Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nights are the worst

So, it's now 3:43am and I am totally, and completely awake. Never mind that I drank some coffee at 10:00pm (caffeine never had that affect on me in the past), but the nights seem to be the worst time of day (or night) for me. If I am not 99% almost asleep when I lay down, I lay there and think of Mom and everything she went through in the last year. And I cry, and cry, and cry. I try to do it quietly, but lately I just sob and I have to get up and leave the room so I don't wake Jason. When we were home for Thanksgiving is when it started, and it's been bad ever since.

When I think of my Mom, all I can think of is the last year. When I picture her, I picture her when I saw her in July, with hardly any hair and thin as can be from the chemo. I try my hardest to think of happy times and the times when she had beautiful hair and she was a healthy weight...but I can't remember her like that. I will never forget calling Jason when I saw her in July and saying to him, "The next time I see my Mom, it's going to be for her funeral." ...and I was right. I miss my Mom so much my heart hurts. Life's lessons suck!!! I am so mad that I have to live the rest of my life without my Mom. What lesson is this teaching me?? Because right now I am failing at life or at least I feel like I'm failing. I'm not the parent or the wife I want to be. I have NO friends here in Texas. And I am so lonely 90% of the time, that I pretty much hate life right now.

I just don't know how to move on, and part of me doesn't know if I even want to.

I miss you Mom more than you will ever know!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trying to live through the holidays

I can not believe that Christmas is 16 days does the time go???

On the outside I am doing pretty well dealing with the holidays and all of the pressures and issues that go along with it. However on the inside I am crumbling away. Christmas is my Mom's favorite holiday...she LOVED it...she LOVED giving and would have been completely happy if she never received anything, she just loved giving to others.

I am having trouble trying to figure out how to manage, how to enjoy the holiday without my Mom here...and I am failing miserably. My insides are constantly hurting and I at times just have trouble living. How do I enjoy myself when my mom is gone? How do I laugh and smile and carry on when she isn't anymore?? I's what she would want...but I just don't believe it. Of course she would not want me hurting, but would she really want me to just "go on"?? Wouldn't she rather me think of her, remember her, and carry on everything she was??

Jason is pushing for me to go talk to a grief counselor and part of me thinks it might be a good idea, but the thought of telling someone that I don't know that I have a problem...not sure I can do it. He talked to the Priest at our church and he knows the best grief counselor here in San Antonio and he doesn't take new patients, unless you mention that the priest referred you. They also will bill insurance and if your insurance doesn't cover this, then they will bill the church, so no money has to be spent out of your pocket...which is amazing!!!'s something I need to think about. I am just unsure if it is something that I want to do...even though I know it will help in the end.

So, I know all of you that read this aren't therapists...but if you have any ideas for me on how to get through the holidays...I would really appreciate anything!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mom's last wishes and goodbyes

So, we got up on Friday the 24th and headed to the funeral home. My Uncle watched the kids so that Jason could go with Katie, Kent and I. Being in that place knowing my Mom's body was there and I couldn't see it...was really hard. I wanted to ask to see her, but at the same time I was so scared to see her, so I didn't ask. We went into a room and sat down to do paperwork, the obituary, pick a casket and vault and drop off the clothes that we had brought for her to be buried in.

We got the obituary written and then went into another room to pick her casket. The first one I saw was a peach colored one and I said to Katie...this is it. However, it was one of the cheapest ones that they had, and we felt kind of "cheap" buying it. Mom's last wishes were for a plain box and no visitation. They had plain boxes there, but they were terrible...I couldn't imagine putting my beautiful mom in that ugly box. So...after about 45 minutes we finally decided on the peach one that we saw at first. Mom would have loved it if she could have seen it. After that we went out and had to pick a verse for the inside of the note card thing that people pick up at the visitation. They had books full of them but Katie and I picked one that was absolutely and completely Mom. :) After we were done at the funeral home we headed out to the cemetery.

At the cemetery we went down and saw where she was going to be buried. Her final resting place would be next to my dad on the left and when Kent passes away he will be buried on her right, so she will be between the 2. When my dad died she had his headstone made with her name on it, and I don't want that to stay if she isn't going to be buried there. So...she had purchased a single headstone back when he died also, so we went ahead and used that one for my Dad (I am going to bring their old stone here to Texas) and Kent and my Mom will have a new one. After the cemetery...we were off to the flower store.

We stopped at Blossom Basket and picked out the flowers for the top of her casket and a small pillow from the grand kids. are expensive!!! After that was done we went back to the house to find out where the kids were. We hung out together for the had been a long emotional day for all of us.

My Mom had said that she did not want a visitation, she wanted only a private burial at the cemetery for family only. However...we needed a visitation. We needed to see how many people Mom had touched. We needed to say our goodbyes to her and let all of her friends say their goodbyes also. So, what we decided to do was have a visitation, but have the casket closed after the family said their goodbyes. So the casket would be open for an hour before the visitation for family and then we would close it and let the rest of the people in. I think Mom would have been OK with our plan.

On Sunday, the day of the visitation we got there about an hour or so early. This would be the first time I had seen Mom in 2 weeks...and I was so scared. I started up the casket and had to stop and pick up James, I couldn't do it alone. I started sobbing about 10 feet away and had a hard time moving my feet forward. I hate funerals and visitations. I just stood next to her and sobbed and kept saying "Oh Mom, Oh Mom"...She looked so at peace and like she was finally at rest. That was the one thing that was so important...because the pain was SO bad for so long. She had a spot on her right ear that was black, and later on that day Katie told me it was because she had laid on that side so much at the end that it started to become a sore. I kept saying "why couldn't they fix that, why couldn't they hide it". What a silly thing to be worried about. My Mom was beautiful. She looked so pretty laying there. The kids did well with everything also. James wanted to touch her...all the time. He would walk up to the casket and reach over and touch her head or if we were holding him he would reach down and touch her hands, it was really sweet. Becca never cried, never shed a tear, never really talked about it. Bradley just hung out by the casket and watched people.

The rest of the family came to see her and give us their support. We were all there about an hour and then others started coming in, so we made sure they stopped everyone and everyone left so they could close the casket. We stood there for about 3 hours and there was a constant stream of people paying their respects. It was great to see everyone and see how much Mom meant to others. After the visitation everyone came over to Mom's for dinner that Cindy had prepared for everyone. It was great.

The actual funeral was going to be tough. We got to the funeral home early again to see her for the last time. I bawled and bawled...I couldn't say my goodbyes...I couldn't imagine not seeing her physical body ever again. The rest of the family came and said their goodbyes and then it was our turn to say ours so that they could close the casket for the last time. I kissed her forehead and told her that I will always love her and that she was the most important person in my life...Goodbye Mom. Steve Busick did the funeral, and he did an amazing job!!! He said everything right, and everything that we wanted said. We headed out to the cemetery and I called Prairie Gardens to say that we would be driving by...when we got to the corner of Duncan and Springfield we looked over and there were about 30 people or so standing there. The funeral director stopped the hearse right in front of them and they all waved, blew kisses, and said their goodbyes to her. was amazing!!! Sobbing in the backseat again!!

After we laid her to rest at the cemetery we headed to the VFW for dinner. It was nice, but hard to enjoy when all I thought about was what we had just done. My Mom was buried, in the cold ground, she was gone...and all I felt was alone.

We buried her on Monday and Tuesday afternoon we headed back to Texas. I cried the entire way to the airport, the entire flight to Dallas and the drive to San Antonio. To think about moving on, or continuing my life without my Mom was inconceivable. I can't imagine being happy again or laughing or living. My Mom was with me for my entire 38 years. I talked to her on the phone daily, and sometimes more than once. I loved her, more than I have ever loved anyone else. My Dad died before I was my Mom filled in as both of my parents...and now I have no parents. Sadness overwhelmed me and it still does.

My life has changed and there are days that I can't hardly "live". We got back home and we "went on". We have no plans to go back to Illinois (unless we go for Thanksgiving) this will be the longest I have been in Texas. We'll see how life treats us. :)

That's how we said goodbye to my Mom. She will always be in my heart, and I will miss her everyday. I will continue to talk about her to the kids though, because I am scared that someday they won't remember her. I will never forget her...and I will love her till eternity!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Dreaded phone call

So, where to begin??

The week before September 23rd, I talked to Mom on the phone once. I hadn't talked to her except for one time after we left Illinois and that phone call was pretty much "Hi, I love you, sleep, talk to you soon, I love you, bye". So I called her room on Saturday, September 18th and my Aunt Kathy answered the phone. I asked how she was doing and she said she was sleeping, but she would hold the phone to her ear and maybe she would wake up to talk to me. So, she did and I said "Hi Mom!", and she said "Hi Honey" back to me. I asked how she was and she said OK. There was a bit of silence so I said "I love you Mom" and she said "I love you too" back to me, followed by silence again. I said "Mom, are you there?" and she said "Yes". I asked her if Aunt Kathy was there and she said "Yes", so I said "I love you again" and she said it back to me...this went on for about 5 or 6 exchanges and finally I said "Mom, I love you, give the phone back to Aunt Kathy, I love you" and she just kept saying over and over "I love you". Finally someone took the phone and hung up. That was the last time I talked to my Mom. Sad thing is, was I was annoyed because they let her just lay there and didn't take the phone from her...I guess looking back they didn't want to ruin "my last talk" with her. I will cherish those 3 words everyday that she said to me, over and over.

On September 22nd I talked with my sister about some pads that they were out of to put on the bed and we figured out that Belinda had some and Katie was going to go over and get them the next day to take to Mom. At this point Mom had barely opened her eyes or talked in about a week. I was the last one to really carry on any conversation with her. Katie and I talked on the phone quite a bit and discussed some things that Mom had talked about with us in the hospital, such as where she wanted to be buried, etc. At 4:44am on September 23rd the phone rang and it was Katie. They were at the nursing home and this was it. Mom was developing all of this mucous stuff in her mouth and was causing her breathing to be very labored. The nurse said it was a matter of time. Wow...I couldn't believe it...this was it.

At 5:20 am the phone rang again, I hadn't moved, I was still sitting in the same spot on the mom had died. I was in shock, I couldn't believe it...the most important person in my life was gone. The woman that gave me life was gone. I am now "parent less"...both of my parents are dead. My children will never see there "Gee-ma", she will never see them grow up, graduate from High School, get married, have kids, etc., etc. This was all I could think of. I told my sister I would call my Aunt and Uncle Phil and she was going to try to get a hold of my Uncle Rick, Uncle Mike was there at the nursing home. Our lives were crushed right before our eyes...and I wasn't there.

I had told myself that I would probably not be there when she went, and I was OK with that. However, the closer it got...the harder that was to wrap my mind and heart around. My mom was there for me always. At each and every main event in my life, and here I was in San Antonio while my Mom died in Illinois. I know it was what had to be and if I had been able I would have been there with her, but the kids had to be at home and in we were here. I had peace and I was thankful for the week we spent with her at my birthday. I just loved her more than anything else in the world and she was gone.

We had talked about driving home when this time came, however the thought of driving 17+ hours with such a heavy heart was not happening. We booked flights and headed out at noon to drive to Dallas to catch our flight to Champaign. That 5 hour car ride was the longest in my life. Everything went pretty smoothly and we got to Champaign around 8:45pm and Uncle Rick and Lucas were there to pick us up. I couldn't keep it together, as soon as I saw him I was bawling. His sister was gone...and my mom was are we going to do this?? He took us to Mom's house and Kent and Katie were outside waiting for us. I just held onto my sister and didn't want to let go. Kent and I hugged and it all just seemed surreal. The next day was going to be the hardest ever...planning for my Mom's funeral and visitation.