Today marks 2 weeks.....and it's the last day of the year. I guess there should be some irony in that somewhere. Two weeks since mom left this world to be with dad and God. My, my -- what a difference a day makes. This post could get lengthy -- maybe it's just me trying to get it all "out of my system" -- if you read it -- thanks. If not, that's okay, too.
It was no surprise to me that mom's health was declining. Dennis and I had talked about it a couple of months ago that she was getting a lot worse. I had even told a couple of my co-workers that I did not believe she would be here at Christmas. Wish that was one premonition that hadn't come true.
I was at my desk on Monday the 15th of December. A weird phone number came up on my cell phone -- I think from Ohio if I remember correctly. Thinking it was some telemarketer, I didn't answer. But they left a message. As I was listening and heard "This is Lifeline" our office phone was ringing -- they were calling me at work. Mom had fell and pushed her button. I told them to go ahead and send out an ambulance, all the while they were telling me I could wait until someone got out there. But I knew my mom. She has never pushed her button before, even in times when later she would tell me she should have. So if she pushed it -- she needed help and help now. Here I am -- trying to drive home from Russellville at school time no less. When I finally got there, she was already on the backboard getting ready to be loaded into the ambulance. I had called Glenda -- she and Bill were on their way to Florida. She gave me some of the greatest advice -- call and leave a message on your mom's answering machine. She will know you are coming! I am so glad I did that. Mom told me that she heard me and knew help was on the way.
A broken hip -- that seems to be the worst diagnosis an elderly person can ever get. Surgery would be scheduled the next day. Mom was in a semi-private room in Russellville. And so at first, I was going to go home and spend the night, come back early on Tuesday. But for some reason, I thought I should stay. I told mom I would go home and change clothes and be back -- she didn't argue -- first clue something was wrong.
A pretty uneventful night -- I didn't sleep but she and her roommate did -- lots of snoring between those two! But oh, what a beautiful sound! When she got up the next morning, she wasn't concerned about herself. She was concerned because Whit would graduate from Arkansas Tech on Saturday and she wouldn't get to go. She was concerned because her hair appointment was Friday with Pam and she wouldn't get to go.
As the day progressed, her condition deteriorated. She had so many health conditions fighting against her and her little body just couldn't take anymore. Decisions were made that night that I am still trying to come to terms with. For anyone who could ever say how easy it is to make the decision to "let someone go" -- well -- I'm wired differently than a lot of people I suppose. It was, and it still, one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I still question was it right -- was it the right time?? I believe in God -- I believe in miracles. If I believe God can take me to heaven, how do I convince myself that mom couldn't have had her own miracle???? Oh well, it's probably just my view -- and I don't know how to get over that part.
Her funeral was beautiful. Lots of flowers, lots of people, great food prepared by our church family. One of her quilts proudly displayed. Her jewelry on all the right fingers (trust me -- that was a harder task than we thought it would be!) She was serenaded by the Johnson Family - a music heritage that she belonged to. We played a couple of songs from their album and a song that was played at my dad's service that she loved. Rev. Earl Stapleton, a former pastor and friend to mom and dad had such beautiful words to say. And then our former pastor, Rev Jamie Burris who my mom thought was the best person to ever preach a funeral did amazing. He asked us for stories or things that he could include so it would be personal. I loved that. As most know, mom had a great LOVE for shopping. So one of my favorite parts of the message was when he said something along of the lines of mom already talking to Mary, Martha, maybe Esther asking "Where do you guys shop?" Perfection!
I am so thankful for a couple of weekends before she died. I called her on a Friday night to see if she would be up for a trip to Ft. Smith shopping. She really wasn't "up" for it, but she wasn't going to pass on the trip either. Jessica and Whitney went with us and we had the best day. We laughed, we shopped, we ate -- what we all love to do (well the girls do -- I'm the driver LOL) She picked out a dress at Dillards. it was beautiful. She didn't know then that the tags would not be removed until I took it to the funeral home. She looked beautiful in it. We had stopped at A to Z and picked out a spray for dad's grave for Christmas on the way home. It looks beautiful on the headstone for the both of them now.
On Sunday the 14th, something strange happened. Whit was at the house when we got home from church. "Let's go out to eat," she said. With us going to different churches and everyone being so busy, the 6 of us (Greg and Jess, Whit and Jeremy and me and Dennis) going out to eat is few and far between -- especially on a Sunday! I was changing clothes so Dennis called mom to see if she wanted to go -- we didn't go many places that we didn't ask her to go LOL At first she said no, but then when she realized the kids would be there, she said yes. I am so thankful that there were 7 at that table that day! A moment I will treasure.
Her house looks so quite now. Dennis or I one would always look outside before we went to bed to see if she was still up or in bed. I still look every night. I always checked to see if she was up on my way to work. I still look that way. I have picked up the phone to call her several times. I'm thankful I found a couple of voicemail messages she left on my cell phone -- those will not be erased.
I know that time will heal wounds, but right now, the wound is very deep and it hurts so bad. Dennis' parents are both gone, and now, so are mine. As we have talked -- we feel like orphans. I know there are plenty of aunts and uncles who will step in to try to feel the void as best they can -- and we SO appreciate that -- we love them all. But we also know it will never be the same.
So now, one year closes and a new year starts -- wow what a difference a day makes. I am still very much in the "one foot in front of the other" mode. We will continue to live, we will try to smile and eventually, hopefully, find some peace. I'm so thankful for what my mother taught me -- to love, to respect, to laugh, to smile. She taught me how to be a good wife, a GREAT mother (ask my kids LOL) and one day, if I take after her, I will be the BEST GRANDMOTHER in the world!
Thank you mom for all you did for me and for just being my mom! I love you!