Thursday, January 8, 2015
I have written this post a dozen times at least. While driving, while daydreaming, while laying awake at 2 in the morning. I've hashed it out over and over, but it's time to just start, because I can't go any further until I do.
My mom died on October 13, 2014.
In June, I told you about my mom's cancer and that we were very optimistic. Her cancer numbers were low, she was feeling good, her energy was good, but there were some side effects. Nothing she couldn't handle, but some odd side effects. When Alice was born, she could not have been more excited. My parents visited just days after she was born and that moment when mom held Alice for the first time made everything worth it. The long pregnancy, the 20 hours of labor, the sleepless nights. It was all worth it for mom to meet Alice.
My mom and I talked on the phone and text each other often. Her world was Ali Rose. She wanted to know everything, and wanted to help me out since I was an overwhelmed first-time mom. We went home for Labor Day to have Ali baptized at my parent's church. That's where I was baptized, and my parents, and grandparents. It's where all big life events take place.
Mom was doing great. I woke up one morning at my parent's house and Alice wasn't in her crib. My mom had taken her and was holding her in the rocking chair, happy as could be. I was so sad to leave that my parents promised to visit in a couple weeks, the middle of September, just to see her again.
That trip was a little different. Mom had more pain, she had migraines, and her energy was low. She still loved on Ali, cuddled, feed, and spoiled her, but she wasn't as happy this time. We found out the next week that the treatments had stopped working altogether. The tumors were growing quickly and taking over. There was one last type of chemo to try, but it didn't work. On October 2, my mom started hospice.
We rushed home that weekend. We packed up Alice, took the dog to a friend's, and went. By the time we got there on Saturday morning, mom was heavily sedated and barely awake. I didn't get to talk to my mom much that day, but it was good for my dad to see Alice and play with her.
That night, Ali spiked her first fever. That can tear apart any new mom, but when I was so close to losing my mom, it really hurt. That next morning, Doug and I decided to leave early and get home so we could take care of Ali. My mom was awake, and she agreed. She told me to take care of my little girl, her light. She said that she had been living for Alice, and that mom's have to make hard decisions. I don't remember every word she said to me, but it was comforting and encouraging.
In the coming days, mom became unresponsive. I had left so quickly that I didn't feel like I got to say goodbye, but I also didn't know if I could bear to see her like that, but my aunt told me that I wouldn't regret it, so on October 10, I went home to see mom. I didn't know what to say to her. What do you say when you're not sure if someone can even understand you, and you can't come up with the words? Instead I sang. I sang "Go My Children with My Blessing", "It is Well with My Soul", "How Great the Father's Love for Us", and several others. I sang for almost an hour, one song after another. Finally I sang her the Nunc Diminus, or Lutheran speak for "The Song of Simeon". It's what we sing after communion. The song says, now let us thou thy servant depart in peace according to they word. It seemed right.
I didn't know that would be the last time I saw my mom alive. It could have gone on that way for days or weeks more, but I'm glad it didn't. She needed to go home.
The past couple of months have been up and down. I do have a darling 15-pound distraction, but sometimes the thought of Alice growing up and not knowing my mom is crushing. And more than anything I worry about my dad. They were married for 42 years. That's a long time to be with someone and have them taken away.
I thought adjusting to motherhood would be hard. That part has actually been easy. It gets easier everyday. Living without my mom has not been easy. Sure, everyday it sinks in a little more, everyday brings more healing, but then it hits you all at once again, all new, that you will never hug her again, talk to her, tell her you love her, and it's horrible. At least I know that I will have all of these things in heaven. I know that she sees Alice and how grown up she is getting from heaven.
Becoming a mom meant a change in priorities. Not as much time to read, or exercise, or be with friends. That's an adjustment that everyone has to make. Losing my mom feels like a derailment. One of my constants in life is gone and I feel a little abandoned, lost, adrift. I'm trying to get it back. I'm trying to get a little more passion for life, energy, happiness. I didn't crawl into a hole when mom died, but I didn't try hard to stay excited either.
And that's why I haven't been around here lately. I haven't known what to say. Now that I have all of this rambling off of my chest, maybe I'll come around more. I have reviews to share, books to tell you about, Ali stories to tell. Now that you know my history, I can move forward.
It's good to get that out. On to 2015, and a better year. We can all use it.
Thanks for reading