Monday, August 26, 2013


When someone loses a parent, a part of your life is forever changed. A void is ever present. Today marks one year since my own parent, my mom, went to Heaven. This time last year my sister and I were goofing around in the ICU room while Mom was in a medically induced sleep. We had stayed the night with her and were hoping for her breathing tube to be removed. They had tried to remove it the day before, but she wasn't quite ready. We were very hopeful that day. Then her nurse had some bad news. She had an infection. And it was spreading throughout her body. Her body wasn't responding well to the tube. And she would need dialysis for the rest of her life. Something she never wanted. Not only that, but she had c. diff. The only chance she had was having a surgery to place a tracheostomy, and because there was no facility around here to care for her, she would have to go to St. Louis, or maybe even Indianapolis. Far away from family. There was no guarantee she would even survive the surgery, and in all likelihood, she wouldn't.

Around noon, they woke her up for us to talk to her. We, as well as her doctor, and her nurse, explained her choices. And she kept motioning for us to take out her tube. We asked if she was ready to go to Jesus. She shook her head, yes she was ready. We made the heartbreaking phone call to family. They waited to remove the tube until our brother, step dad, and husbands came. Her brothers and their wives came, her niece and nephew came. My niece and nephews came to say good bye. My kids did not come, they couldn't come into the ICU because of their ages, and I didn't want them around all of the sadness. Friends came or called to say good bye.

I can't really remember what time the tube was removed. I just remember laughing and trying to be happy. And remembering.  And singing with her. And praying. And then she went to sleep. So we went out to stretch and use the bathroom. But her nurse called us back. We ran back to the room. Just in time. At 3:35, she went to sleep and never woke up. It oh so peaceful. And so very sad.

And now, a year later, it seems like yesterday. As the days go by, in some ways it seems to get easier. You get used to not having her there to call or talk to, or share what funny thing the kids said or did. At the same time, I still want to pick up the phone and call her. Tell her I love her. Share the day to day struggles of being a mother and wife. So now I have a new normal. One that doesn't have my mom in it. Which is so hard. What hurts the most, is the kids are slowly beginning to forget. I am trying my hardest to keep her memory alive for them, but it is so hard. It is still hard for me to talk about, and because of that, it is hard for me to share stories and talk about her with my kids.

Grief is a funny thing. This past year, I have went through so many emotions. In nursing school, you learn all about the stages of grief. For the first few months, it was like Mom was on vacation. She would be back. She wasn't gone forever. When I would go to her home, I would get butterflies and think "maybe she will be here today". Realistically, I knew she wasn't there. But before you remember, oh yeah, she's dead, your mind tricks you. And you believe for a few seconds she is home. By Thanksgiving, I was cycling through the anger, bargaining, and depression stage. Very quickly. One minute I was angry and blaming anyone I could. The next I was bargaining, what if we would have signed her out AMA from the nursing/rehab facility that Sunday? What if I would have taken better care of her? What if I had her move in with me, instead of letting her go to the rehab place? And then depression. The crying, sadness, and numbness. And then I would be right back at anger or maybe bargaining. Or maybe all three.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened. But at some point, I accepted that she died. I know she isn't coming back. I know she is in a better place. I know she is surrounded by her loved ones who went before her. And I know that someday I will see her again. I hope it isn't too soon. I am grateful that I had 25 years. And I am so glad that I had a mother that I could look up to and learn from. And that my kids had a grandmother who loved them.  I am sure I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.  I am still sad that she isn't here to see my kids and nephews and nieces grow up. And that she won't meet any future children we may have, but who knows, maybe she already knows them?

One thing that has happened this past year, I found a great God. I always knew he was there. But I just figured as long as I did okay with my life, asked for forgiveness every once in a while, I was golden. But I was wrong. I am striving to live my life, so that when my time comes, I will be ready for Heaven. I will be ready for my mom to welcome me Home and introduce me to Jesus.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bad Times

Last week was awful. It was the week of hell. What could go wrong, did.

First, Sunday our Boxer, Bella was limping. Monday morning, she couldn't walk at all. So we took her to the vet. The ran a few tests and couldn't find the cause. I honestly thought we were going to lose her. The vet, however, had other plans, and put her on a high dose of steroids, a pain pill, a pill to keep her from throwing up, and a pill to calm her down. The only pills we brought home were her steroid and tummy pill. Tuesday, she was even worse. She couldn't use her front legs and all her legs were laying in horrible angles. Wednesday she couldn't even lift her head up. She wouldn't eat or drink. It was awful. She lost so much weight. Then a miracle happened. Thursday I got up to check on her and she had her head up. She also drank a little bit. Friday, she was back to trying to stand, so for her safety, she had to be crated, 90% of the day, only coming out to eat, pee, and poop, which means, only eat, because she wasn't doing anything else at this point. Saturday, Landon's birthday, we got up, let her out, she ate, drank, and then peed and pooped all over herself. I gave her as good of a bath as I could in the utility sink, then mopped the mudroom floor (concrete thankfully) with bleach water. It was awful, but at the same time, wonderful. It was the first time she had gone potty in almost a week. Sunday, she was able to sit up, and was able to eat by herself. Previously I had to spoon feed her food. Monday she had a check up at the vet, and she was able to stand, very shakily. The vet said to keep doing what we were doing and to add a few range of motion exercises. Tuesday was much of the same with a little more energy. Wednesday she was walking. She was still falling every few feet.  Thursday was a little better than Wednesday. Friday was a big change, she was walking around the backyard and only falling a few times. Saturday, she had a fall back and was a little worse than Friday. And today? She is even better. She is completely walking, only staggering when she hunches over to poo or pee. Tomorrow, she sees the vet again. I'm hoping for an even better prognosis.

Then Wednesday (8/7), another bad thing happened. Alta had an appointment in St. Louis, so we left the house about 7 am. Drove up with no problems, went to her appointment, then took the kids to the Science Center. After the Center we went out to eat with some family, then started our drive home. About 45 minutes into the drive home, the van's steering wheel started shaking and acting wonky. Then at a stop light, we smelling smoke, so we pulled over as soon as we could to check it out. We popped the hood, and didn't see anything, but the smell was still there. Thank God we were across the street from a mechanic, so we drove it there, and they were kind enough to check it out even though it was almost closing time. They decided it was a frozen break. And we couldn't drive it home or it would catch on fire. In fact, it almost did. So they called Enterprise for us, and they brought us a car to use. We finished the drive home. The next morning they called and said it was worse than what they thought, the van needed new calipers, break lines, rotors, and pads. Whew. Talk about breaking the bank. The van was done that evening so my dad followed me there, helped me with the kids and we got in the van and came home.

Add all of this to the fact that Sam isn't home because he switched jobs, so during all of this I am by myself with the kids. It was such a rough week.

The bright spot, Landon turned 7 that Saturday (8/10). And we had a very small party for him at our house. He enjoyed being the star of the show for the day. And his cousins got to stay the night for even more fun.

That is what has been happening on the Homestead. Sam does get to come home on the weekends, but is gone during the week for the next 4 weeks (6 altogether). But this new job will better our lives. And is a job he can be proud of.

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