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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life without mom...

She's gone now ... been gone for five months come October 31. No more phone calls or surprise dinners in the icebox. Won't have another knock on the front door on my birthday with a big candle sitting there burning and a birthday box wrapped special for me. Saturday football games are minus the cooking smells and family gossip... She's gone now.

At first you are relieved that she isn't suffering, suffering pain and various indignations 24 hours a day.  Then you feel guilty that you are so relieved you no longer suffer from sleep deprivation yourself  Then the glaring reality sets in for the next year or more. 

The firsts -
First holiday without mom
First family dinner without mom
First birthday without mom
First family reunion without mom
First chic-flick without mom
First time you pick up the phone to call her and remember, she's gone
First time you complete a task that was formally a buddy thing (mine was sewing)
First time your dad cries over dinner
First time you see mail with her name on it

The Now Whats -
Now what do we do with her magazines about architecture
Now what do we do with her painting supplies
Now what do we do with her shoes that were custom made
Now what do we do with her paper weight collection
Now what do we do with the Christmas decorations

The now whats generally come about because they are things that are specific to the person you lost - not things you collect or "do" - but things that made them unique and special to you.

Oh - can't forget the I’m Nots! -
I'm not going to leave my kids with a mess when I'm gone
I'm not going to leave all this stuff here for the kids to sort through
I'm not going to fall apart

News flash - you are probably going to do all the I'm Nots! - because you are so drained you don't have the energy to get organized and there will always be something that must be completed by your spouse or children.  The falling apart?! When you don't expect it! Personally - I didn't really cry about anything after mom died... until I had to put down one of my daughter's cats just last week.  I couldn't stop crying all day - it just took the right trigger for me to let go.  You see, I have this rule that I have to hold it together for other people - and I did - but hey, you do get your day to cry too.  Hopefully, on your terms.

The anger....

You will see it popping its ugly head up in relatives around you (note I deny my personal anger moments) and occasionally you have to speak with stern words to others to put perspective back in place. Relax, this is part of the grieving process - and that process is like a wave hitting the beach... it rolls in then ebbs back out and rolls back in again a little bigger and stronger ... the anger also build like waves and then something pushes them hard enough they break and the sea of life calms again for a time.

If you have lost a loved one, I empathize with you; If you have yet to experience the loss of a close loved one, I rejoice with you.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hard Lesson

March 2012, was the beginning of a very hard lesson.  My mother is fighting stage 4 lung cancer and the doctors say it is a matter of months. 

Have I mentioned, this lesson is a hard lesson! 

You always, always know everyone born is going to die one day, but it just isn't something you want to happen.

Here is your lesson...I hope!

If your grandparents, parents or siblings are still alive, spend time with them.  Talk about the family history, what was special about their childhood, what movies they like, or even just sit in the room with them.   This is the harder time in your life, but one of the most rewarding times too. 

Don't be a baby and say "I'm mad at them... they always criticize me... I have a game to go to... they'll be there next weekend" such EXCUSES will come back to simmer during those lovely "pity party" days in the future.  If you are truthful with yourself you are just trying to justify not taking your precious time out of your precious schedule to include someone you should honor.  Yep, there might be times when you don’t ‘love’ your family much, but you are to honor them.

Put on your big girl or boy panties and go see those people that you love, respect, and possibly disappoint you - even if they tell you things like “you must have gained weight since the last time I saw you” (yes, my grandmother said that… a lot - even when I lost weight! haha).  OH, don’t be sad for me, I have precious memories of her too - like teaching all us grandkids (boys too) how to make pies and count back change.  She was a practical woman you see.

My mom, well, she is teaching me how to go out being faithful to God.  She is teaching 2 Bible study classes a week AND teaching a one-on-one class with her cousin while taking pain meds and using oxygen.  Time with those she loves - sharing the one she loves the most.  Mom has it right! 

So this hard lesson is one EACH OF US WILL FACE personally and thru others.  ARE YOU READY?

One last thought - let people know they mean something to you while they are alive, not in a casket.  Send that card or arrangement of flowers while they can understand that they have an impact on another person's life.  It won't hurt you and it will thrill them!

More another day -