprise me at other spots, but the half way point was where I KNEW I'd always see her.  During a 10k, she was there at mile 3.1.  (In fact, during the past few Monument Ave 10ks, where she participated, I missed seeing her at that beautiful turn around point.)  During a half marathon, she was always at 6.5.  And during that full marathon, she was ALWAYS at mile 13.1...with the dogs.  Generally I'd only say hi for a moment.  I had time goals, so I never really stopped.  I'd wave, maybe give her a quick hug, pet the dogs, and then run on.  What am I going to do this year?  Who will be there this year?  Hans would be there, but I always like to see him / need him at mile 17 and traveling between those two points can be difficult.  I know this year I'll hit 13.1 and there will clearly be someone missing.

God, I miss her.  I can't begin to express how much I miss her.  I know plenty of people have lost their mothers.  I know plenty of people have lost them at harder points in their lives.  Still, I can't help but think how unfair this is.  She was supposed to be around for 20 more years.  She always saw herself living until she was 84.  She didn't even make it to 66.

After these events, we get into Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Ironically, I'm less stressed about those holidays, because I've spent a few of those away from family.  I've spent them with Hans' family, or with friends' families, so it won't be as hard to deal with.  But these next few events are leaving me a wreck.  At some point, I'll be able to think about my birthday without crying, but that point is not now.  Right now, I just want my mom.  I want to enjoy Barnes & Noble pumpkin cheesecake with her.  I want to admire the fall colors with her.  I want to laugh at her excitement over all these little things.  I want Mom.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Facing Reality: Mom Was An Addict

This is going to be really hard for me to write.  It's hard because I want to think the best of my mom.  It's hard because I can practically hear Mom denying every word I say.  It's hard because it's something I've been denying for a long time, but I really have to face reality.  Mom was an addict.

Mom was not the type of addict that's shown on TV.  She wasn't drunk all the time (although I suspect she drank more than she let on).  She didn't do drugs (although we definitely had some questions about her pain meds).  She didn't pawn off her wedding ring or lose the house in a bet.  But her addictions definitely affected everyone around her. 

I first heard that mom had a problem when I was 10.  We had gotten the internet, my parents were getting divorced, and Mom and Dad were constantly fighting about money.  Dad wanted Mom to spend less time online, less time on the stocks.  Being only 10, I really didn't understand much other than stocks must be bad.  I do remember asking Mom to stop buying stocks or to sell if they were about to drop, and I was told I didn't really understand and left it at that.  Of course, that was a theme that often repeated itself.

As I grew older, money became a constant concern.  Mom worked hard and she provided me with all of life's necessities, but there never really seemed to be anything left over.  In times when I'd get upset because of some money issue, Mom would almost always answer with something along the lines of, 'If that one stock had done what I thought it was going to do then we wouldn't have any worries.' Or, "If I hadn't had to use the money for XYZ and could have invested it like I'd wanted to, then we wouldn't be in this situation."  I quickly grew tired of stocks being an excuse, and Mom and I had many arguments over this.  At this point, I started to wonder if Mom had an issue.  In fact, I'm fairly certain I mentioned to Hans a few times that I was nervous about getting into the stock market because I didn't trust how I would handle things.  Honestly, it's still something I steer clear of when I can.  Still, though, if someone had asked me, "Does your Mom have a problem with addiction?" I would have answered no (assuming we had not just had a fight).  Stocks were just my mom's quirky hobby.

And then, all of a sudden, life events made my mom surprisingly financially secure.  No, the stocks didn't assist in this, but I was suddenly scared of what would happen with Mom's financial security if she stayed involved in stocks.  I begged her, pleaded with her, and made her promise to stay out of stocks.  We came up with a business plan together; a semi-risky investment, but one I KNEW I could make work.  There were so many promises.  Years passed, and I kept asking Mom about this future investment, and I was told that it was there.  I was told we could access it in a few years.  I was told I'd have it when I needed it.  And then, when it was really, truly needed, I was told it had been lost in the stocks.  There was so much hurt, so much anger.  She had been lying to me for years.  She had wasted her future, my future, Anna's future.  She had cost me years of back-breaking labor (character-building, sure, but I wouldn't mind avoiding it), and more importantly she had caused me so much heart ache.  When I think about Mom's life, there's so much that I miss, but that's the one thing that makes me truly angry with her.  It's the one thing that leaves me screaming up at the sky.  Why did she have to lie?

OK, so Mom clearly had a stock / gambling addiction.  Writing it out makes it even more obvious.  How could I not notice?  Oh yeah, she was my mom and I loved her.  I wanted to believe the lies she told, even if I knew I really couldn't.  But, as I'm learning, addiction doesn't really end with the act.  There's so much more surrounding this issue than just 'Mom had problems with money.'

As you may have noted, there are trust and betrayal issues.  Mom didn't want people to know her problems. She wanted to seem like one of those amazing investors who makes millions.  She never told people about the $6,000 she spent on stock market books or the years she spent just barely getting by.  She lied about a lot, and that's something I'm just really coming to grips with.

Then there were the people in her life.  I never understood why Mom chose to be around many of the people she did.  For a long time I said that Mom was too kind, too trusting, too childlike.  She let people take advantage of her.  To some extent that's true, but there's another side of that.  Mom surrounded herself with other addicts.  Many of the people she knew were alcoholics.  Some of them were extreme social drinkers, some were closet drinkers, but all of them suffered from the same addiction.  They also had one big thing in common: they supported Mom's addiction.  They never questioned her time in the stocks, they supported her.  They drew her in and encouraged her.  When Mom and I would fight, when I would beg and scream for her to stop, they would whisper disparaging words about me.  A few even called me out, saying that I was spoiled or a bad daughter.  Mom always made excuses for them.  They were just defending her.  They were just upset for her.  What she didn't understand, though, was that they were just causing us to drift further apart.  Mom, whether she knew / understood it or not, was willing to let these people come between us because it protected her addiction.  It allowed her to continue doing what she was doing, and she was giving up her family so she could continue playing her game.  She never could understand why I didn't want to be around these people.  Heck, for a long time I didn't understand it either, but the reality was that I wanted to protect myself from that lifestyle.  If I could have, I would have protected Mom from it too.

And then there are the other, side addictions.  The ones that wouldn't seem like such a big deal if it weren't for this bigger thing.  Of course, there's the smoking.  How many addicts have said things like, "It's no big deal." "I could quit if I wanted to." "It's not like that for me."?  Mom said all that when it came to cigarettes. 

And then there's the drinking.  I never saw Mom drunk.  Not once in my life did I see her even tipsy (she'd throw up first), but I did see her drink too much.  I did come home a few times to find the bottle of wine I'd had for ages had suddenly disappeared.  I did hear her say things like, "Oh, it was just a little." "Oh, I can have more glasses than usual because these glasses are small."

And lastly, there are the things I'm just not certain about.  Did she really need to take as much Tramadol as she did?  Was she experiencing physical pain, or was she trying to numb some emotional pain?  Was it a little bit of both?  When she was 2 weeks post back surgery and could barely used the bathroom on her own, did she climb the stairs and search through our cabinets to find her Percoset simply because she was so looped up on pain meds she wasn't thinking straight, or was she trying to fill a craving?  Did she accidentally take her Lorazepam (for nerves) instead of her Amlodipine (for blood pressure), or was she doing some excessive self medicating and just not telling anyone?  One of the hardest things about all this, is I really don't know how much of what she told me can be trusted.  And I don't know if I can't trust her because she was just out of it for a while or because she was flat out lying.

You should know that writing this is extremely difficult.  I hate painting my mother in this light.  I love my mom.  This woman who had all these issues was still a wonderful mother.  She fed me, she clothed me, she sang me to sleep, she read to me at night, she went on class field trips, she took me on fun, crazy adventures, she loved me.  In many ways she taught me what a good mother looks like.  She gave me butterfly kisses and Eskimo kisses and doggy kisses and just plain old regular kisses.  She held me when I cried and taught me that I'd always have someone there for me.  She cheered me on in all my successes, and talked me through all my failures.  She was wonderful, but she had a problem.  She had an illness. 

Mom never could admit or recognize that she had a problem.  How could she when some of the people closest to her could barely recognize it?  I often wonder what life might have been like if she'd sought help.  In conquering one addiction would she have been able to conquer others?  Would she have quit smoking sooner?  Would she have had a stronger support network?  Would she have surrounded herself with such toxic people?  Would she have gotten cancer?  Would she still be here today?  It's kind of pointless to ask this now, but I can't help but wonder.

There may not be much point to this post.  This may just the ramblings of a tired almost-30 year old who misses her mom.  But a lot of it needs to be said.  A lot of this I wish I could have spelled out for Mom.  I wonder if she would have listened.  So, I'm writing it for you. Maybe you knew Mom.  Maybe you're in a similar situation.  Maybe you're just interested in my ramblings.  Whatever your reasons for reading this, thank you for reading.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I'm Back! For Real This Time. I hope.

I'm so sorry for letting so much time pass between posts.  Gosh, lately I feel like that's all I'm saying.  "I'm sorry for not finishing that."  "I'm sorry for not calling."  "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."  And while I am trying to get caught up on a lot of things, life has also been crazy-busy as well.  Plus, the reality is that I'm reaching a point where I can't use Mom as an excuse, even if she very much is the reason why some things haven't been done.  So, in an attempt to update you on everything, I'm going to write an epic post.

- I'll start with Mom's memorial.  Let me say that it was everything I could have hoped it would be.  We had the perfect number of people, and things flowed so smoothly.  I had a lot of help in planning it out, and I'm so grateful to the people who did help.  Without them I doubt I would have gotten anything done.  I'm also extremely grateful to the people who came long distances just to honor Mom.  My aunt came from AZ, a friend came from CA, and some friends came from TN.  That's quite a ways to go, but it tells me that Mom meant a lot to them as well.

One thing that really amazed me was how much of a release I felt after the memorial.  I thought I was handling things really well, but after the memorial I felt an actual weight off my shoulders.  It wasn't until after the memorial that I could even think about tackling paper work like calling banks and paying bills.  I'm not saying it's easy now, but it's definitely doable.  I finally felt like I could breathe.  I felt like I had actually said goodbye.

I should say, though, that I still miss Mom every day.  I talk to her all the time, and I'm often brought to tears thinking of her.  The hardest is at night, when I'm rocking Anna to sleep.  I'll sing lullabies to her that Mom often sang to me, and it makes me miss Mom so much.  There's one in particular that Mom tried to sing to me about a week before she passed.  She couldn't remember the words anymore, but she tried so hard.  Thinking of that makes me both happy and sad at the same time.  I hope Mom knows how much I loved her.

- As I said earlier, the day after Mom's memorial brought a new-found lightness.  I felt happy.  I felt release.  That was, however, until the evening.  That night, a friend who was staying us for the memorial received news that her sister and nieces had been murdered.  We were with her when she got this news, and we did our best to help her process and get home safely.  I was shocked at how much this affected me.  Admittedly, I think it would have been a lot easier had I not been dealing with the death of my own mother, but my reaction still shook me.

I think I suddenly became acutely aware of just how fragile this life is.  I had little panic attacks whenever I had to leave Anna.  I still took her to daycare, but I would often drop off late and pick up early because I just needed to have a little more time with her.  I would hug her ferociously and give her lots of kisses.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the panic that fueled it was.  I had to figure out what to do.

So, I finally faced that fear.  I was / am scared of losing those closest to me.  Some psycho could take them from me, or cancer to strike again, or heart disease could hit, or a simple accident could take those I love most.  Or, it could take me from them.  This is horrifying.  So, what can I do about it?  Well, I could shutter myself in my house and only eat organic greens my whole life, but that's not any sort of life I want to live.  Or, I could cherish every moment I'm here.  I could cherish every laugh, every tear, every hug, every kick from Anna.  I could cherish every moment Hans and I get to spend together.  I could cherish every day I'm able to work and every day I get with Cody, Lollie, Kyla, & Alex.  It's not always easy, and there are certainly times that I want to pull my hair out, but all I have to do is take a deep breath and say, "This moment will pass and will never return.  How do you want to handle this?"  I personally feel it makes me a better person.  It also makes me less apt to tolerate B-S.  I don't have time to deal with mean people or lazy people.  I'm going to address things head on instead of trying to put up with them.  It has really helped.  I mean, I still have little panic attack moments, but they're getting better.

- In the realm of 'living in the moment,' Hans and I actually, finally, got a vacation.  We spent the last week with Anna, Cody, Lollie, and Hans' family at the beach in North Carolina.  That was definitely an amazing, WONDERFUL experience.  We went kayaking, biking, running.  I tried SUP (something I've always wanted to do).  We finished each day exhausted, but beyond happy.  Anna did as well as she could, although I think she was sometimes overwhelmed by all the people (yes, she's my child).  Really, it was fantastic just having so much family time.  And, the big news is that Anna started walking!  I honestly feel as though we left for the beach with an infant and came back with a toddler.  The transition was sudden (time is fleeting), and amazing.

Super happy baby's first time on the beach.
Best kayaking buddies ever.
Trying SUP for the first time.  Cody was a champ!  I love my dog!
So tired after the beach.  She slept on my chest for about 30 minutes.  It was wonderful.
So, I'm living life to the fullest.  I'm trying to see friends more.  I'm treating my body better by eating better, but I'm still enjoying little treats (like the doughnut I had this morning).  I'm keeping a better house, because it makes me feel good about myself.  I'm not perfect, and I still have moments where I sulk or get really cranky, but I'm working on it. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 6th

It's time for a non-Mom blog post.  Honestly, I'm at a point now where I don't know that I can even describe how I'm feeling.  Each day, each second is different, and I'm just getting through it.  But there are good days.  There are days like yesterday.

Yesterday, Cody turned 8 years old.  Cody-bug- my sweet, wonderful, Doodlebug.  We've always made a big deal out of Cody's birthday.  Usually we'll take him for a hike or to some fun spot.  Two years ago we held and ice cream party at the kennel.  Last year, we took 6 week old Anna out with Cody and Lollie for two long hikes and then we all had burgers and ice cream for dinner (yes, Cody and Lollie did too).   This year, we planned on going for a short evening hike, but I'll be honest.  We just couldn't.  There was so much to do at the house, and we were so far behind.  Plus, hiking with 4 dogs is much harder than hiking with two.  Instead, I picked Anna up from daycare (later than I would have liked), went to the grocery store, came home and made dinner, and then put Anna to bed.  After that, Hans and I went back to working on our projects.

Still, though, we couldn't let the day pass without doing something special.  So, we made all the dogs dinner.  The dogs, who normally only eat kibble, were fed lemon-pepper chicken with mixed veggies.  Then we made them red velvet pupcakes with yogurt icing for dessert.  Their reactions were hilarious.  Cody and Lollie, who have always been spoiled rotten, were thrilled.  Kyla and Alex, however, who were used to Mom spoiling them but who see me as the stricter parent, gave me this look as if to say, "Ha!  Like we'd fall for that."  Kyla just kept sniffing her chicken and looking at me and Hans, while Alex kept giving his chicken tentative licks to see if we'd respond.  Once we praised them for starting to eat, Alex went hog-wild.  "Woo hoo!  Chicken!!"  Poor Kyla, though, had the hardest time figuring it out.  She did eventually eat well once Cody tried to steal her food, but she really wasn't certain about it. 

When it came to dessert, the results were even better.  Cody just scarfed his down in two bites.  Lollie ran with her pupcake into the living room where she proceeded to inhale it.  Kyla also ran with hers into the living room, but she then dropped her pupcake and just licked the icing off the floor.  Poor Alex kind of struggled with his since he's so much smaller.  He ran with his into Mom's old room and simultaneously worked on breaking it apart while also trying to keep any other dog from stealing it.  It was quite amusing.

All in all, it ended up being a good day.  I'm pretty sure Cody enjoyed his day, and I know I loved making all the dogs so happy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Rollercoaster

Eventually my posts won't be about Mom or the aftermath, but this isn't that post.

Life has been a roller coaster of emotions since last Saturday.  Some days are great, but others leave me utterly drained.

When Mom first passed, the very first thing I felt was relief.  This nightmare we'd been in for the past few months was finally over.  I know this is a perfectly normal response when someone has been ill for a long time, but that was immediately accompanied by guilt.  How could I possibly be relieved?

Then the guilt became worse.  It wasn't just about the past few months, but rather about the past year.  I keep getting comments on what a good daughter I was for taking care of her, but nobody else was here for all the little moments.  Nobody else saw the fights and disagreements we had.  Nobody else saw how beat down and run down we both were.  Nobody else realized that there were times I purposely wouldn't go home simply because I wanted to be alone and couldn't be with Mom around.  Nobody else saw how I would sit in my car for 20 minutes with Anna asleep in the back just so I could have a little peace and quiet.  When Mom's scans came back so good last October, we all thought the worst was behind us.  We started taking each other for granted.  And then, when her cancer returned things happened so fast we didn't have time to think.  I feel guilty for not giving her more...more time, more laughter...just more.  And yet, I honestly don't know that I had any more to give.  I certainly wanted to sit down and simply watch a movie with her, but there never seemed to be a good time, and if there was, I just wanted to sleep.

I remember one time this past winter, I met Mom at Barnes & Noble for lunch.  We'd had a very tense morning together, but lunch was easy and light-hearted.  I actually told Mom, "You know, I think I like you better when we're not living with each other."  Luckily, she knew exactly what I meant.  We were just stepping on each others' toes so much.  And we both tried.  Mom tried to change little things about her...she watched less TV, she gave me and Hans as much alone time as possible.  I tried to be more patient, more understanding.  I tried to invite her out to join us more, because I knew how much she loved seeing us and Anna, and I loved watching the two of them interact.  But somehow, it was never enough.  So now, I'm coping with this thought of, "Why couldn't it have been better?"  Mentally I know that what we went through was fairly normal, but in my heart I wish I could have all of those moments back so I could tell her I love her.  When she was irrational due to pain or medication, I wish I could say, "You're crazy right now, but I love you." When she was asking me 300 questions about my day, when I just wanted to be left alone, I wish I could say, "Thanks for taking interest. I love you."  I miss my mom like crazy, and I wish I could have those moments back.

And then the roller coaster goes up. 

I cannot even begin to tell you how much lighter I feel now.  Death has a way of permeating every aspect of your life.  It lingers in your house and your heart.  It weighs you down.  It makes you feel as if simply being alive is too much work.  The past few months have just been so exhausting.  Heck, there were many times I was even too tired to cry.  Everyone in the house has suffered.  The lasts few weeks, I could barely even play with Anna because I was just too tired.  This past week, though, Hans and I have been clearing out.  We're redoing Mom's old room, we're clearing out her stuff and a lot of stuff we don't need any more, and all of that is just making life easier each day.  I've even noticed physical changes.  I'm not as hungry, I'm craving better foods, my runs are faster and easier, and I'm sleeping better.  I'm also reaching out to friends more and enjoying them more.  I can live life more in the moment, as my mind isn't being called back to what I need to take care of at home.  That is a blessing.

That doesn't mean things are easy by any means.  Last week, while clearing things out, I came across Mom's last tax return and started to bawl like a small child.  She was an accountant, so it makes sense, but I can't help but laugh because I think she'd be terribly upset to know that taxes are what made me cry over her.  I spent most of last Saturday packing up the last of her things, and I couldn't believe how exhausted I was after just 2 hours.  She didn't have a lot, but each thing meant something to her, and the whole process was just utterly draining.  After a few hours, I told Hans I needed a break, and we went to the Children's Museum for some time with Anna.  That was enough to get me moving again.

Oh, and then there's the planning of Mom's memorial.  Woo boy that's hard!  I mean, Mom and I had discussed our wishes years ago, so the logistics are easy, but choosing readings and whatnot is so emotionally tiring.  Plus, I have this fear that no one will show up.  I know this isn't true, because I know at least 3 people who are coming from out of state,  but what if they're the only 3?  Mom had so many friends spread so far and wide.  How can I know who will show up?

Anyway, just know that I'm getting through this.  Each day is different, with some being easier than others, but each day is also manageable.  I can manage, and I will get through this.  This roller coaster will end, and I will get off this ride and think, "What an experience."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It Is Over.

Mom passed away today.

I don't even know what to say.  I feel such a mixture of emotions.  There is the obvious one: grief.  God, I am going to miss my mom. Part of me wants to wail like I did as a little girl, "I want my MOMMY!"  And then there's relief.  Relief that the worst is over.  Relief that Mom is no longer in pain.  Relief that our family can now start to move forward.

There are a couple of things, a few miracles, that I would like to share.

First I am amazed at the love my mother felt for me.  Our relationship had suffered a lot in the past few months.  We had struggled living together, and there were many issues past and present that we were having a hard time getting through.  Still, she always loved me.  The last thing she said to me was, "I love you."  When she couldn't open her eyes anymore she still murmured, "I love you."  When she couldn't speak anymore, she still murmured.  When she couldn't murmur anymore, she still grunted.  And when she couldn't get any sound out anymore, when she couldn't move anymore, she would still change her breathing whenever I said, "I love you."  This only happened with me.  I really expected some reaction to Anna, but no.  I know she loved Anna, but it's amazing the love she felt for me.  I guess I shouldn't feel surprised, but I am amazed.

Second, I am amazed at the simple miracle of life and death.  I don't often talk about spiritual things on this blog, because my relationship with God is very personal to me, but this is such a wonder.  The last time Mom was really my mom was Tuesday morning.  Since then she's slowly deteriorated until there was little left.  This morning I thought there was nothing left of her.  My thought was that there was just a shell.  She was still breathing, but I couldn't really discern Mom.  And yet, when I walked in her room this afternoon, I could tell the difference immediately.  I knew that the life that had been in her was truly gone.  While before she was merely sleeping, this afternoon was completely different.  She was really gone.  You could feel it in the air.  To me, this is nothing short of miraculous.  I feel like that feeling alone is definitive proof that there is more to us than just skin and bones.  That's proof enough that there is God and life after death.  How amazing is that?

For all those wondering, we will wait a little while for a memorial service.  Mom had many friends far and wide, and we want to allow everyone a chance to travel.  Things will be simple and all things will have Mom in mind.  I'm lucky that she and I had discussed wishes at length long ago.  Otherwise, thank you to everyone.  Thank you to all those who sent well wishes or meals or who offered to help.  Thank you to all those who prayed for her.  Thank you to all who simply thought of us from time to time.  We love you all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What Can I Say?

What can I say except that Mom continues to decline.  Each day she reaches a point where I don't think she can possibly get any worse, and yet each day she does.  I'll be honest.  We're nearing the end.

Mom has completely stopped eating and she rarely will accept water.  As of Sunday she refuses to open her eyes on most occasions.  If you ask her a question, she will respond, but I'm not always certain she knows what she's answering.  Comprehension isn't 100%.  She says she's not in any pain, but any sort of movement has her crying, "No, no no."

At some point over the weekend, I started to cope a little better.  I started to come out of the depression phase of things and started to focus more on the 'what needs to be done' side of things.  I was able to talk about it without breaking down or even becoming weepy.  And then last night, just as I was about to head up to bed, I lost it.  I had one thought: I'm going to be motherless.  I ended up spending 45 minutes ugly-crying on the couch with Hans bringing me tissues and just holding me.  And of course, today I'm back to weepy

I cancelled her doctor appointment for today as I'm unable to transport her, and there's not much point in it.  That said, palliative care is sending out a nurse practitioner to meet with me and seriously talk about hospice.

I feel bad for all the people who have asked to visit Mom.  At this point, I'm allowing a few select people in if I'm with them.  Otherwise, please stay away.  She won't realize you're there anyway, and having so many people around is just overwhelming.

Yesterday, I sat with Mom for a while.  I sang songs to her.  I sang the most soothing things I could think of...lullabies.  I had Anna with me, and I snuggled / nursed Anna and sang lullabies to both my child and my mom.  God, that sounds even more depressing when I write about it!  Anna has been a trooper.  She's normally good for a 30 minute visit or so, but I can tell it takes its toll on her.  After each visit, as I take her from her stroller to put her in the car seat, she reaches up and gives me the most wonderful hug.  Maybe she's just tired, maybe she's just grateful to be out of her stroller, but I truly believe that she's hugging me because she's upset to see her grandmama so ill and her mommy so upset.  Most visits now are when Hans can be home to watch Anna.

At this point, I'm just making sure Mom knows how much we love her.  I tell her I will always love her.  I tell her that Anna and I are OK, and we'll be OK.  Yesterday, I thanked her for teaching me how to be such an amazing mom.

And now I wait.  I hold my breath every time a nurse calls.  I get angry when they call me with trivial news.  "Mrs. P, I just wanted to let you know your mom hasn't been eating."  Do they not see me there every single day?  Do they think I don't already know that?  One of these days I'll receive a final phone call from them, and I won't have to hold my breath anymore.  Why must they call over such simple matters?

I know I'm rambling.  It's just how my thoughts are working right now.  Keep us in your thoughts.  Thank you for all the love and support so many people have shown.  If you see me, and I'm smiling, be happy for me.  If you see me and I'm crying, I'm sorry.  Don't run away.  It will pass and I'll smile again soon.