Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmastime again

Having kids keeps you in the moment. For me Christmas is so busy and the last two have been consumed with my Mom's impending death, so I would like to buzz by and get to February. But, kids keep you present and focussed on the season.

The boys had a Christmas Shop at their school. they were both very excited and we gave a couple dollars to spend.

When I got home James was very excited. He ran to me with a gift in hand, a tiny ring with a purple stone. He exclaimed " I got this for you, Mommy." I of course ut it on.

Daddy said " And look what I got" It was a pen that said "BEST GRANDPA"

I laughed histerically, Jim did not. He's a party pooper!

We went for a drive around our neighborhood the next night. The boys love Christmas lights.

There is a neighbor a couple streets over who is always very festive. He had The nativity scene with the usual characters in the yard, but a Santa atood behind the manger. On the porch was a Mickey Mouse and other charachters.
Gavin exclaimed " Look Mommy, it's God and Mickey Mouse". Somehow even with my beliefs of acceptance of others beliefs, this just didn't seem to make sense. But to Gav it was perfect:)

And on this day last year:

http://aboysmomx4.blogspot.com/2009/12/sad-news-today.html
It was one of the saddest days in a Dr's office ever. I thought the day they went over my belly for 20 minutes looking trying to determine if my baby would be ok was to be, but this topped it by far:( My sweet Mom tried so hard to make it ok, but it ended up so wrong.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A new dream

Sometimes I think I should rename this blog "Missing Mom" because for the last year it seems it all I write about, but then it is Mom who created this person who used to write about funny day to day things my children do and say and the worries, concerns, thoughts and joys that go along with being " a boys mom x 4". So I guess it fits even this year:)

James turned 7 on 11/26. He has lost another tooth, making him a "gummy boy" as his Daddy called him today. He has 4 teeth missing and looks very cute.

I had a new dream last night of Mom. We went for a walk down to the ocean. I remember wanting to say "I really wish you wouldn't die" but did not. We talked as we walked and I said "this is a long way." I can't remember what she said, but I remember thinking in the dream how hard it would be for her to walk back and then realizing she wouldn't need to walk back. Somehow walking to the ocean was all there was. I did not wake up crying and I did not cry in the dream. It seemed calmer.

I miss her terribly. She was always at the boys birthday parties. She has now missed two.Last year she rode the train up for James party at Chuck E Cheese and she was so sick. Simon picked her up and brought her. She just sat there and Tom sat and talked to her. She was so appreciative of that and commented how kind he always is. She gave James his first money and he was so excited to get real money.

This year Granny and Grandpa gave him money in his card. I was happy they did because Mom would have if she had been here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Apparently Jammie combo's have become a new method of power

Gavin came out with a Superman shirt and Spongebob pants.

Gavin:
I have Spongebob and Superman so they can't be killed
James:
But Gavin this is real life so they can.
Gavin:
No, Spongebob is a sponge
Gavin:
How bout you can't be killed, James.
James:
Nah.

Mommy, do you think we should practice the spelling test?

Last night I met a couple girlfriends for a couple hours~skinny margarita's and conversation. I got home just before 10 pm. James was laying quietly in bed, but when I walked into the room he popped his head up. He had been waiting patiently.
James: Mommy do you think we sould practice the spelling test?
I had forgotten to do it before I left. We barely squeezed in homework after soccer practice, dinner and bathtime. Daddy had started a movie with the boys while they finished dinner, and I completely forgot about the test:(
Me: Oh yes, James. Jump up and we'll do it quickly.
James jumped up and true to form aced his practice test with Mommy. He loves tests!
He had me grade it:) E~for Excellent in every way sweet boy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dreams

Gavin said she would come to me in my DREAMS.

In the last weeks I have had some amazing dreams. I've not been into analysis(my Mom was always into that), but I feel sure these are meaningful, maybe even connections. If this goes against your belief system and you are reading, know that I respect that. It may not even be part of mine...who knows. It is comforting to believe my Mother is connecting, so I'll go with that for now.

I had this dream right after she died:
First dream of Mom


I have dreamed of her several times but I have had very little memory. The recurrent theme is at the end of the dream I say over and over "Please don't die, Mom" and wake up crying. There are three recent vivid dreams. These started at the anniversary of her last diagnosis last year.

Dream 1. I am dreaming of dreaming and saying please don't die and crying. I wake up from the "dream" crying and then wake up.

Dream 2. The phone is ringing and I pick it up. I say "Hello". Mom says " Amy", the operator comes on and starts telling me what I have to do to accept the call. I try but am unable to get it done and I wake up.

Dream 3. We are together for a long time in this dream at a lovely tree filled facility of some sort. There are tennis courts and a large group of us. We took a walk together as a group and then paired into teams, I was left out of the tennis teams because there were 5 of us.
I went and sat down with Mom who was talking to Martha about their lives and times together. There were alot of my Mothers pictures and two women were looking through them, I felt like I needed to explain something to them. They seemed somewhat judgemental.
We went for another walk, they went into a room and I followed. There was a large bath. Simon was running the water and standing in it. I asked Mom "Do you want to take another bath"? She said "Yes"
I think we were all in the water at this point.
Mom and I went back outside, I touched her face and said "I don't want you to die"
Mom said "Do you want me to live a life immortal? I'm going to die tonight  alert and active and you're going to help me."
I say over and over "I don't want you to die, Mom". I wake up crying.
It was about 4 am, but I've lost too many dreams so I got up and wrote it down with a sharpie in the dark.
Gavin saw it yesterday and asked why I wrote on his pumpkin.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hey, Noni gave us those

Gavin and James spent the night at Aunt Erika's on Saturday. Their toothbrushes are still packed in the bags sitting in my car. James has an extra in his bath, but Gavin's was in my bathroom and it is in a cover given to them by my Mom when she was not sick. One of the summers they stayed with her and went to VBS, before her last year when she was too weak to have them.
I took the toothbrush into the boys bathroom and James saw it in the cover.
He looked excited and said "Hey, Noni gave us those"
I smiled. It is such a joy to hear him say these things. One of my biggest regrets is that they won't get to grow up with Noni. I'm so happy they have these memories and hope they last a lifetime.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween 2010

James was a knight and Gavin a pirate.
We went to trick or treat on Bryan Street and then wound our way back to the Phantom House( a phantom appears on the hour to play a pipe organ atop the Browns roof). It is complete with spooky fire. The boys have loved it since they were babies and thier big borthers before them.
We stopped along the way for a visit with a couple friends.
It was a lovely little Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

1 year

It has been a year since Mom came to have hernia surgery and the cancer was once again discovered. It is two and a half months until the anniversary of her death. I have been dreaming of her, dreams of dreams and dreams of phone calls. She's always just out of reach.
This song makes me think of Mom:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7j1uogI02A

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shake all those cares away

I don't care! I have always been a person who cared very much about "appearances". I can quickly turn from spitting mad to a smile, because I am private and don't want people to know that there is anyhting less than perfection in my life;) I spend a whole day cleaning before anyone come over, etc. This has manifested itself in over a year of of having noone over to my home.
We have a very old home(1915 Craftsman) and it requires constant work. Add to that the fact that we are not good at completing projects(some of us worse than others) efore starting a new one and I am too frugal...err...cheap, to pay someone to do things we can do ourselves. T/hen top that all off with a terminally ill mother living in my home off and on for ove a year before she passed away leavin me numb and unable to think of completing ANYTHING.
Well, I have decided to invite a couple people over, half-done projects and all and I won't e ome to clean the whole day because I'm working.  I just don't care!! I am not perfect and my home is FAR from perfect but I can drink a glass of wine and say "excuse the mess until my kids are grown!" Say a tiny prayer that I can keep this attitude through Saturday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From the mouth of James

James and I were laying in bed watching tv. This commercial came on:


After the first sentance James looked over at me and said: Well, for you, not yet.

Comforting, Jamesee;) Good to know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rainbows

Last night we were discussing Gavin's school work. He brings home worksheets that he has completed and they are covered in strips of crayon colors. They are fully covered, often with a few blocks of color in the wide strips. I wandered what his teacher thought.
Me: Gav, what does your teacher think about you coloring your work?
Gavin: She likes it.
Me: These are beautiful. Where do you get the idea's for your artwork?
Gavin: I have rainbows in my head.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Moments in ordinary days

Today I have been working on the Silent Auction I am chairing for William Lipscomb PTA on 11/4. We have some great donations but I was following up and looking for more. (everyone reading this should plan to come to the auction;))
As I was walking around I saw a Yoga studio my Mom had attended when she would come visit. It was important to her and she really liked the person she saw there. I felt compelled to cross the street and drop off a donation.
It looked like it might be closed, but I trucked along and pulled the handle. It was empty, but a woman was sitting at the front putting on her shoes.
She said "Are you looking for___"
Me:" I'm actually just here to drop off a request for our Auction" I introduced myself.
She: "Oh well, then maybe it's me you're looking for. I'm Michelle."
Me: "I think it is." (Somehow I really felt I had been looking for her. I gave the info and she kindly agreed she'd donate)
Me:" I also wanted to tell you that my Mother used to come here and she really enjoyed it."
Michelle asked my Mothers name and said she knew exactly who she was and really loved her. We talked about her passing and she had heard, she said she'd been so surprised.  She asked how I was. I said "ok" but then as we talked I teared up. She hugged me and said she was so glad I'd told her who I was. That I was so lucky to have had Lynn as my Mother, that she was such a powerful person.
I needed to hear that and feel my Mother today.
I do feel so lucky because I felt so connected to my Mom. Not because my Mom was perfect, she was far from it and we did not have a "perfect" or "fluffy" relationship. She was real and taught me to be real. I knew she loved me and that was perfect! She was so available to me and I miss her support!!!
Tomorrow is my birthday. She grew me and nurtured me and loved me. Tomorrow was important to her.
I miss her this month. This month is big for us. I
I also miss her this month because it is big for me. My kids are big for me and James' mass is back. It's very worrisome and dissapointing. We had hoped it was gone...miracles seemed to be happening the summer we went to Houston. My Mom and Dad/Stepmom were so supportive, I will miss calling Mom for this.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

James

James lost both his front teeth last week. He is very excited to be growing up. Today he proudly showed me how his tongue fits between his two front teeth while his jaw is closed.

Criss Cross Apple Sauce with no hands

We went to eat at my favorite Dallas Tex Mex Spot last night, Marianno's. We've frequented Marianno's since Michael and Andrew were little boys. James and Gavin refer to it as "the horsey restaurant because among other thigs, it has the old fashioned ride on horses.
Last night Gavin was ridig and he's become so comfortable that he does tricks. He was doind one when he slipped and hit right below is eye on the metal coin box. It was a terrible hit and he has an extremely swollen black eye. He had been in a cross legged position when I saw him slipping and hit.
In the car I asked what he was doing.
Gavin: I was doing criss cross apple sauce, no hands, pretend you're falling.
Mommy: But you really fell and hurt yourself.
Gavin: But the audience loved it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Round and round

Life, in and of itself, is a circle. My life, at this time, is a neverending reminder of that.
I am in love with my children, my husband, my family,  and I love my store and my supportive and professional employee's! My house...not in love with at the moment, but it is a love/hate relationship when you own a 1915 home.Things are so good in so many ways. Nothing is perfect but it is pretty good.
The challenges of life usually roll off after a chat with someone you feel close enough to to share the frustrations with. The non-judgemental, loving, and supportive person you've come to know as your go to person in these sad, lonely, scary, or frustrating situations. For me it was most often my Mom.
This is where the circle keeps biting me...I just can't seem to get over the need to call her. In life we lose. We lose things, relationships, and as we get older our very needed loved one's. Sometimes...or maybe never...it just doesn't seem that we got old enough to lose someone so very important.
It is those living that often remind me of the loss of my Mom! Circle revisited.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

So much...

So much is happening without Mom. Lately life is really hard and I find myself crying in the car(or in the rare case I come her to write). I just really need to talk to her. I have started just speaking to her as I drive, sometimes ending in tears sometimes starting that way.
It still feels too unbearable so much of the itme and there are such important things happening that need her attention.
Tomorrow is my brothers birthday. I know he needs her very much right now and this makes me think more about how things would be different if only you hadn't died. Why cancer, why so young?
I see Mom's and daughters all day and I wish!

Monday, August 23, 2010

School again

James and Gavin have been excited about school. James is in First Grade this year and Gavin starts Kindergarten. They both met their teachers last week and have been counting down the days.

Gavin woke up really early this morning and he and I gave Michael a ride to work. When we got home we woke up James and made a lunch for Gavin and then got dressed in uniforms to head up to school. Everything was upbeat and going well.

James found his table in the cafeteria(they all sit at a table and then the teachers come get their classes), and Gavin and I found his table. Gavin said he was feeling "shy" so we looked for people he's played with. He found his friend Cathal and went to sit next to him. As they stood up to get in line, I walked opver to walk with him(you can only do this the first week of kinder at our school), but he didn't see me. He started looking lost and saying "Mommy". I couldn't get his attention and then he started to cry. I started to cry and by the time I got to him, I was feeling pretty sad:( My sweet tiny baby! How could I leave him, he isn't big enough for kinder~but I wiped the tears and told him he was going to have so much fun! We walked to the class and he found his seat. I stayed as long as I could and told him Daddy would be there for lunch in two hours. He accpeted it. I think by now he is having fun on his first day of school.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Reading...

this: http://www.slate.com/id/2211257/entry/2213533/

This series entitled "The Long Goodbye" was sent to me months ago, but I am finding it so helpful again.Tonight  I am reading "Hamlet's Nt Depressed, He's Grieving.
"After my mother died, I felt that abruptly, amid the chaos that is daily life, I had arrived at a terrible, insistent truth about the impermanence of the everyday. Everything seemed exhausting. Nothing seemed important. C.S. Lewis has a great passage about the laziness of grief, how it made him not want to shave or answer letters. At one point during that first month, I did not wash my hair for 10 days."

"Grief is a bad moon, a sleeper wave. It's like having an inner combatant, a saboteur who, at the slightest change in the sunlight, or at the first notes of a jingle for a dog food commercial, will flick the memory switch, bringing tears to your eyes. "

I did not write these lines, but they are so very much mine!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Swimming and such

We went swimming with a friend today. She has a little boy who is 5 and they swam and played while we talked. It was a quick afternoon, but lovely. The boys can't stop talking about how fun it was. James in particular loved it bc the other little boys is a really good swimmer and James thought that was so fun! They had the pool practically to themselves until three older teen, young twentish girls came. They are lifeguards and were very sweet to play with the boys. My GF and I think they boys were doing a tiny bit of early flirting.

After swimming I had watering duty at the school. We have some newly planted tree's and vines we are keeping alive for the summer months. I was watering and my brother, Forest, walked up. He is working on the production that's being filmed down the street and base camp is at the school. I haven't seen much of him and it was good to see him.

Mom's owl is in the shed at the school, I noticed it when I was getting the hose out so I pointed it out as he helped us put the hose away. I gave it to the Garden so it would go to good use. Just another reminder of her today.

Not that I really need reminders. I think of her pretty often lately. I was thinking tonight of her saying "James is just a classic little boy". I was thinking of her saying that and then wondering what he will be like when he is a young man. Makes me so sad that she will miss seeing that:(

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Proof

The boys had the best time this week at Granny and Grandpa's with the cousins. DeLeon is always fun but especially for little boys and cousins of the same age!They are probably more tired than they've ever been in their tiny lives after 4 nights of sleepovers and 4 days filled with bouncing, swimming, and lots of play. Uncle Buddy brought them home and I went up to Buddy and Denise's in Prosper to pick the two worn out love bugs up. (Jim and I were missing them terribly after 4 nights).

On the way home, as is often the case, there was a disagreement. James was singing and Gavin started singing along. (This is not always allowed in the land of James).

James: "I have 100 different voices." (smiling quite proudly)

Gavin: "Well, I have 600." (he was quite happy about this, too)

James: "Then let me hear them." (James always needs proof, and for some reason Gavin always goes along with this need. )

Gavin sings a couple different sounds.

James: "Those are just noises. Those aren't voices."

Gavin sings.

James: "Regular voice." (repeat this 3 or 4 times before I intervene)

James never was asked to sing in any of his 100 voices :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dream

Last night I woke up crying. I wanted to get up that minute and write down my dream but instead I lay there thinking it though to help it stick in my memory. It did not:(
I remember we were all in a car and then when we opened the doors some how Mom was there, as if she'd been in the car but wasn't. It was perplexing in my dream but I went with it. Alot of great things (that I needed to remember) were in the dream. The one thing I can recall is that I said over and over "please don't die, Mom". This is what I wanted to say the whole time, but that's an awful heavy load and instead I said soothing things and "we love you". I wanted to scream NO, DON"T DIE!!!! but let her see calm and peace and love. (it is a good thing and I am glad that is what happened).
Next time I will get up at 5am and write down all those little details. Likely messages that I need. Darn, I've been waiting for another dream and now I can't remember:(

Monday, July 19, 2010

6 months and I wish you wouldn't die

It has been six months now since Mom slipped away. I think back so often to the days and weeks before her death. It seemed like a long time we had between the news the cancer was back and the final night, but it wasn't. It was only  6 weeks from the day we learned and just 1 month http://aboysmomx4.blogspot.com/2009/12/sad-news-today.html from the Dr's news that the chemo was no longer working. I had never put the timelines together.

I stood in the kitchen last night thinking of Mom. Often I shoo the memories from my mind because I don't like to go to the sad, dark place where her death is real. Last night along with so many times these last couple of weeks, I let them be. I thought of how sad she was when she had to tell the board she was on that she would not be able to come to the meeting in January. I though of how much she wanted to go back to her home and get things in order and most of all how much she wanted to call each of her clients. I started sobbing, but could not quiet the emotion so went into the bathroom and sat down on the toilet. I thought of her last bath when I helped her into the tub and what we talked about. I was crying and Jim called down the hall "Amy, what's going on". There really is no good response to this, but I mustered up the ability to calmly say"just feeling sad about my Mom". (My Mom is Dead and I am  so sad!)

We went to see my Mom's sister and brother in Ohio. I've gone to Ohio my whole life and have really great memories from childhood there. I needed to go and we planned it since the weeks after Mom's death. Driving there and knowing this was not something I could share with Mom made it really hard. I missed her so much on the way. I wanted to be able to tell her about it.

My Dad is getting together with his bandmates from his early twenties. He and Mom were together then. A reunion my Mom helped me initiate. She would have loved to see it happen. When I told my Dad this he said "Oh she knows, I've been going by and talking to her. She'll be there." I almost couldn't breath when he said it, so sweet and so sad! He said her grave was looking really good and he was putting compost on it.I cried for a long time after we hung up. It is so emotional to have him and Susie care for her grave and so wonderful.

I haven't been feeling well and this leads me to thoughts of my children. Making sure all is in order so they would be taken care of should I die before they were old enough to say goodby. My Mom was only 60 so that would nake Gavin just 25, I know a morbid thought but real in a sense.

Of course I am sobbing as I type this. Gavin tenderly walked in and hugged me. I said "I'm sad about Noni" and he said "I know. Can you type something?"

"Dear Noni, I wish you wouldn't die."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Silence

I find that I can talk to Mom very openly when I sit at this keyboard. I do not hold back. Unspoken words,tears and emotions flow as freely as if she were sitting right here. Perhaps even freer because often I am very careful about my outpourings~it is easier for me to feel anger than sadness most times.
I talk  to her in keystrokes and sometimes in the middle I will mutter, in half sobbing words, "oh, Mom". I feel that she is close and can hear me, but I cannot hear her no matter how closely I listen. The silence is what gets me every time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Meats

My goal as much as possible is to eat "happy meats". This means they were not raised in pens or cages that are too small for them to stand. I try to only buy meats at Whole Foods.
Jim frequently makes fun of me for this and ther have been many discussions about "happy meats".
Today at Whole Foods James said: Is this the place where the animals don't have to die.
Me: Well they have to die to be eaten but they have happier lives.

When we got home tonight James said to Daddy: Dayy, remember how Mommy said that she wouldn't eat animals that got killed?
Daddy: Well that's not really what she said. She said they were "happy".
James: I don't see how they could be happy when they are all chopped up.
Gavin and I were outside and I was watering. I accidently sprayed him a bit.

Gavin: Now I got all fixed up for Lily(my friend Rachel's 7 year old daughter) and you ruined it.


Me: Do you have a tiny crush on Lily or something?

Gavin: Well, I tell her I love her and she doesn't mind

Thoughts from James and Gavin

With Jim's grandfather in the process of passing and visiting Mom's grave this weekend, death comes up in our family conversations. When I was blogging the other night and crying(which does happen when I start writing to or about Mom), Gavin wanted me to "write this".

Dear Noni, I am so sorry you died. I wish you would come back to life and snuggle me and I would bring you a piece of sandwich for you to eat if you would come to life.

~Gavin

(Me "Anyhting else" Gavin "No it's just good already")

And of course James needed to added something:)

And I love you.

~James

Monday, June 14, 2010

Something for Mom

You were talking of a place you felt at peace

And entities in your midst to meet

So I watched you slip away silently

I knew you would not come back to me

I touched you and told you I loved you
and that is was ok to go

You were the love that made me whole
I know your heart in my soul

I called to you as you breathed those last times
I know your spirit heard mine

I can almost feel you reaching to touch my hair
There are gentle whispers in the air

Tingling as my sobs break through again
I mourn you with no end

5 months

It is always on the anniversaries that I miss Mom the most. This morning at 2:08am it was 5 months since I said goodbye. It was really 5 months yesterday that I should remember because that was my last full day with Mom.
We went to my family reunion on my Grandmothers side(my fathers Mother). The Allison Reunion. Lately seeing people I know may leave soon is painful. I tear up as I say goodbye and have to stop myself because it will likely seem strange to others. My fathers parents are still in fairly good health for mid 90's but time does creep up on even the healthiest. I feel sad that I don't see them more and sad when I do see them(because I am just not good at letting people die).
We went to Mom's grave and planted some lavendar. Dad and Susie(really my second Mom almost all my life) went with me. Susie bought the lavendar to plant there. They both go by and take care of Mom. I've noticed how available my Dad is to me. These things also make me feel sad but in a loved way.
Gavin went with us. He told Dad, "your stepping on Noni" and pointing out again that she wanted some water.Dad explained that she really can't feel us where she is now. I wish she could:(
On our way home we got some terrible news, Jim's Grandfather John suffered a stroke and heart attack. Today we went up to the hospital and watched a monitor as I had 5 months ago. John looked so good, not at all pale like my Mom had. I watched the blood pressure falling and felt so much loss and sadness for his immediate family. It is just unbearable to say goodbye!
I wish them a much softer transition than I have had through grief. Grief is such an intimate and personal time but love surrounding you is so powerful. Much love to those entering into this process.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Redo

Reread the story of my Mom's passing. Wow...that never get's easier:( I did manage to correct a couple typo's through the tears, though.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gavin

Gavin is a boy of firsts...
Though he is my fourth boy he is by far my most independant and impulsive child. Being impulsive has let to many first. He was the first to climb before he could walk, he was the first to have poison control called, he was the first to cut his hair and draw on walls with crayons(yes I somehow escaped that all these years), he was the first to break one of our windows(this just happened;)) He is the first of all my boys to care what he is wearing.
He is also the sweetest snuggler and the most creative boy! He is the first to really play make believe and name himself awesome Gavin.
I know someday all these firsts will amount to a brilliant, succesful man...I'm doing my best to be patient in getting to that point!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Hiatus from life leads to...

Unfortunate life lesson:( When you take a hiatus from friendships for 4 months you end up lonely.

Mother's Day without

It has been 3.5 months. Nearing 4.
Sometimes I feel like that is forever and sometimes it seems like just yesterday.
Mothers Day is this Sunday. I have decided I cannot celebrate this year. I cannot read the cards without wishing so I will wait until next year when the loss is just a bit more distant.
I have been replaying the last days in my head. I rewind and get to the last moments  and then rewind again. Sometimes I remember tiny seconds that were lost. Sometimes I relive moments that I imagine might have saved her.
Since she died of the Staph infection more than the cancer that day, why didn't I beg her to stay on the antibiotic. She would have if it had been that important to me. Could that have saved her to fight the cancer again?
What if I had kept the oxygen mask on the last hours. Simon was so diligent about replacing it but when we came in the last time and she was struglling I said "take the stupid thing off, she hates it and she's dying". Did that cause her death. She was dropping O2 sats all day. In my mind we were facing the inevitable and she was sick of the O2 mask. I wanted her to have some comfort the last minutes of her life. Was I wrong?
I don't think about these things all day, but they can become unbearable when I do. Usually at night.
It is amazing how similiar the stories of motherless souls are. A dear friend sent me this link:
http://www.slate.com/id/2253115#add-comment
and then I read her original and thought of this blog:
http://www.slate.com/id/2211257/entry/2211256/

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

3 months

This morning was 3 months since my Mom died(I have reread her passing http://aboysmomx4.blogspot.com/2010_01_01_archive.html over and over beacuase it seems unreal) . I found some pictures on my phone from just months ago when my Mom was still viibrant and we thought all was well in the world. They were from just months before we learned that the cancer had returned with a vengeance.
It is so strange how quickly things can turn. I have been in a pretty good emotional state lately, back to me in most cases. Today I was thinking about the fact that I was feeling so good and then my thoughts turned to 3 months, todays anniversary. I started thinking about the days leading up to my Mom's death. She was so "here". Talking and joking with us until just minutes before she died. There was no slow dwindling into death, she just did it. "Not one to linger" comes to mind. She told me once, that she would not be one to linger when the time came. Mom, you were right! Minutes before she died, she talked to us and was "her".
Mom,I miss you so much. I still pick up my phone to call you and think of all the things I need to tell you. On our trip to Colorado the emptiness was so apparent because I would have called you so many times. I cried for you. Who will be "mom" now that you are gone? Noone can every fill this particular void, but the void gets less unbearable as time goes on.
When we went to your home a couple weeks ago, your garden was in bloom. The yard looked lovely as we drove up and I just expected you to be standing in your shorts, watering your plants. Of course you weren't there, but I talked to you. I wished I could dig up every plant and tree. It seems a shame you will never be there again. Some of your plants are new. You expected to be there this Spring.
Remember how you and I talked of my fantasy that you would come live in my home as a ghost. Oddly now, I never feel that strange nervousness in my house. I was in the boys room the other night thinking, maybe you are here? I want you to be, but don't really "feel" you.
I really am ok. I just miss you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Simply stated

We went to Colorado. It was a lovely trip(more to come on the trip and what's been going on) but we'd all been or were currently under the weather. Coughs seem to linger the longest and Gavin and James both still had one.
Mommy: Gavin do you feel bad?
Gavin: Yea, I'm sick. I have "the cough".
James: Gavin, I told you there's no such thing as "the cough". It's just a cough.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Imagine...one of my Mom's favorite songs.

John Lennon's Imagine

Imagine there's no heaven


It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today...



Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace...



You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one



Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world...



You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will live as one

Sunday, March 14, 2010

2 months...

This morning was 2 months. I find myself surprised to say that, not because it seems like time has flown but because I still am surprised to think of my Mother as gone.

I woke up to a beautiful day. I worked but it was fine. I felt really good today. The sun was out and it looks like Spring.

In the Fall of 2009, we decided to try to have an enjoyable day and chose to look at a home magazine one day. She had been in the hospital for almost a month and though still really ill, was bored. I talked about colors for my kitchen as we had just painted the hallway. We both thought blue would be lovely.

We had started remodeling our kitchen before Mom got sick again this year. In fact when she was here in October and had just found that the cancer was back, she made a point to come by and see the just started project when she was released from the hospital but headed back to Austin. She was excited.

It has been several months since I have done anything to my kitchen. I wanted Mom to see it finished and it just hasn't been time to start again.

We started shopping a couple weeks ago for the backsplash. I had planned to do it myself, but then thought maybe I would hire someone instead. Today just felt like a day to get it done!

We went with small slate tile sheets that have some metallic tones and greys/browns. I really like it with the black granite,blue paint and wood cabinets.I have not grouted yet but the tiles are up behind the sink wall and 1/2 way done over the stove. We are buying a stainless steel hood to go over the stove so have to mount it first. (Notice Mom's bread box repainted by Missy!)

Mother would have loved it!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thinking

I have still been thinking alot about Mom. It is nearing two months since she died. The uncontrollable crying comes less frequently, but I cannot stop from wishing I could call her. I pick of the phone and think of her so often, and a brief moment of disbelief still creeps in.
I dreamed she was with me at a La Leche League meeting. It was such a fitting dream:)There wasn't any crying in this dream, just being.
Gavin and I had a sweet conversation which leads me to believe he truly thinks about the loss of his Noni. We were driving to the store, James was at school. There was an ambulance coming with it's sirens on.
Gavin:" The ambulance goes to help people when they are sick like Noni"
Me: "yes, but they couldn't help Noni could they?"
Gavin: "No. I hope Granny and Granpa don't die because...(he had something they were both the best at but I can't remember:( exactly what he went on about).
It hink he has been more thoughtful about it than anyone else in my home...very sweet from my busy 4 year old.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Comfort

I think it might be time for me to stop being so free with the "comfort foods". I seem to be adding some very unwanted lbs to some very noticeable places. People have commented that I look thin...maybe after crying my face is dehydrated and looks thinner for a moment, but I assure you I am not "losing too much weight". Quite the contrary...I have been very freely eating chocolate, cupcakes, etc and it is quite visible to my naked eye...especially when I am less than fully clothed:(
Cupcakes are not my friend!

Friday, March 05, 2010

I wish

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a Memorial in Austin. It was a also a lovely day to celebrate your birthday, Mom. I wish so many things, but most of all I wish you would have been with us.
I wish we could talk on the phone and I could say barely anything, but you would answer or laugh because you know all of it. I don't have to tell the backstory to you...you are my backstory.
I wish I could see you standing watering the plants we cut from yesterday. We shared your rose bush in hopes it will sprout and bring joy to all your friends and loved ones who came to wish you well in the eternal life.
I wish we had done something that last year, something really great and fun! I wanted to go back to England with you, but it seemed you were going to make it through the cancer forever. I am so glad you didn't die last year, but now feel a loss that I didn't capture that time in a better way.
I wish that you could see my babies grow up. I don't know what I will do at Gavin's or James next party without you there to make the goody bags or the sandwiches. I was always down to the wire and you pulled me through.
You were always there. Always for me.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nothing lasts forever

This is all too apparent after the death of a loved one! When my first husband (sometimes it feels so odd saying this because I feel like Jim and I have been together a lifetime)died, I was so young. I processed the grief in such a different way. Mostly I just felt so bad for my two tiny boys(they were 2.5 and 5). Since it was a suicide, there was also anger for what I consider the most selfish act. It was horrible and now going through the loss of my Mother, I remember how hard it was.
My Mother has been gone 6 weeks. I had saved a message she left me the day after the man hit us in the head-on collision. It was 12/24. I have listened to her voice every day since her death, she is not there today. Messages do not last forever...just like loved ones... and I'm hopeful the pain you feel when you lose them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Went for a trolley ride

On Saturday we went to the Aquarium as planned. We decided that we would walk over to the trolley and take a quick ride to get a bite. The boys met a friend. It is so amazing how easy friendship comes at this age, such open acceptance and instant fun! The family had a little boy James' age so the boys sat together and looked out the window. We hopped off on McKinney Ave and headed to Primo's. The food is not my favorite...
It got a bit chilly as it got dark so we rushed back to the trolley stop and were happy that the trolley was there quickly. On the trolley the conductor was chatting with Jim about how may cars just pull in front of him when~wham...we hit a car. It was not a hard impact on our end but it was very bad for the car. It meant we were stuck on the trolley for close to 2 hours. No one was injured, thank goodness.
This story in and of itself would be mildly interesting, but it ums up my life at the moment. WE went for a trolley ride and we ended up taking a 3 hour trip. Everything in my life seems far more complicated than planned. Things are all muddled up with thoughts of my Mom so they take hours and get completely confused...there is good in the day, but often the train wreck muddles it up.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 36

I have officially made it through nearly 36 days of life without my Mother. I can't imagine it. I still can't believe she is really dead but sometimes I try to convince myself of it.
"REALLY??" This is what pops into my mind at 5am, 7:30am, 9:20am, really anytime I stop to think it might be true. I cry and make mournful moaning sounds as I imagine that the answer must be "yes", when I really let myself believe it.
I say "my Mother is dead" to my husband as I yell at him that he is NOT being "there for me". I just feel so terribly alone.
Last weekend was hard. Sorting through her clothing and dealing with the drama that seems to accompany grief as we tried to work through the final steps in Austin. My Mom and I talked about how each of us(my siblings) might process her death. She thought I would be ok because I had cried and talked to her about missing her. I am NOT OK, Mom. I am so sad, you meant so much to me.
This is the only place I seem to be able to "talk" about how I feel. As I type this it is soulful and deep, when I talk it is very surface level. I do cry but mostly at night or in my car. I cannot seem to connect enough with anyone to say what I would to my Mom. She knew me and I could completely let go.
The day I left for Austin we got 12 inches of snow here in Dallas(a record). It was like a blizzarrd as we were leaving and really a scary drive:( The boys had a blast making a snow Robot(Gavin and Andrew) and then sledding on friday. Not often that the snow sticks around for more than a day.
I have worked at my store or at my Mothers for 15 days straight. I am off this weekend and plan to sleep late, get the boys a haircut and then head to the Dallas World Aquarium. On Sunday we are going to lunch with Jim's family.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Last night

I was on a screened in upstairs porch of an apartment watering plants with two people. There were 3 dogs on the porch with me, the dogs  ran down the stairs to a parking lot. A man helped catch the dogs and he and I were talking about my Mother being upstairs dying. He offered his help should we need it.
I went into the apartment and there were a lot of people, one was my grandmother, we were talking about the little cubbies in the headboard of a bed.
I walked over to my Mom, a woman was saying “you haven’t had milk in 2 weeks, why would you have it now?” I thought the milk was making my Mother feel bad. They gave her morphine(the drops she hated so much and refused to take while alive) and I said, “our goal is that she doesn't have any pain”. There had been some discussion before this but I can’t remember it.
I knelt down, my Mother was sitting, and put my head in her lap and on her arm. She touched my hair. I asked her, “could you hear us talking to you when you were dying?” Even in my dream this seemed an odd question because she did not seem dead, but she answered “yes I could hear you”.
She said “You look so pretty today” I looked at my sleeve thinking it was pink, but it was the sweater I wore to the funeral. She gave me that outfit and I chose to wear it that day because she really loved it. I wanted to say “You always look pretty”, but I woke up. In the dream it felt like the day she died…emotionally. I was crying.

I cried all night last night. I grabbed my phone, really wanting to call my Mom and tried to think of who else I could call, but it was the middle of the night.
I thought I was ok, but today I am back in the misery of grief. I guess I didn't really believe that it takes months to get back into a normal rhythm of life.

I spoke too soon!

"Normal" has not returned. Today is tough:(

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Random thoughts

A thousand times must be the minimum of the times I've thought of my Mother since her passing almost 4 weeks ago. I'll be standing at the fridge or by the sink or folding clothes or hugging the kids. I was dancing with Gavin last week and just lost it.
Today I've pictured her standing in her backyard with hose in hand, spraying her plants. She has a sleevless blouse and shorts on and she looks at me as I walk out her back door. I must have seen my Mom like this hundreds of times in my adult life. It is a vivid image and yet so far away now.
I dreamed of her twice this week but lost the image when I woke up. I've tried all day to get it back, but it isn't here. I know she was there, though.
Life is getting more normal(if you can call life after you lose your Mom "normal"). When these images pop into my mind it stirs me and makes me wish and sometimes I cry for her. But, now, I know I will be ok...someday.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

3 weeks

Three weeks this morning. I have to stop myself from phoning you just to be sure you really won't answer. The constant surprise is like reliving a moment that changed my whole existance over and over. I said last night to Jim "Can you really believe she died. How could she be dead?" and I meant it. How is it possible?...
I went to have coffe with my friend, Yvonne. Her daughter and Gavin are the same age and they played so sweetly while we talked about losing our Mom's. She lost her mother to Cancer as well so I feel a certain instant closeness to her that others outside this "club" would find hard to understand. It is nice to be doing normal things and talking on a rainy day, but the conversation seems to always turn back to you.
You are missed. I know you'd be happy that we think of you but sad that we are lonely. I think of some of the things you said when I was feeling so hopeless that last afternoon, "we've had alot of fun times together". I forgot to write that in my story of your last days. WE did have so many fun moments. I was thinking of the day we went to the last support group when you fell, I picked up the fuzzy jacket you wore and smelled it to find you, it did have your scent. It made me think of how we would have laughed when you fell in any other time, but you were too sick to find the humor that day and I was too scared, tired, confused to find it. The last months were so different but you remembered the laughter that last day.
I love you, Mom. I am working hard to process the grief and move forward.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"Oh, the sadness, again"

Sitting on the living room floor, sifting through a leather looking legal size envelope of my Mothers, I started to cry. Gavin was sitting with Daddy and said "oh, the sadness, again." He walked towards me, ready to give me a hug(kindof looking like he was bound by duty to hug his often crying Mommy) and I couldn't help but smile at him. He said " Oh I thought you were crying, Mama." I was but he he was so cute I had to smile through the tears. He hugged me.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Changes

Sunday night I was driving to pick up Jim. I just completely lost it and was screaming and crying. Sometimes I remember...she has died. It is always a shock.
It's like my body and mind forget that she's gone in order to carry on with my daily needs. This sense of normalcy is comforting in the moment but leads to desperate feelings of loss when I come face to face with the truth that she is gone.
I had a dream this morning that really sums it up. I fell asleep on the couch so I was in a half sleep sort of state while Gavin was watching Sesame Street. In my dream my Mom was far away and I was thinking that she might miss some event that was upcoming because she could not get back for it, I woke up confused. I was still processing my thoughts from my dream and as I was waking fully remembered that she is not on a trip far away but has died...forever. I thought to myself "She can't make it back for any events" and I was once again stunned by the shock.
In the book I am reading grief is referred to as a state of insanity, a manic depressive state that passes. I completely agree.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reading

I am reading a book that my sweet friend, Yvonne, gave me. It is called "The Year of Magical Thinking". I must admit I thought it was about magical thinking of another sort entirely and worried that I might not get into because I can't find anything magical about death right now...it seems sad, final, cruel, and unbearable to me.
It is about magical thinking like I am having. If I just don't stop thinking of her she won't really be dead. What I might be able to do to change the fact that she is dead. Etc., etc., etc.I keep replaying those last 3 days in my head...over and over, as if I can change them. It was so fast.
For those getting really worried about my sanity or whether I am ok...the answer is no, I am not ok and I am deep in the insanity of grief right now...but I will be ok. I feel compelled to believe this from the book I am reading and the websites and stories of grief I have studied this last week while desperately looking for a timeline of grief(there is not one bc everyone seems to do it differently;)).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Today is cloudy

It really is, though I've been feeling this way even in the sun. It is cold and rainy...may get icy tonight.
I took a bit of me time this afternoon, just trying to find my bearings in this big world again. Feel so lonely I could cry...yes I know it's a song but it is how I feel today. I did cry at work...been really trying not to.
I need some of my own energy to rescue me from this miserable sadness. I also need to not be cranky to my hubby. That takes energy as well because the little things that annoy me normally are now really beyond annoying;)I think it has to do with exhaustion(I know now that this is from the grief and not unique to me).
Went and got my haircut...I like it but not sure I'll like it every day. IT seems a little higher maintenance than my pony tail.
I have a cold and when not on meds and vitamins feel pretty yucky. I want to curl up in bed but used my me time for the haircut;)Okay...in all honesty my goal everyday is to curl up in bed(working on that one, too).
Would've called Mom today:(

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two weeks tonight

At 2:08 am it will be two whole weeks.
There were so many moments I thought that death might be easier on you and on us in a way. I take that back now! Selfishly I wish you were still lying in a bed with your phone on your chest and I could call you. You would answer no matter what time and I could talk to you about sadness, frutrations, stories about the boys, worries about life, etc. I called you at least 4 times a week in the last years and every day as your illness took you to the end. Sometimes with not much to say, but "I'm sorry you're feeling so sick". Your voice was there and in times of crisis you became you again, even if for just a minute. I saved that message you left the day after my accident. It is nice to hear your voice. You were so sick...but here.
I know, through others voices, that I will be okay. I hear that I will not feel so empty forever. I am sad about that in a way because I want you to be with me and the constant memories(though painful) keep you closer.
I miss you, Mom.
My brother sang his song to her as she passed and at her funeral.
Forest Fagan~Blue Hillside

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 12

About this time two weeks ago, my brother and I were wrapping up a day long visit with our mother. (Has it really almost been two weeks?? I originally wrote "a week ago" and then had to really think...) We had no idea that we would be called back shortly thereafter for the hardest 28 hours to be imagined.
Grief comes in waves, some easier to ride than others but none without intense emotion. I have learned it is impossible to imagine how emptiness can fill your body when your mother dies and how unbearable and unplannable the weeks after are.
This morning I was searching online for how long people take off when their mother dies. As I have mentioned before, I am a planner and I like things in order. There were no "answers", but lots of reading about grief and loss. There are steps to grieving but there is no "timeline" so I wait, questioning myself along the way.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 10

Today started the 10th of the 24 hours periods since my Mother died. I replay the last day with her almost every hour of those 240 + hours since her last breath. I said in some posts back that Hard doesn't doesn't describe living with an ill parent, but nothing can describe losing that parent. I have yet to find words to fill that empty spot.
I unpacked the boxes of antiquities that she left me to fill the China cabinet that was my grandmothers and then hers. EAch piece is placed now but this makes it more real. The reality of expectations of my everyday life are overwhelming...nothing to keep busy on, nothing to make this seem a dream. I cannot call her after I drop James off at school or during a break at my store. I can't call her in the car while driving. I wish I had asked her more things that last day or maybe had her call my phone and just say "I will always love you, honey". I saved a message she left for me in those last weeks, just in case...how long will it last?
There is so much more to do. We have a whole house to empty in the next months.
I miss you, Mom!
I cried in the bathtub last night. Gavin said "don't worry, you will see her in your dream one day". He says she's been in his dreams almost every night. I am waiting!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Mothers Passing

In Sept of 2009 my Mothers CT scan showed that she was cancer free. She was elated and had gone back to her life of seeing clients, gardening and studying. She had moved back to Austin in the Spring, but came up for our children's birthdays and special events as she always had.
She had some Hernia's bothering her and related the stomach pain she started to feel(on 10/14) to them, she decided to have the hernia's repaired. She came up to Dallas for her surgery on Oct. 29th.
I dropped James off and headed to the hospital the morning of the the 29th. When I got there Dr. Tate was out and explaining that he had seen "visible signs of disease" and that to operate would not be wise. He stitched her up and sent her to the recovery area. I knew she would be devastated as it had only been one month since she was declared "cancer free".
Mom started Chemo and went back to Austin. Forest and Rayne were at her home to help her. She was weak and shaken but so ready for the fight. When she came back on November 22 she looked so sick. She was throwing up daily and feeling just as she had a year before. She came to James' birthday party and then went to Simons home.
Simon drove her to appt's and I met them there. She stayed with me the week of Dec. 14th-20th and her sister Gail was here. We went to see her Dr on the 15th and we were informed the Chemo was no longer working, hospice was offered. Gail and I were with her.
Mom was not ready to give up and chose to try a clinical trial at Mary Crowley, she felt elated when we went on Dec. 21st but we had concerns as they said it was not for efficacy but to determine symptoms. She started the treatment. Simon drove her down and I would come for lunch or meet them there to see Mom. Her brother James came to visit.
On Dec. 31 she came to my home for a week. I helped her take a real bath. She was very weak and had to go to bed after the bath from exhaustion.We had a family dinner on New Years Day, I made Ham and Black eyed peas. She claimed it was the best meal she'd ever had. We had planned to watch a movie and she had been really excited, but was just not feeling well enough to watch the movie. On Monday, she was determined to go to her support group at Baylor. She was so weak, she fell in the driveway. Even after the fall we went to the support group  and she talked positively about continuing her fight.
On 1/5 I took her back to Simon's. Later that night she was feeling really weak, running a fever and noticed a spot on her abdomen that was red. Simon and Missy drover her to the hospital. She was admitted that night and I visited her the next day. She was diagnosed with a perforated bowel and they tested her for sepsis(which was later confirmed). They put her on two strong antibiotics and Dilauded for the breakthrough pain(we decided this was the pain med to be on as she was chipper and morphine made her cranky).
When I walked in the door on Thursday morning, she was smiling and said "It's so good to see your face", she seemed so cheery I was a little concerned she was not in reality. When I went the next day she was still very happy and feeling well enough to get up and use the portable potty next to her. We talked about how she felt and she asked "does it seem like I'm in la-la land" to which I replied "well, kind of". She assured me she was not and that when she found out about the cancer she went through every worst case and had feelings about it so now she felt like she had already faced her fears for the possibility of death. She said she was not afraid to die. Her drainage tube for the infected area on her abdomen was operating as an ostomy but the Dr.'s seemed confused about it. She told me she had fallen backwards onto the bed. On Friday she fell onto the floor and laid there for several hours. She had bruises on her head and lower back and they did an Xray and CT scan. She was very shaken by the fall and this would become her focus.
Saturday and Sunday were good days. There were no major or life threatening events.She seemed very swollen but she believed it was from too much IV fluid(we now know her body was shutting down).
Monday evening I did not go to the hospital. I went to dinner with my kids and then home and fell asleep, I regret this now! On Tuesday morning my Aunt Veenie called me at 7am. She had called Mom and been told that there was a respiratory distress incident and the team was called. Mom was put on 100% Oxygen and her saturation levels were still below 80. She remained on 100% oxygen until she died. I called Mom and told her I'd be over soon. I called Simon and told him and he said he would go to the Hospital. I went to work until my pt'er arrived and then headed to the hospital. I should have gone straight to her.
Mom was upbeat and answering her phone. She ate a few bites and drank water. Her lips were chapped so I gave her my mint lip balm and the mint smell was pushed through the tubes into the room. We talked about how she was feeling and her plans, she wanted to go to Simons and get back on the study. The Dr's and nurses were very concerned about her oxygenation level, but surprised that Mom remained alert and upbeat. They could hear and see fluid in her lungs so the Dr. increased the lasix and potassium. Mom's arm was very swollen from the potassium and her veins were really hard to find. Simon and I went home around 9 and planned to see her the next day.
At 10:43 pm my phone rang. The person on the phone identified herself as the charge nurse, Christie. "Your mother is not doing well and we aren't sure how things will go in the next couple hours". I said "are you saying she might die". This was a reality that talking about cannot prepare a person for! She told me it was not looking good and that I should call my brothers. I called Simon and Forest and threw on clothes. I sobbed on the way to the hospital and ran to her room. When I went in she was not responding to the nurses but breathing. I shook her saying "Mom, Mom!!!" and rubbing her head. She opened her eyes, looked into mine and said "What's wrong, honey?". She looked so worried, she was every second my Mom until she died! I told her she wasn't breathing well. I was crying and she said "well, let's get me up, get me going". She was not leaving me that night. She told me, as if to make me less worried "those two are the most drama filled nurses here" and rolled her eyes. I think she was angry that they made us so scared. Simon arrived and she was still upset at the team. The resident told us we needed to really talk to the Dr about our plans. We were waiting to see the Dr.
The Dr's said they thought she had taken too much pain medication and with her already weak lungs it had caused her breathing to slow.I called Forest and told him she was better (we thought she was). We talked for a long time that night and she made the decision to take the IV's off. I was going to go home and sleep and Simon was going to stay but she told us she needed both of us, "you're my team" so Simon and I slept on the little fold out love seat together. She told us not to let anyone in(poor Christie got a talking to for coming in). I think we slept a total of less than 2 hours that night. She would say "let's take a nap" and then wake 1 hour later saying it was a great nap and be ready to talk. I said "let's take another one" but we never really did.
On Wednesday I took James to school at 7:30 and then took a quick shower and headed back. Simon never left. We talked to Mom all day.She talked to clients and Friends. Her Sister, Sister in law, and niece headed down. We told Forest to make plans to head up. Missy arrived about 12 and Mom napped while we ate lunch.She seemed to have a few episodes of almost convulsions, but the nurses said nothing. She took antibiotics,lasix and 1/2 her potassium pill by mouth. At one point I was siting by her bed and felt so sad. I started to cry and leaned down on the bed. I moved my face to her arm and then to her neck, I was sobbing. She rubbed my hair and told me it would be okay. She asked if I was taking care of myself, was I eating. She told me "you have to take care of yourself".She told me she was proud of me and that I would never be "just an ordinary girl".
The palliative care team came down and I asked for more information so the nurse brought Dr. Houck. She was our saving grace because she told us that Mom might not make the night and we were able to get people on the way. I would reach out to Dr. Houck again at 7 that night in desperation.
We had walked down to the family room so Mom could take a call. She asked us for silence. We were gone about 20 minutes. When we walked back into the room Mom's O2 mask was off and she was barely breathing. We called the nurses and started talking to her. We were worried that she would die before Forest arrived. We kept saying, "you can't sleep now, Forest is coming, we have things to talk about" We called Forest and he had just started on the way. We called my father who had planned to come over the next day and told him this might be his only chance to see her. She was happy that so many people were coming to see her, Simon told her "it's a party for you, Mom!" Her phone rang and she brightened up, it was her client.
After she spoke to that client we told her she may need to take a break form talking to clients. She said "yes. I probably should". A few minutes later she said "tiger woods, he made a mistake" Simon said "yes he did" Mom said " I was counseling him but had to suspend him for two weeks". We laughed, but she was serious.
Dr. Houck arrived and I asked if we could buy some time. She told us there was nothing to do to prolong her life. She was not having a reaction to anything they could correct and with her Oxygen levels, she was worried it might be only hours.
We kept talking to her and at one point she sat up and started reciting a poem called "Jenny kissed me". I thought it was a dream state but she said, "you will read that at my funeral" and started planning exactly how she wanted her funeral. She asked for paper and wrote the poem and then the order of the service. She put the paper down and said, "it's a work of art". We each had a part and she wanted no deviation.
Simon was standing beside her and started to cry. She was happy to see him expressing his emotions and told him he needed to cry and feel emotions.She held his hand.
She talked on the phone to Martha and then Jim. I called Gail and put Mom on the phone. It was hard to hear everything with her oxygen mask.
Mostly she smiled. She would look at us and smile and we each smiled back. At one point she looked at me and said "Do you think I'm going to die tonight?" I said "I don't know, Mom. Whenever you're ready".
Whenever she seemed to be drifting off I would say "Forest is coming" at one point she responded "You keep saying that, where is he?" and we all laughed. He was close.
Dad and Susie arrived. We were all with her talking. She was tired but we didn't want her to fall asleep.
Forest arrived and laid his head on her shoulder, he was crying. He said "How will I talk to you" and she responded "here" and pointed to his chest. She rubbed his hair. He brought her the red clover tea she asked for and she sipped a bit with her ice.
He sat down and started playing. Dad and Mom threw coins for an I-ching reading. She talked more about the funeral and then we left Forest to be with her alone.
When we went back in she was getting uncomfortable and asked for pain medication. They gave her a shot and then she asked to lay down. She wanted to rest.
We were going to leave her for a bit but Missy and I were still in the room and she started rolling from side to side. She almost fell out of the bed and Missy went to get Simon. I asked what she was doing and she said "just moving around" but I told her she was about to fall. Simon came in and her breathing started getting very shallow and gasping. We asked for Forest to come and I asked for Ativan to ease any anxiety. Dr. Houck had told me that sometimes O2 deprivation makes people just drift off in sleep but sometimes they become agitated, I did not want her to be scared. Forest and Dad came in. She was dying so I asked that it just be the three of us. We started saying "We love you Mom" over and over and touching her. We repeated how much we loved her as her breathing became more difficult. We sat the bed up and Forest tried to sit her up but it was too late. She looked surprised. The nurse came in and asked if we still wanted the shot. I said yes. I was so desperate that she not be scared. The nurse gave it, but Mom took her last breath seconds later. My body went numb at 2:08am. A part of it has been missing since.
We sobbed and held her.I asked for it to be just us again.
Forest sat down and started to play. We all cried as he played our Mother into the next life. Michael arrived and sobbed. He left work early but there was traffic so he missed seeing her.
We let everyone come into the room about an hour after her passing. The nurses and Dr's had tears in their eyes when they came in.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Mother

In the past week my Mother has had several downturns, leading me to believe the disease is progressing towards death. About 1 month ago we were told the chemo was no longer working on her cancer and that Hospice would be a logical choice, my Mom wanted to continue her fight with a first line clinical trial. I support her in making decisions that make her feel comfortable, but had concerns because we were told the clinical trial was to test symptoms rather than efficacy of the drug. She had one round 2 weeks ago.
My Mom is currently in Baylor Hospital. She went in a week ago with pain and redness on her abdomen and a fever. It has been discovered she has a perforated bowel and is septic. Her blood pressure was very low(68/40's) and she was given blood to help stabilize it.She is now retaining fluids causing Edema in her lower extremities and chest. She sustained a pretty severe fall three days ago but nothing was broken, just some bruising and a bump on her head. Last night she went into respiratory distress.A team was called and she remains on 100% oxygen.
She is focussed on recovering from the fall. She wants to continue on in her fight.I have gottena bit numb to the daily life threatening conditions, but when faced with actually processing the information, it is extremely difficult. I can only imagine how it must feel to be the patient at this point.
Taking things moment by moment....