Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dear Mom

Hospice of Wake County is really good about following up with family members after a loss. They have an entire bereavement team. The people I most want to talk to are the ones who were here for us during the process. I really grew to love our nurse and our social worker. I spent more time with the two of them than anyone else (not residing in our home). It's very difficult because I don't feel like I lost one person on the day my mother passed, but three. But as much as I long for them to be part of the bereavement team, I know their skills are better served helping the patient and coaching the caregivers through what is going to happen.

As part of mailing four, signifying the fourth month since I lost my mom, Hospice recommends writing a letter to the deceased to help me deal with my loss, specifically talking about certain things. So, here goes...

Dear Mom,

One of the fondest memories I have of you is the day I came in to your work to show you the ultrasound pictures of Isaac. I had them on disk and you had Grace put it in the computer to print out the pictures. I was only 9 weeks pregnant, so he looked like nothing more than a crooked peanut, but those pictures hadn't even finished printing before you were uncontrollably crying tears of pure joy. Don't get me wrong...I was totally embarrassed, mostly for you, but also very proud to have given you something that would make you that happy. What you expressed was the same feeling I had that I didn't think anyone else was capable of feeling at the same time, and I felt closer to you at that moment than I ever had before.

I miss you. I miss being able to call you to talk about what's going on in my life. I miss being able to ask your opinion, even though most of the time I didn't listen to it anyway. I miss hearing your opinion even when I didn't ask for it. Mostly I miss seeing you interact with Isaac. You were a wonderful grandmother. You, like me, marveled in even his smallest accomplishments in a way that only a mother or grandmother can. You were a huge source of support and never skipped a beat when I asked for help - with anything. You were willing to take care of him when he was sick, well, happy or screaming his head off without the slightest complaint because you were just happy to be around him. It made me proud...of him and of you.

I wish I had taken you to the beach, and fishing one last time. Those were the only two things you repeatedly said that you wanted to do. But I just couldn't figure out the logistics and I thought it would be too much hassle. It would have been a lot of hassle, and exhausting for everyone involved, and you probably would have been ready to fall asleep within 20 minutes, but I should have done it anyway. That would have been a memory I have of you instead of a regret. I'm sorry.

The hardest thing I've had to deal with since you've passed has been knowing how I treated you. Yes, I took care of you. I made sure you had all of your medicines, kept you safe, and handled all of your affairs, but I stopped treating you like a person who was scared, sad, and in need of her daughter to reassure her that she was loved and would be missed.

Today marks four months from the day I watched you take your last breaths. Every day at some point, even for just a brief moment, I'm right there in that room with you, holding your hand and Trey's hand, wishing I would say something instead of just watching it happen. I should have told you I loved you one last time.

But I do. I do love you, and always will. I promise that I will never forget all of the wonderful things you did from me, promise to learn from your mistakes, and promise to always always make sure Isaac knows how much his grandma loved him.

See you some day. Miss you until then.

Love Always


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Once Upon a Time

I always tell people how funny Isaac is. Really, you should spend some time around him and you'll fall instantly in love. Up until recently, though, anything he said or did that was funny was something he had heard someone else say or do. Last week while in the waiting room for my Dad to have surgery, he looked at me and began to tell me a story.

"Once upon a time there was a little boy 'flalling' down a hill," he says (Yes, falling is spelled incorrectly, but that's how he says it, so it makes the story even cuter.)I chuckled a little at stared at him in surprise then asked what happened next. "He got a boo-boo." Well, of course he did. "Then what happened, Isaac?" I ask. "Then his mommy kissed it." "Wow, what happened next, buddy?" "Then it make him all better." When I asked him what happened next, he proceeded to tell me the story all over again.

Then, yesterday we were playing in the living room and after I pinned him to the floor to steal his kisses from his cheeks, he got up, reached towards my lips, then brought his hand back to his cheek to retrieve the kisses I stole from him. TOO Funny.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

FUN with FOOD is having another one of their fantastic photo contests, and this time I thought I'd get in on the action. The winner gets $500 for groceries.

This picture was taken last summer before my sweet little baby ever turned 2. Now, close to three years old, so many features of that cute baby face are no longer there. His cute gappy teeth and fat cheeks are a thing of the past. I'm thankful I have this precious photo to make sure I never forget.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Your Friends Are..and Aren't

I'm not the most eloquent speaker or writer, consequently I rarely know how to word things so as not to offend people. Oddly enough, my sugarcoating abilities are worse in my writing than in conversation. Perhaps because in conversation I have to look people in the eyes and see their reaction, or listen to the offense or hurt in their voice, so I muster more compassion. I say this because I realize that what I'm about to write will likely make it obvious for some readers which category they fall into.

When I had my beautiful baby boy, Joe's and my life suddenly became no longer about us, but about this sweet, innocent child God had placed in our care. We saw a total outpouring of love and support from practically everyone we knew, not just for Joe and I, but, of course, for this new member of our family. People were coming by to visit, to give calls of support for no other reason than to let us know they were praying for us. I was, and still am, so incredibly grateful for everything that was done for us in those early weeks and months of our lives as new parents. At that time, I believed that I had discovered who our true friends were. The thing is, in times of great joy, everyone steps up their game and is excited to share in that joy.

Three months and eleven days ago, we were taken out of our own little world and placed inside the cancer cage. That Thursday night I sat by my mother's side in an emergency room, watching her go through agonizing pain and listening to doctors respond to every symptom we reported with, "Yes, that too would further lead us to believe that the masses found on the CAT scans are cancerous tumors." As I sat in shock, thinking this was all too surreal my husband tapped out a heartfelt post on this very blog giving a praise to God for an answered prayer, and also begging for the prayers of others for my mother and the battle she and we were going to be facing. For the next week, I commuted back and forth from the hospital and spent every waking minute at home on the phone talking to concerned friends and family who wanted updates on my mother's condition. Six days after the longest night of my life, we received the news that my mother had metastatic pancreatic cancer and there was nothing that could be done to cure her, and to top it off, her pain would become increasingly worse. The next day she came home to live with us.

When the fog started to dissipate, the shock wore off, and the world kept on spinning for everyone else but us, slowly but surely, I started to realize that my list of people who were true friends was way off. People I would have expected to demonstrate the same outpouring of love we received in our time of joy... some of them have come through, and others just never emerged from the mist. People I had limited contact with, and in many cases, no relationship with, came out of the woodwork and have been such an amazing source of strength. Others, some friends and some family haven't so much as called to ask how things are going or offer a word of encouragement. So many brothers and sisters in Christ rejoiced with us when mom accepted Christ as her savior. At the same time, nearly all have missed such an amazing opportunity to show Christ's love to a new Christian in an incredibly vulnerable, scary position. The hardest part has been realizing that people who I thought would be there to show their love to my mother, aren't.

I get it. It's not that anyone doesn't care. Perhaps in many cases it's because they care too much or, even more likely, just don't know what to say or how to act.

Finding out who your friends are or aren't can be saddening, but at the same time, what a joy it is to receive that hug or thoughtful note from someone you wouldn't have expected to reach out to you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Help my sis-in-law win a Wii

My five year old nephew took the picture below. Didn't he do a great job? Tonya entered it into an online contest themed "the kid in you".

Click Here to vote for "A Day in the Life of a Mama."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Speak Muna Muna

Isaac is developing quite the imagination. For weeks now he's been going around "picking" things off a table or the wall and saying "I eat grape." or "you want berry?". He'll come to you with his hand out, stick it in your face and demand that you eat the pancake he made especially for you.

Yesterday he stacked two blocks together and said "I eat ice cream." He got ready to take a "bite" out of it and stopped, said "uh oh. I say blessing." He then put it between his knees and said, "Dear God, thank you ice cream. Amen," and proceeded to pretend to eat his ice cream cone. I of course bowed my head with him when he prayed, but I thought I was going to wet myself it was so cute and funny.

As you all know, toddlers often times have their own language. I call Isaac's Isaneese. Several weeks ago he was laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep and he started chanting "muna muna muna muna." I asked him if he was speaking Isaneese, to which he replied, "No. I speak muna muna." What a character.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April Update

I wanted to take some time to update everyone on where our life stood.

In case you didn't already know, I quit my job teaching and have since began working at a dental office owned by a guy in our church. His son in law is a friend of ours and is the head of business operations, so I was able to go through him for the job. I'm really enjoying the job and have learned a ton of information about the dental world.

A lot of people were surprised to hear that I quit teaching, but the fact is that it just doesn't pay the kind of money I feel like I'm worth. I hope that doesn't come across as arrogant, but when you go to school and have a bachelors degree and see managers at fast food restaurants making virtually the same salary it gets a bit frustrating. I was sad to leave the kids in the middle of the year, one girl even cried, but I will get a chance to tutor eight of them over the next five weeks (and get paid good money for it).

Virginia's mom, Melissa, is still living with us, and will continue to for the rest of her life. One answer to prayer about three weeks ago was that she prayed the prayer of salvation with Virginia one Saturday night. I think that was a burden off of Virginia and it seems to have changed her outlook on life. As for her health, things are not great. We have hospice nurses coming to the house a couple times a week and have put her house on the market. At this point we're just trying to get things organized and taken care of so that we're ready when the end does come. I have no idea how long she has left, but it's important to get it done quickly any way.

Please continue to pray for us and all the changes going on in our life. This is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to go through. For the most part, my life has been rather problem free in terms of major changes. This has been a learning experience for both of us.