Monday, March 16, 2009

Today - Remembering my mom

Yes, I'm still here. And sorry, but this won't be your typical happy family post with lots of pictures of my beautiful children, but a way for me to share my thoughts of today. It's a tough day for me and for my brother, sister and anyone else who loved my mom.

Four years ago today my mother died. I was asleep in my sister's bed with K. and my niece L. It was a rough night and the girls weren't into sleeping, I was having a bit of trouble myself. Mom had been discharged from the hospital on Monday and was in the care of Hospice at my sister's house. Her dining room had been cleared to make way for the hospital bed and IVs that filled the small room.

That Monday, March 14, 2005, my mother was discharged from UT Medical Center and driven by ambulance to my sister's house. She was aware, awake and very quiet. She knew that death was near, but none of us expected just how soon it would come. She was told two-three weeks. That day I went home and looked forward to getting a good night's rest as I had spent every day and several nights at the hospital with her where neither of us slept. She had chosen to discontinue her dialysis treatments because the doctor had told her that she may die while in dialysis and she didn't want that, nor did we.

She was suffering from a complication from her diabetes - an infection that began as an abscess on her spinal cord and had spread throughout her body and into her brain. She had been in the hospital for a month in our hometown and due to the infection, was hallucinating and was unable to recognize any of us. We chose then to transfer her to UT Medical Center, where she could receive care from specialists. Once there the doctors were able find the source of the infection and put her on stronger antibiotics that helped to relieve some of the infection in her brain, but it was not able to heal her. After several days, my mom was back. She could carry on a normal conversation and knew everyone who visited. This was two weeks before her death. I thank God every day for those two weeks. If my mother had died unable to talk to us, it would have been much harder to cope with than it is now. We each had very meaningful conversations with mom during this time and she even helped us to plan for her funeral, a difficult task that was made much easier because of her planning.

The Tuesday before she died, I went to work at 7 a.m. so I could leave at 3 p.m. I had practically no vacation days left as I had spent most of them in the hospital with mom fearing each day would be her last. As I left work to pick up K. from daycare and head to my sister's, my sister called. Hospice had visited and shared with her that mom did not have as long as we had hoped. I had to pull off the road and puke. I picked up K. and drove down hoping she would wake up. She had slept most of the day, but had been up all night Monday night eating her favorite meal that my sister had prepared and playing cards with my brother. I regret to this day that I was not there Monday night. Mom did not wake up again on Tuesday.

My mother had many faithful and wonderful friends, two of them came to sit with her Tuesday night so my sister and I could try to rest. They woke us up around 5 a.m. to tell us that she had her eyes open. We ran to the room and at that moment heard her speak, we told her we loved her and she drew her last breath.

Almost everything afterwards is blurry. I do remember Hospice arriving and the men from the funeral home. And then the trip to the nursing home to share the news with my grandmother. It didn't seem real. The funeral was Friday and the burial on Saturday - two of the most difficult days of my life.

I miss my mom every day. She was so much fun. She wasn't strict and always gave me the freedom to do as I wanted. She always told me she would trust me until I gave her a reason not to. I never did. I respected her and knew that it wasn't easy for her to raise my sister, brother and me by herself. My mother was far from perfect. She wasn't a good housekeeper, nor did she keep normal hours. Her day began around 3 p.m. and lasted into the night. She slept while we were at school. She talked a lot and loved to gossip and was a wonderful cook. All of these things made her "Judy," and before I met my husband and had my own children, I loved her more than anything in the world.

I long to call her and just talk about simple everyday tasks. I want to tell her about my children and how well K. is doing in school. And ask her what I did to deserve such a wild child as P. I want to go shopping with her, one of her least favorite things to do, but nonetheless, she made it fun. I want to learn from her...she would always share recipes with me and she was great at sewing.

I know my mom is in heaven and one day I will see her again, but being the human that I am, it's not easy living on earth without her. I hope that each of you, who still have your mother on earth, tell her how thankful you are for everything she has done and will do for you. Never take a moment for granted.

Thank you for reading this never-ending post. I haven't talked about my mother's death with many people, well, pretty much no one. I'm a talker, but I can't talk about my feelings or emotions with anyone. It's a weakness of mine. This has been therapeutic and saved me $65. I promise pictures of K. and P. soon.