Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Different Christmas

This Christmas was different. This year, was the first without mom . As I busied myself getting ready for the holiday festivities I couldnt help but think about my mom and how hard last Christmas had to have been for my mom. It was her first without my dad. She tried so hard to be strong... and she was . I tried to be strong this year. I think I have a little of my mom's courage and determination ... or maybe I'm just stubborn and hard. This Christmas was different.

I replaced a lot of my old decorations with new bright eccentric whimsical ones. I love them. They were a signature of my year and the new outlook I have . If it makes me smile , isnt a sin against God and doesnt hurt anyone - WHY NOT!? So, I started collecting monkey pictures. Not just normal monkeys but monkeys in clothes. I LOVE them! New home decor incorporating silly monkeys that make me smile and new whimsical pretties for the holidays.

Then there were the little changes - like instead of turkey we had ham. Instead of Christmas Eve with my brother we did it on a Monday night the week before. I moved the tree that has ALWAYS been in the foyer to the dining room. We had three parties within a week and a half and I used a lot of boxes instead of wrapping paper - ha !

This year we got to see Geneviette wake up and find that Santa had come to our house. What a joy to see the belief. The night before we watched a video message from Santa. G's eyes were as big as buttons. Some people believe playing Santa is a lie and wrong to tell children. So is saying " Honey, I'll help you in just a minute " while you talk on the phone and know it will be 20 more minutes. So, I chose to be honest when it counts and BELIEVE ! She knows Christmas is to celebrate Christ's birthday. Get over it.. :)

This year we had a new , different family with us. Randy's new found son Jonathon and his family came to visit. We had a grand time getting to know them better and figuring out how we all will fit together as a family. Adding 6 over night can really add to the chaos of Christmas. We went to Branson for a few days. The last thing we did was go see " The Christmas Miracle". " The Christmas Miracle" is about the birth of Christ. At one point as a host of angels was singing " Glory to God" I turned to look at Randy and his eyes were filled with tears. I knew at that moment he was thinking the same thing I was - wow.. mom and dad and his mom and son are all up there.. singing right now at the throne of God. What a precious moment as our hearts were meeting at the same time and place. The time with Jonathon and his sweet family was well spent. I know this is the first of many different Christmas's with them.

Yes, this Christmas was different but in many ways and the most important ways it was the same. Our kids were here to celebrate with us. We are blessed with too much - stuff. And Jesus is still the reason for the season.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mississippi you're on my mind

I am in Mississippi.

Maybe I should back up.

Several weeks ago Randy got a letter that he thought was a joke. Surely, it would have been one in bad taste but I knew it didnt sound like a joke. A lady that Randy had a one night stand with in his younger days said " she had a 23 year old son that wanted to know who his father is." Really? At this time, my mom was being placed in hospice. This was all way too much to deal with. Thankfully my weightloss doctor has me on anti depressants to counter the other medications I am taking. I dont know what it feels like to need medication to get through days- but I am sure I would have needed something - anything at this point. Instead, I just shrugged my shoulders and said " Oh well... it isnt the worst thing that has happened this year. We'll figure it out."

After a few emails and trying to decipher this ladies motives and intentions we were confused. I mean, seriously, why wait 23 years ? Then again.. God's timing is perfect. As mom got more sick we just had to set this problem aside. When we had taken care of moms affairs and life had slowed down a little we decided to get a DNA test done.

Last Thursday Randy and I were driving to a concert - cruising down 540 on our way to Booneville. My phone " dinged" with an email. As I opened it I realized something that could potentially change our family forever was waiting on the other side of that PDF. I didnt understand what all the report had to say so I called the help line. As she told me that Randy's test was 99.99 percent positive I drew in a deep breath. After getting off the phone , I told Randy. It was a long quiet drive to Booneville. Then, we put on those happy faces and sang our heart out to kids for an hour. After the show we went to have dinner and finally talked. Randy cried. He had done this a few times before when we talked about this. I am sure his heart was a mess.

Yesterday we laid to rest my cousins 21 year old cousins daughter. I sang " Tears in Heaven " . Life taken away.

Afterwards we drove to Mississippi to meet Jonathon. Life given.

Jonathon and Alecia seem to be a nice family. They have four children. We met one, Parker, a cute energetic little red haired one year old. Randy and Jonathon look a lot alike. One of my favorite features on Randy is his arms and hands. I dont know why. Jonathon has his dads arms and hands. As I looked at Jonathon I tried to imagine Randy that young and couldnt help but be a little jealous that I didnt know Randy 23 years ago.

In my heart I know I was born to be a mother - a caretaker. I would have loved to have a baby with Randy, but I didnt. This lady did though.. that he doesnt even remember.

Opps.. there it goes. You knew my feelings would surface eventually instead of just being a report . I am not sure how all this will go. I know that God has a plan in our lives and it isnt my job to second guess him. All the "weird" feelings I have about this are selfish and that isnt good. So, I am putting on my big girl panties and dealing. We are blessed to have this happen now.. and with this sweet family.

It'll be ok.

So... here we are in Mississippi .

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Eight days after posting my last entry - my mom went home to heaven. Here are some things that are forever etched into my memory and my heart about those last days. ( This will be long- grab a cup of coffee . )

The day we brought mom home and the hospice nurse came to visit with us to tell us what we would expect to see as mom started her final journey home. She got there in the evening on Thursday night . There were little things that told us she knew mom was almost there. We were going over mom's medicine and when we came to the synthroid , which she had taken forever since her hysterectomy, the nurse said they dont provide that. Then she looked in the bottle and said " I think we'll be ok." It took a while to let what she meant soak in. I resisted the urge to count the pills to see how many pills/ slash days we had left with mom.

Keith and I decided to take time off work to be with mom. The doctor had told me a " few " weeks. Keith had went into work on Thursday. Thursday morning mom woke up and said " I'm ready" I said " ready for what mom?" She replied " To go see Jesus." I asked mom was she sure and was there anything that I needed to take care of . She said no. I asked her should I get Keith ? She said " yes, Keith needs to be here with us." Pam called Keith and he got on his way home.

Mom held on for a few more days and throughout the days there were a lot of things that she said that made us linger on every word.

" Turn him around , I cant see him" who mom? " my sheep, I cant see his face."

" Did you see those flowers? They were beautiful . They were right there."

" They called and said they are ready." Who mom? " The funeral home. Are you ready to go? They said they are ready for me."

One night while I was with mom alone my friend Beth came over to visit. I went in to check on mom and I said " Mom your feet are so swollen." She replied not for long. I said " What do you mean mom?" She said Isnt that what they told you that I wont be here much longer? WHAT DO YOU SAY? I said " yes , mom.. they did. How do you feel about that? " She said she was ready. I asked her was there anything I could do. She said no. I said " Do you think dad is there waiting on you?" She smiled and said yes.

I asked mom what she thought Heaven would be like. She said " It will be beautiful. No more sorrow no more pain.." I thought she was going to start singing.

I asked mom was she scared and she said no. Facing death but so sure of where she is going she had no fear at all.

My aunt , moms sister, came up to help us take care of her and to say goodbye. She was a huge help. One time as I walked out of the room she said mom said " Goodbye Deb, I love you. See you in Heaven."

Once we were all in moms room talking to her and telling her if she was hanging on for us that we would be ok... dont worry. As we cried, we heard a car pull up. Great timing , I think not, who will leave and go to the door? Randy did. It was Steve, our pastor . He said he was just in the neighborhood and felt the need to stop. He did. He prayed with us. What a comfort. What a reassurance that God was there, with us Great timing ? Yes.

Mom's nurse was sent from God. I think she was specially chosen.

The first day I met Genia she walked to my moms bedside and said " Ms Betty, I told you I was going to ask you this. Is it well with your soul?" My mom smiled and said " It is."

Genia said she felt she was there to be a vessel. She said she felt moms job on earth was not finished and she was there to help her do whatever it was she needed done. As she did procedures we could hear her singing . Later we found out that she prays for her patient and that is one of the ways she does it - through music.

Genia said that mom had touched her heart in such a short time.

Genia had touched ours.

When everyone thought that mom would have been gone Genia said " How much time do you spend together?" My brother said who? Me and my mom? She said " No, you and your sister." Keith explained not a lot that we both have very busy lives. Genia said " Wouldnt it be just like a mom to hang on a little longer to have you spend time together and remember how important it is?" Every Friday since then Keith has been at my house , just to check in. He calls. Mom would be proud that we are finding the time to reconnect.

In the last days Keith and I rarely left moms side. We hung on every word she said Until --- Genia told us something . She said she believes that when believers entered the gates of Heaven that the streets are lined with loved ones that had went before. Those people are telling her what a difference she made in their life and recounting all her good deeds. So, everything mom said might not be meant for us.

Genia was a blessing.

Keith, Pam, Randy and I spent moms last days spending time with her and looking through photo albums and talking. We started planning her funeral. She had requested two songs. I went to pick out her casket and Keith took care of the business end. We started to not feel like we had to be at her bedside every minute. By this time she had slipped into a coma . On Thursday evening all of us were around her bed talking and knew the time was close. One by one we all walked out . At 6:50 I walked into her room and waited for her to catch her breath. Many times she would have apnea for 30- 45 seconds at a time, which felt forever. She never did. As I called Keith and Pam back into the room we checked her pulse and then her blood pressure. As " Sheltered in the Arms of God" played on the CD player in her room, she entered the gates of Heaven.

I am sure my dad was standing there saying " what took you so long Betty?"

We did all the things we had been taught to do. Hospice arrived and we went outside. After they prepared mom and left with her we all sat outside on her patio.

A member of moms class had brought supper at 5:00. We had not eatten. The four of us took time together to have a meal as a family at moms. I am guessing for the last time. Mom and dad would have liked that.

Since then we have found notes from mom.

How she feeds the dog.
How to clean the silver.
and even a hand written poem she copied and tucked in her cookbooks called Dont Grieve for Me.

What a mom. Faithful in life. Faithful in Death. An example from beginning to end.

Thanks mom, we miss you .

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hospice and the Long Good Bye

I am sitting in the dark next to my moms hospital bed waiting on the hospice doctor to come in. It is 9:25 pm, so perhaps I should realize that wont be tonight. Lets go back a few days.

Mom's health has been deteriorating rapidly. She has no sense of night or day and gets confused easy. As a family we decided we would take turns getting her in routine. Every morning I have been going and waking her up and getting her breakfast, making sure she takes her medicines and letting the dog out. Yesterday morning when I went in I let the dog out and popped in her room with my usual " too perky in the morning" GOOD MOOORning MOM. I looked at her bed and it was empty. For a brief second I felt optimistic that she had beat me up and was in the bathroom. As I started in the room, I realized how wrong I was, she was on the floor. I said . " Mom.." She said " I am ok, I just fell " I couldn't get her in bed and had to call for help. Surprisingly , I remained calm. I knew we had to get some answers to this drastic change in her . Keith and I brought mom to her oncologist and they gave her some IV meds, but still no answered questions. At one point in the day, one of the nurses asked me " were we comfortable taking her home ? " Well, I was a little nervous before but now that you asked.. I am VERY nervous about it. They decide to admit mom to Washington Regional. Keith stays the night. I get up and have an appointment with moms doctor at 8:30. I want to ask the BIG questions. These are questions that I think I know the answer to ,but I have to hear it from him.

As I sit in the waiting area of the oncologist office I am looking around the room. So many different people. An older lady walked by and commented on my sandals . " How cute". She sat with her husband. They were BOTH seeing the doctor and getting treatments. What an ordeal that must be. I doubt it is at all like the buddy system in weight watchers. There was a VERY young girl.. how scared she must be. As I looked around me I realized that although we all came from different walks of life, we were all going through the same things. They call my moms name.

I go back.

And wait.
And wait.

Dr Travis comes in and listens to me. He basically tells me that mom has fought a good fight. The treatments have taken a toll on her body and her mind. He said that dads death was hard on her. That mom is an " I'm fine" lady. No matter what happens in life she is " fine". He feels like she internalized all the feelings of loss with daddy. That, her health , the treatments all come down to one thing. A few weeks. A few weeks.... I took a deep breath. You mean, we have a few weeks left ? Yes... Whether we do treatment or not.

Wow.. I am going to lose my mom not even 6 months after losing my dad. Seriously? wow.

As Dr Travis and I finished our discussion he told me that hospice would be over to the hospital to set up a plan for mom . We are doing home hospice. As I walked out of the office trying not to gasp for air and through the filled waiting room I wondered, what do these people think seeing me leave holding back tears . They know why.. they have to. They know that one day, that will be them.. or their daughter. I got to the car and slammed the door and sobbed. Harder than I have in a long time. I can do this . I can do this. I can do this.

I called Randy. If you can hear a heart break,.. I heard his.

I came across the street to the hospital where Keith was with mom. I called him and asked him to come downstairs and bring a washcloth.. cold. Wet... He did. We sat in the hallway and talked. He was upset.. I was upset. He went home I went upstairs to face mom.

My eye problem I have been dealing with is in FULL SWING. I look like a raccoon with red circles around my eyes. As I walked in mom said " sis , your eyes sure are bad." Yes . mom they are .. these crazy allergies.

We have waited all day for Hospice.

I am sitting in the dark next to moms bed. She doesnt know yet. Although I think she suspects it. As I listen to her breath I realize the things about my mom I will miss. I 'll miss her strong faith and honest " tell it like it is " concern. I'll miss her yummy banana pudding. I'll miss her smile that hides so much pain. I am also convicted. I too am an " Im fine" girl. Many times, I have a smile that hides my pain.

With each breath , I wonder... what do you think about when you know you have just a few weeks to live? What do you want to do? What if it were me? Have I loved enough? Have I given enough ?

Im gonna miss mom. Today she said " Deb, when I turn this way, I can see David sitting right there." Is it possible? Is he sitting by her side waiting for her to join him?

I think so.

Daddy , she will be there soon. I hope in the mean time we make you proud.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I know better

Today, this week ( well, this whole year really, but who's taking score??) has been a little crazy. I am have learned not to blog when I am overwhelmed or emotionally fragile and just down right mad, so.. I should probably sign off now - but I wont. For some reason I feel like SPEWING all over the place and sharing my agitation with others. I know better.

We have been waiting two months on an inspection that determines our funding ( or lack of ) . I know I am good at what I do. I work endlessly in it. When I fill out something that ask for hobbies there are no spots for lamination or lesson planning, but in my case there needs to be. Rarely can I take a mental break from work. I am constantly on the next page of what I need to do. That isnt a bad thing and I am SO thankful that I LOVE my job... but waiting on this inspection is crazy. The sad part is - as ready as we are - the day could fall apart as they sometimes do with 16 preschoolers and all the mental and physical preparation would be in vain. I am not a good " waiter." I am exhausted. I know better.

My mom went to the doctor today. Her count is higher than it has ever been. When I go see her it sucks the life out of my as I watch her fade. I have to start finding the joy in spending the time with her and value the time I do have more than the time I will lose. I know better.

I hired a contractor to come do three odd jobs. He came . He asked to be paid. I asked what he did. He said " We did two jobs today." I paid him. I go look to find out even those two jobs are not complete and now he wont return my phone calls. Almost a THOUSAND DOLLARS. I am TOO TRUSTING. Of course the husband says I should have never paid him the full amount. You know what I say.. I shouldnt be handling this stuff anyway. If I am not doing it right....then PLEASE do it for me. PLEASE ( or shut up .) The end. One of us knows better.

Weight Loss. Slowly but surely it is coming off. I can tell a difference in my clothes. I am not the incredible shrinking man like Randy. He is 7o plus pounds less now. So.. whenever we are together, my 40 plus is unnoticed. waaaa.... I know better.

Birthdays. I am turning 44 tomorrow. Thankfully that isnt my bust size anymore, I guess that is a blessing.... It should be good. I am having one of " those weeks" ( you know... two workshops to do on Saturday and one isnt even WRITTEN YET.) . Randy said he heard Price Cutter has their greeting cards at 40% off ....yeah.. I know better.

My eyes. My eyes have been messed up for over a month now. When I girl is over weight you know what she hears a lot. BuT YOU HAVE SUCH PRETTY EYES... hmph... now what? I know better.

I cant get in touch with my tax person that I have used to four years. I finally went to a new one . He says.. she did it all wrong. Last year I had to pay in over 6,000. If SHE DID IT WRONG.. what WILL this year be.... Sometimes making more money isnt worth it. Ugh.. I knew better.

All in all my life is good. I have heard though that people that suppress feelings of anxiety have heart attacks. If that is true.. I hope those that are around me the most know CPR. I am a walking heart attack.

I need a break.

I need a break.

I need a break.

See.... now you are depressed too.

I knew better.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Everyone needs somebody

Today was moms birthday.

Today was her first birthday without dad.

As I was leaving her house Geneviette says " Is nanny taking good care of pawpaws truck?"
Me- Yes, why?
G- Who's gonna drive it now?
Me- I guess no one. Nanny offered it to me and to Uncle Keith but we dont need it.
G- Oh, Whats she going to do with it?
Me- I dont know.
G- Do we come see nanny because she is alone?
Me- Yes
G- PawPaws in Heaven
Me Yes he is. What do you think about that?
G- Will Nanny ever get another husband?
Me- I doubt it G.
G- Why?
Me- She is older and doesnt feel very well.
G- She needs someone.
Me- Why?
G- So she wont be alone.

I almost cried. What a deep thinker and loving heart my beautiful grand daughter has at four years old. Precious , precious times. I told mom about our conversation. She teared up too.

Happy Birthday Mom.

The best present wasnt given too you, it was from you. A heart that loves and a family that cares. I hope my legacy of love is as strong as yours.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Journey of Becoming Older

I wasnt sure what to title this blog. This morning as I checked my facebook account I saw my cousin had posted to pray for my Aunt Patsy, she has had a heart attack. How does this happen that one day you are young and playing.. then growing up and getting married and then you get to this stage in life. The stage where you see your parents get sick . You see your parents leave this earth and go to Heaven. You see all the older people that have been such a large part of your life... start to pass away.. one by one..

I am so thankful I went to the family reunion this past October. I went back and read what I had wrote about it.

One of the things that stood out to me over and over again while at our festivities were the looks on my aunts and uncles faces. I remember as a kid lots of laughter and fun. I think maybe I got my " funny side" from the Prince family. My moms family is an " easy to smile" family. This trip as I looked around the room I didnt see as much laughter and smiles. My moms brothers and sisters are all in thier 60 -80's now. I saw an older generation looking and remembering and maybe even a look of sadness. Was it a look that seemed to whisper " This may be the last time I am here"? Was it a look that said " Times have changed"? Several times I wanted to ask " what are you thinking about ?" but I didnt want to break their silence and wasn't sure I could handle the answer I got. Sadness...

I know it is inevitable that generations will pass. We expect it. We prepare for it. But it still hurts...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dads Jacket and Hat

My dad passed away the 18th of December .I havent written about it because I am not ready yet. The hardest part has been seeing my mom deal with his death. FORTY EIGHT and A HALF years they were married. That is a long time. Mom has cancer. We don't know how long she will live. When this happened she cried so hard and said " I can't do this without him." over and over and over.... I just put my arms around her as she sobbed.

My mom is strong.

Very Strong.

Yesterday she broke down and said " It has been two weeks since we buried your dad."

Tonight when I went in his jacket and his hat were not on the rack anymore.

I didnt say anything.

As I see my mom get better each day, I see more and more things of my dads move. I am not sure where they are going. She asked me did I want his Bible.. not yet. I dont want his Bible yet. I dont know that I am ready to hold it in my hands with his name on the front and realize even more , that never again will he read it.

Oh.. I know.. he doesnt have to. He is sitting at the authors feet.

But it still makes me sad.

I am taking the hat and the jacket as a sign. A sign that my mom is healing and that is a good thing.

But .. it still makes me sad.