Posted in Changes

Getting Through The First Of The Firsts

As nature was bursting forth with new beauty and adventure, mom left us for her new adventure in Heaven. We too were busting into a new adventure in our new apartments. And normal would be entirely new now for me, as I no longer have her here to care for each day. I miss so much having to get her things because she didn’t have the energy or strength to walk to the kitchen and twist open something to drink.

Tomorrow marks 3 weeks since mom died. As the initial shock wore off and life resumed we started piecing together time to go through her things, discard what no one would want, donate what someone might use, and figuring out which things we’d all keep to treasure her memory. Oh the finds!

The first two weeks I struggled to do required things like eat. It didn’t help that I was not at all hungry. Struggles with guilt for starting new routines that did not include her needs when I’d have given anything to have her need me! I just want normal to return but even now, 3 weeks out, normal hasn’t really settled in just yet. Still going through things, getting “her” room changed out into my room brought more guilt because it felt like erasing her from my life. I knew she was here one night, barely a guest status, before she left us, but it was hard. But on my birthday I woke up knowing this was something I needed to do, make that space mine and sprinkle mom in the form of things I kept of hers throughout. At the end of that project I felt good about it and had changed it completely from what looked like mom’s room that never really was at all. As I was carting things across the parking lot to the dumpster and back, I was circled over and over by a very beautiful butterfly like nothing I’d seen around before. It continued for a while before it landed and showed off its gorgeous wings then flew away. Call my crazy but I believe it was mom letting me know she was pleased with my moving forward.

Mom had been purging things since July when she was told she had 2 to 4 weeks to live, so there really wasn’t a lot of that we had left to do. I’m not going to lie that was awesome. She kept so much in the way of documents (birth certificates etc) and photos (all the way back to my great grandmother as a child). WOW! Going through them has been so much fun and brought back memories for all of us. And her bell collection…she loved to collect bells from places and events. Those have had an initial go-through by me and my siblings and a few of the grandchildren. There was only one that I wanted, a gorgeous crystal bell that she and I had decided she’d ring if she needed me in the night after the collapse before her death. I had feared I would not hear her if she yelled for me, and couldn’t figure out if the do not disturb feature of my phone was going to work. Fearing the worst if she fell in the night or needed me, we decided her ringing that bell would indeed pull me from my sleep with it’s beautiful, unique sound. It is now a cherished piece in my apartment.

bearI’ve known there would be firsts we’d face without her but didn’t realize just how fast the first two of those events was coming up. Mother’s Day was only 2 weeks after she left us and the idea of going through that without even a place to go ‘visit’ (we won’t have her ashes back for a long while, she donated her body) was difficult to say the least. My daughter and niece were thinking ahead and had snagged some of mom’s pajamas while we were cleaning out her room at the house. On Mother’s Day morning they arrived with breakfast from Panara Bread and memory bears made from those pajamas. Yes, tears were shed! But good ones. My sister and I were so touched by their sweet, thoughtful gifts. My niece found the poem online and printed/framed it to go with the bears. It holds a place of honor in my room and once in a while I hug it close for comfort. I miss my mom so very much, she was my best friend!

Four days after that was my birthday. My mom was there for the first 54 of them, but this would be the first I’d have to celebrate without her. We never really made a big deal of them, cake and/or ice cream and a card, but she would walk down memory lane and share about the day you were born. We’ve since discovered our crib cards and hospital bracelets among her things, just more wonderful nuggets of gold from the past she had kept safely hidden away.

Some days it is hard to just string together a complete thought or words to make a sentence. I go through the motions of life but get to the end of the day and feel like I just watched someone else doing it all. Other days I buzz through with energy and life, then feel guilty that the sun rose, I smiled and laughed and enjoyed the day that didn’t include the one person I felt most important on this planet.

Once the house sells and things settle into a new routine, I know that I will then start to feel ‘normal’, whatever that new normal will be. For now, I just push to put one foot in front of the other and not unpack my pain and live in that spot. It isn’t what she’d want and it is not good for one’s mental health.

 

 

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Posted in A Day In The Life, Changes

And Like That She Was Gone

It has been a week and a day now since life as I know it changed dramatically. It has taken me this long to decide if I was even going to share the events, and how much I’d be willing to let others see and know. Originally this was far more detailed regarding the events of April 28th, but I learned several years ago that just because I needed the therapy of putting things into words does not mean they all need to be published or shared. I have edited this and opted not to share some details.

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Friday morning, April 27th, came with a crazy rush of final boxes being packed, movers wrapping up and carting out our possessions into a truck, unloading of said truck and cars full of those things, cable, new furniture delivery, and finally quiet settling in over the chaos. Me and mom were out of the Diva Den and into our apartment.

While waiting for the movers to load up everything, my youngest brother stopped by to give my mom communion and pray with her. He regularly did this when she could no longer attend church. It was a beautiful way to close the chapter of that great house and home, and begin a new journey.  My niece captured the moment they lifted their heads from their individual prayers at the car. Mom was already in the car waiting for my niece to take her to the apartments to wait for our life’s material odds and ends to arrive. What we didn’t know was that this was the beginning of two journeys. One for me, and another for mom.

In a previous blog post last year I had talked about life being a journey down a road with different turn offs, and as each of us reached the spot where we saw a gate with our loved one or friend’s name, we had to leave them there and continue on without them. They entered that gate, exiting the earthly path and entering the spirit realm. We all knew the gate we were approaching, but we didn’t realize that around this bend it would appear.

A week before our moving date, mom and I were sitting in the living room in our arm chairs, just talking about life, the future, how funky she had been feeling that day, how weak she was, and how nothing she could eat sounded good. She got up to get some pudding, walking into the dining room. Seconds later I heard a horrible sound of things crashing to the floor and looked up to see mom had collapsed into a heap knocking things off a side table and was against the wall. I yelled her name and was at her side, still yelling “mom, mom!” to a blank, fixed, lifeless stare. My heart skipped a beat, I thought she had passed away. And just that suddenly she blinked. While she was coming back to me I moved her off the items she had landed on and started assessing if she had been hurt. All the while she was confused and disoriented. She realized she was on the floor but had no recollection of what had just transpired. The last thing she remembered was sitting in the chair.

I got her up into a chair, took her blood pressure (it was a low 88/49) and got her some water. Once she felt okay to move I took her up to my room, put her on my bed and sent texts to my sister and brothers. I didn’t realize this was the beginning of the end, and would prepare us for what was to come.

She was horribly weak all weekend, and the nausea she has fought with for a year would not let up. Her sister Mary arrived the next morning for a scheduled visit, and her other sister, Jean, came that night to spend the night with her, and the next day while I went to work. During that time we devised methods for her to get around for what she needed without a major risk of her falling and getting hurt. At the time I was still thinking it was just fainting from weakness.

Throughout the week leading up to the move she regained her composure and felt great. Weak as a new born kitten but feeling good. My aunt came back for the day Wednesday and helped her continue to pack her things for the move. Thursday when I came home from work she said she felt better than she had in weeks. The STNA in me joked “easy mom, maybe this is the rally before the end!” I see it all the time with hospice patients, right before they die they suddenly are full of life and make you wonder if they were misdiagnosed! Hunger returns, LIFE seems to return, and then just like that they are gone.

Friday she was feeling so good other than still extremely weak. We got moved in, had pizza for lunch during the crazy flurry, and once things were settled she came up to our apartment from my sister’s (sis is one floor below me & mom). I put away as much as I had energy to do, then we all had dinner via Door Dash delivery from Chipotle to kick off the new home of the former Diva Den members. We opened a bottle of wine at the end of the evening, and mom made a toast, mentioning in it that she wouldn’t be around to write this next chapter with us. It caused a check in my gut, a hiccup in my soul, but I didn’t realize how prophetic her words were to be. Before I could drink my wine I got a text that my new bedding was delivered to the old house. To avoid it being pirated off the porch I went to get it. When I returned my sister had gone to her place with my niece, drop-over tired. Mom wanted to watch an episode of NCIS with me but I couldn’t get the Chromecast working. We sat and talked instead. I’m so glad we didn’t get to watch the TV and just enjoyed our time. Then, like every night, we hugged each other, told each other we loved each other, and went to bed.

Saturday morning while she was still asleep I started putting things away and cleaning up. She came out later, dressed and sat at the dining room table while I was putting away dishes. It was hard for her, she expressed how she hated that she was so weak and couldn’t help me. I assured her again, as so many times this past month, that I didn’t not mind at all, just keep me company. I told her one day I’d very much miss being able to take care of her and just have her there to spend time with so she should just relax. At one point she stood up and tried to push her chair in and couldn’t, she got frustrated that she was suddenly so weak not she couldn’t even move a chair in to the table anymore. I noted her speech was a tad slurred at times, but wrote it off to the blood pressure still being rather low and the lack of energy and stamina. I now think I was just in denial.

All that day something just didn’t feel ‘right’ in my universe. Something was totally off and I couldn’t put my finger on it. My cat could sense it too, though I didn’t realize it, I just assumed she was all freaked out over the move. She found a place to hide, under the bathroom sink, having pried open the door of the cabinet and refused to leave getting upset if you attempted to bring her out, so I just let her go. I should have recognized the feeling, I have had it at work, seen residents reacting to it (dementia residents are very sensitive to things in the spiritual realm around us and when death is in the building they are all a hot mess). My cat felt death and hid from it, but I still wasn’t recognizing the feeling for what it was, too preoccupied with things that I was doing.

My sister came up and said we needed to go grocery shopping, so I got a list from mom and we headed out. Mom was sitting on the couch where she has been most of the day. We would later learn from her hospice nurse friend who visited that afternoon that she could sense something was off with mom but could not put her finger on it.

In the grocery store I could not focus on the shopping, I just wanted to be at home. Little did I know that while we were shopping, all of 10 minutes after we left, mom would take some pics of the apartment, go to the bathroom, and as she was exiting the bathroom she exited this earth. No suffering, just gone in an instant. Less than 15 minutes after our departure my niece found her much like I did the day she collapsed, only this time life did not return to her beautiful eyes. She would attempt CPR, with the help of 911, the medics would also make the effort, but mom had been in heaven before she was discovered and wasn’t returning to this earth.

Mom had prepared us for the past 8 years, as she fought this damn cancer, for this day. She made sure it was all done, so we wouldn’t have too. Her words came back to me from the previous night’s toast….she really wasn’t going to be here for this chapter. She made sure we were settled in our new homes, she knew my brothers would be there to help finish cleaning out the house and sell it, but she would be in her new home in heaven. Not a single thing of her own did she unpack, she spent less than 24 hours in this apartment, a guest rather than a resident.

4 days later we had a beautiful memorial mass in mom’s honor. Even in death she was the most giving of souls, having donated her body to the UC Medical School. We’ve received word she was assigned to a student who will further their knowledge with the help of her body beginning July 1st. When finished, they will cremate her remains, return her to us, and we will bury them in the same grave as her mother. That could be weeks to a year or more.

The cat left the cabinet after the funeral home removed my mom’s body, only confirming for me her sensitivity to what we could not see.

Me? I’m wading through emotions, sailing uncharted waters without much of a clue. My faith is solid, so I spend time in God’s Word and prayer, and now anchoring in my work.  Just working through the stages of grief for now, no rushing it just riding each wave as it comes.

Mom is on her journey on the other side, experiencing the joy of Heaven and being in the presence of God.

I’m on my own journey now, learning to navigate life completely solo, something I’ve never done before.

Posted in Wine & Cheese

Wine & Cheese: 1st Serving 2018

wineandcheese2Some Wednesdays I devote a blog to whining. Despite being a really happy, positive person, I do have things that annoy me at times. I never let anything grate on my nerves for long but thought it would be fun to vent them periodically in my blogs. I also feel that good things, the cheese in life, should be acknowledged as well. I’m even going to throw in a bit of dessert, a piece of virtual chocolate, something that made me laugh or smile just a bit more than normal. If you’d like to read the past editions of Wine & Cheese just search past postings. Sit back and join me now for a serving of some whine and cheese!

 ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

 WINE WHINE

😦 I know, it has been months since I blogged. Life. It happens.

😦 Mom is on the decline, I probably see it more than the rest of the Diva Den because I don’t see her for a few days sometimes when I’m doing double shifts. And others see it when the come over and haven’t seen her in a few weeks. 😦

😦 Winter is here and it has been so dang cold! And snow…OH I really do not like it one bit outside of being pretty to look at as it is coming down and then it just plan sucks.

 

CHEESE

🙂 Mom may be declining but here we are in January, 6 months past when we were told 2-4 weeks left to live. WOW. We had 2 Christmas celebrations, one in July and then she made it to Christmas anyway! She is one tough cookie. She is going to lose this battle, we know that, but we rejoice that she is still here!

🙂 Nearly a year into this job and I love it still just as much as the first day! Okay MORE than I did when I started. These sweet souls with whole hearts and broken brains are so amazing with what they can do, and how they make me smile, challenge my reserves when I cannot find a ‘tool’ in my belt to redirect or comfort them…I’m growing as a person thanks to them.

🙂 I have new air plants! I killed the last 3, I forgot for long stretches to dunk them in water for 20 minutes and those little things dried up. But I have 3 new ones. I have already neglected these too (face palm) but I’m trying!

🙂 Not sure what rock I was living under but I’ve only recently learned of bullet journaling and OMGoodness I LOVE it!!! Maybe my air plants stand a chance of survival after all now that my life is becoming more organized. More on this topic in a later post, which will happen thanks to this new way of being organized.

🙂 I have new jammies. I got a nice, warm, fuzzy set from my sister for Christmas and that prompted me to watch for after Christmas sales. Got a nice, $40 pair for $15 on sale and with some Kohl’s cash. I now have 2 pair and I’m in heaven. Go me!

DESSERT

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Posted in Coffee

Monday Morning Coffee Musings

Close up of cup of coffee with pink roseHAPPY MONDAY & NATIONAL COFFEE DAY!

What a great day, the day we can celebrate whoever the brilliant soul was who figured out coffee beans, when ground up and mixed with hot water made the most wonderful of beverages known to man!  I’m enjoying mine as I write!

I have NO idea what happened the other day, but my blog readers exploded!  Over 900 views in one day, and over 500 the next, most all to the post about Persimmon seeds predicting winter.  Who knew?  I’ve also heard of some folklore associated with the number of fogs in Autumn determining snow for the winter but I’m still researching that one.

Can I ask you to help a blogger out?  Shameless self promotion here:  Today and tomorrow (thru midnight 9/30/14) any size order ships free on my Avon site.  I could really use some online customer action right now as I am trying to build this business up to make me some money.  Currently it is paying for things I need and use like makeup and shampoo etc, but I’m not making any money.  You could help with that by not only purchasing something (anything) but sharing my site and the coupon code for free shipping on any order that is placed before midnight 9/30/14 (code is:  SHIP2YOU)  So, now is the time, even if all you wish to purchase is a lipstick or pair of earrings, every little bit goes a long way to help me!  http://www.marvelouswithmarti.com

Okay where was I before I hijacked my post?  Oh yes, winter. Brrrrr!  Not a fan of driving in the snow, or being cold, but I will say that the snow is gorgeous and part of me still reacts like a child when I see it coming down in huge, quarter size flakes.  I can’t help it, that part is awesome.  Everything following from shoveling to attempting to get to a destination without being tow truck fodder is just no fun.

This weekend brought sadness to my family.  A very wonderful young man of 33 passed away suddenly, leaving behind a widow and 3 children.  He and his wife just celebrated their 2nd wedding anniversary last week, and the baby is only 5 months old.  His other children are from a previous marriage/relationship.  He was a police officer, was in my son’s wedding, and his wife is just one of the sweetest people you could meet.  It was a tragic reminder that life is so precious and short, and you can take nothing for granted.  Hug your loved ones and pray for his family please.  If you would like to donate to help his widow, you can at: http://www.gofundme.com/f552sk

Speaking of which, that was the highlight of the week, my new grandson’s arrival into this world.  He is just precious beyond words, like his siblings.  I just love seeing new life come into the world, it is a great reminder that life is full of wonderful miracles and blessings.  The landscape of life changes so quickly, next year it will look so different than it does now.  It is vastly different than this time last year, a reminder of how much and fast things will change.  Embrace it all, feel it all, learn from it all.

Off to get the mail, and get down to the tagging and bagging of several hundred brochures in the hopes of finding new customers this week.

Have a fantastic day!

Posted in 30 Days Of Truth

Day 10 → Someone I Need To Let Go, Or Wish I Didn’t Know

30 Days of Truth

Day 10 – Someone You Need To Let Go, Or Wish You Didn’t Know

I’ve been thinking on this post for well over a week now, trying to determine if I have a ‘need to let go’ issue or a ‘wish I didn’t know’ issue.  I am really a firm believer that everyone that comes and goes in our lives is there, however briefly, for a reason.  We may not see it or understand until long after we can look back, if there ever is an enlightening time, but everyone serves a purpose.  Garth Brooks wrote a great song, The Dance, that often over many years, rings true to me again and again.

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance
Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn’t I the king
But if I’d only known how the king would fall
Hey who’s to say you know I might have changed it all
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance
Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I’d of had to miss the dance

During the course of this year I have often thought about those words as I have worked through the pain of my divorce.  23 years is a long time, in fact fully one half of my life.  I spent one half of my life married to the man that was Prince Charming to me.  My love for him is still there, I doubt it will ever not be the case.  I loved him unconditionally, staying even when he gave me reason to file for a divorce, and other times when it just got so hard and so painful to be married to him through his 17 surgeries and the asshole he was throughout, because I loved him that much.  I believed in him and he was the center of my world.  The hardest thing to face for me was that my love and devotion was one sided, that only one of us really meant “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do us part”.

I’ve never not taken ownership of the issues that I myself had, once I was able to see them.  With medical help I was diagnosed with what is a simple chemical imbalance and medicate that problem with a great, antipsychotic drug that balances out the serotonin.  It took missing my meds for 2 days for me to SEE for myself just how that imbalance was impacting my emotions, taking them to the extremes.  It is too late to do anything about the past, but for the future I am able to be ‘normal’.  In that two day span I saw crystal clear what I must have been like, not all of the time, but on those occasions when for whatever reason I’d be off balance and hit overload.  I’ve also began to seriously wonder if I wasn’t ADD as well, as I’d obsess about things at times, which I also no longer do to such abnormal extremes.

Over the past few weeks I’ve regretted the way things ended between me and hubby.  Oh I joke around here and there now calling him Lord Voldemort, He who shall not be named, and of late Grumpy Dwarf.  But it is now in fun, not out of a mean spirit.  I never really had a malicious intent toward him, just a lot of raw pain I struggled to over come.  I won’t say my heart is healed, as it is not.  My intentions for 23 years were always to make him happy, and to love him no matter what.  It was hard to be tossed out of his life and see him move on so fast to something or someone else, whatever the case may be.  By the time he told me he wanted out, he was already ‘moving on’ with his life, I was just facing it for the first time.  His present, of being a single man and going out and being free of me, was still my future.  His mind and heart had left me behind and started new, while mine was just standing up after the storm, chest deep in debris from the shock and realization that it was over.  Throughout these past months he has turned completely away, blocked me from contacting him and even has a very angry, hateful attitude toward me.  He never was able to understand why I was so upset and angry at him throughout the months prior to our divorce, he never grasped that he was months, even years (according to him) ahead of me in the acceptance phase.  I don’t know exactly how he expected me to react, maybe he thought I’d be sending him flowers and wishing him well, when instead I lashed out at times in hurt.  I made threats at times regarding the house and other parts of the divorce settlement, but never carried through on them.  When the time came I kept my word, signed the papers, and walked away.  All in all I think I handled things very well for someone that was so deeply in love and so devoted, after being handed my heart in a thousand pieces and rejected.

I’ll forever regret that things did not turn out the way I had dreamed, that we’d grow old together.  I regret that loving him with everything in me was not enough.  I regret that while I was very much in love and happy, he was not.  I also regret that he is angry and not willing to even attempt to be civil for the sake of our kids.  I do not regret that for 23 years I was able to share my life with my Prince Charming, to be his lover, to find my strength in him, to turn to him when I needed reassurance or help, or find security when I was afraid.  I will always have a spot in my heart for him.

Recently someone asked me to really think hard, IF Pete ever wanted to put things back together again, would I be willing to try.  I thought on that, a long time.  Even with the help of the medication to bring me in line, even though I love him still and always will, the answer is no.  It is him that I need/needed to let go.  I knew when I came up on this topic that my friend’s question was in perfect timing. And I went through a mental and emotional process over the past week of doing just that, letting ‘him’ go.

I also came to the realization that in time, I MIGHT allow myself to love someone like that again.  But it will be slow in coming about.  I deserve someone that will love me with the same intensity that I love, that will love unconditionally, that will see me as a blessing in their life, and see how fortunate they are to have me.  Just the way I felt about Pete, I deserved that in return.  Next time, IF there is a next time, I will not stay in a relationship with anyone that does not match me in opening up their heart and soul to me, the way I did for Pete, the way he never was able to for me.  We all bring baggage along in life, and that is fine.  But don’t hide it, put it out there so we both know what we are getting into.  Talk, share, and be open about what is tolerable and not tolerable.  But if you want to take my love, you better be giving just as much back and giving first, or it won’t be yours to have.

So..it is Pete, Lord Voldemort, He who shall not be named, Grumpy Dwarf etc, that I need to let go.  There is the door, good luck and don’t let it hit  you in your cute, tiny little ass.

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