Tag: memories

I can and I will

How God exceeds our expectations

(You are reading this post on Monday, May 15.  I’m writing it on Friday, May 12.)

My mom passed away yesterday and I haven’t stopped crying. I just know I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning and instead of a funeral to attend I am going to go over and have some morning coffee with her. I have to imagine that if I’m going to sleep tonight.

I’m going to share this grieving process on and off for the next few days and then I’m done except for the occasional reference.

When this journey with my mom began escalating last October, I prayed for three things.

First of all, wisdom. If I told you all the decisions I’ve made along the way you wouldn’t believe it. I look back and feel good because I believe I made all the right decisions. There were big ones like taking her out of rehab at a nursing home and bringing her home. It was a disastrous experience. We had no intention of letting her stay there anyway but another day would have completely put her over the edge. Within a few days, she was back to where she had been before we took her in.

There were little ones like….Come to think of it, they were no little decisions.

Secondly, I prayed we’d be able to keep her at home until the end. My brother and I had a few moments when we thought we might not be able to accomplish it, but, by golly we did. My brother lives with her so up until a couple of months before her death, he was able to handle the evenings. Then it came to a point where I felt he needed to sleep better so I hired nighttime help. Eventually, she had round-the-clock care except for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the late afternoon.

After my mom died and we could finally quit crying, my brother and I hugged, and said, “We did it,”

Third, I wanted to be there when she breathed her last breath. Maybe I should have re-thought that one. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I did it for her. My husband and I slept at my mom’s last week because I just had a hunch that things would move fast. They did.  If we’d spent the nights in our own home, we would never have made it on time. I should add here that my husband considered my mom his mom. They truly loved each other.

So all three prayers were answered but God took it a step further and blessed me in unexpected ways.

  • As my niece and I were bathing my mom, she opened both her eyes and made contact with me. It had been days since she had opened her eyes. I was the last person she saw before she died.

 

  • It turned out that she died shortly after that which meant that the Hospice didn’t need to bathe her which they usually do. I and my niece prepared her body. Do you know how good that makes me feel do know that a stranger didn’t have to it? I massaged her frail little body with lotion and I like to believe she felt it.

I went to the Funeral Home website and there were pictures of two other women who died last week. They were older as well. While I grieve my loss, their children are grieving their loss. While this is my mother and my pain, I know I’m not alone.  It was a reminder to me that other people lost their mothers this week. I share their grief.

Earlier today, we ordered some sandwich trays today at our local grocer and the woman waiting on us asked us what occasion we ordering for.  In the course of our conversation, she told me she had lost her mother a few years back and then her son. She told me I was strong and that, like her, I would get through this. Her words were particularly comforting. She “got” my tears.

I hope she’s right because I seriously question how I’m going to get through this. But I would imagine I’m not the first person to feel this way.

My grandson asked me last week how I was doing. I told him I’m pretty much crying all the time. I told him that’s what grieving looks like, that I’m supposed to cry.

Having just now thought of that conversation, I guess I am going to get through this.

I hope your day goes well and God bless you.

(Obviously, I won’t be posting for a couple of days but I may schedule some older posts.)

 

 

 

 

How to describe something so tender and yet heartbreaking

I don’t hardly know where to begin.

How do I describe something so tender and meaningful and yet so heartbreaking?

Or even should I?

Should I keep it wrapped up like a present open it later for all of you to share?

I asked myself all these questions before I wrote this post because this is a hard post to write.

Yesterday was an Easter I will never forget.

My mom is getting worse all the time. She cannot feed herself. She’s sleeping more. She is becoming dehydrated.

Yesterday wasn’t really planned but as everyone learned how bad she was, it all just came together. Every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild was at her home yesterday. We all pitched in and brought the ham, sweet potatoes, cheesy potatoes, salads, and of course more desserts than necessary.

I took pictures of everyone with my mom. I would share them with you but my mom is a proud woman and she would never want a picture of her in her present condition all over the internet. I will honor that. Here’s what she looked liked in her twenties. Look at that hair.

But here was the hard part. We all knew that this was almost certainly our last time together with her in her home. I would catch teary-eyed faces unawares on everyone’s face at one point or another. I often had to go to another room to have a good cry as I knew how bittersweet these moments were.

Incredibly, a woman who can’t remember what is said one minute earlier, remembers the whole event. This is the first time this has happened in months. But that’s what love does. It invades our deepest soul and lives there forever. When I think about God’s love for me throughout this period of grief  (I swear, I have been grieving for months.), I feel that same miraculous love at a time when I should be falling apart.

There have been so many loose ends to tie up. We’ve had to find and organize all her finances, her insurance papers, her funeral home arrangements (already paid for years ago), schedule the caregivers round the clock and keep it all straight. My mind is on overload and yet I am at peace.

But here’s the really hard part and I’m crying as I write this because it so impacted me at the time.  I don’t even know if anyone but me heard it.

As people were leaving, my mom, who hasn’t spoken a full sentence in days, found the strength to wave her hand good-bye while saying, “Bye, everyone.” Do I have to explain why that was so poignant?

Was she just saying good-bye for this occasion or was she really saying “Good-bye.” I will never know but I will never forget the look of love on her face when she said it. Dear God, this watching someone die is hard.

God bless and have a good day. I just can’t write anymore although I had a lot more to say. I want to go visit my mom now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mom 2016

Why you need to think now about making memories

Wow. Did you get snow over the weekend? We did.

A lot.

Hubby and I have wanted a “snow day” for a couple of years. You know, a day when you don’t have to go anywhere. A day you can bake cookies and enjoy the beautiful falling snow. A day to listen to Christmas songs and drink hot chocolate.

NOT.

We were both under the weather. I think I might have a slight case of the shingles. Thank goodness, it’s not too bad. So instead of the picturesque day I had planned, I laid on the sofa most of the day.

I hate days like that, don’t you?

That means I’m behind today. But I have my list ready and I’m rarin’ to go.

I can’t wait to show you my “hat and scarf” project. I’ve been making knitting and sewing scarves for a number of years now for our local rescue mission. Some people make blankets (I think they’re called “snoopy” blankets. The charity is called, “Project Linus. You can learn about it here. 

Some people make adorable pillowcase dresses for little girls in Africa. I’m only one of any number of people who like to do something a little “extra” at Christmas.

I don’t usually start until the fall. I mean who knits when the temperature is over eighty? It’s a little self-indulgent because I love to try different kinds of yarn. Plus, it’s a little self-indulgent because I love to try different types and colors of yarn. And it gives me lots of time to practice new patterns. I’ll show them to you next week.

But today I want to tell you about the time with my mom last week.

We baked chocolate chip cookies. I had the dough ready and she “plopped” them on the pan. She did great.

mom baking cookies

My mom used to sew a lot. She was really good. I wanted to include her this year with some sort of project she could feel good about. So while it wasn’t a “sewing” project in the true sense of the word, it did involve scissors and fabric.

I bought some fleece for men’s scarves, the no-sew kind. The width of the finished scarf will be about ten inches but I had a hunch she might not be able to cut a straight line due to her vision, even though I selected a checked pattern so there would be lines to follow. So here’s what I did.

I marked the places where she would begin cutting and I made them one check wider than what they should be. She cut straighter than I thought but the scarves are still uneven. So-o-o-o-, because I had allowed for that extra width, I will be able to trim them evenly. She will think, as will the recipients, that she did it herself.

mom cutting fabric

The fact that she was able to take part in something this Christmas is important.  It’s so easy to just let things slide with people who have some restrictions, to let them stay where they are. But I think that’s wrong. I believe God calls us to us to think outside the lines.

Anyway, if nothing else, it gave me another Christmas memory that I’ll bet next year at this time, I will be grateful for. For me, it’s about making Christmas memories with her for one more time.

I think most of us don’t think about the memories we make every day and how important it is to “plan” for these memories. Ask yourself:

  • Next year, at this time, what do I want to remember?
  • How do I plan to make those memories?
  • What can I do today to create those memories?

We read a lot about being present in the moment and I DO think that’s really important. But I think we can be in the moment when we need to be, while still making memories for the future.

Memories are time-sensitive. Christmas 2016 will never come around again. 

Plan on making some good ones for this year. You have almost two weeks left.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

 

 

 

cooking making

Making good memories even when we’re sad

I’m feeling a little sad today.

I am a follower of Christ and I believe in praying in faith and confidence that God answers prayer.

But let’s be clear. People get sick. People die. Circumstances change.  In other words:

Life goes on. Life changes.

My granddaughter and I are baking cookies with my mom today.

Christmas cookies

I will have a hard time choking back the tears, because I’m almost certain I won’t be baking cookies with her in her own home next year. That  would be a miracle and I pray every day for exactly that. But recent events almost certainly guarantee this won’t happen.

I’m not being pessimistic. I’m not not showing faith.

It isn’t faith to ignore reality. Faith is praying in the reality that surrounds us while clinging to the fact that God can exceed our wildest requests. It can seem like an oxymoron at times.

Of course, there are times we pray outside what we see. I do it all the time. I pray that God will do what seems impossible. And he often has.

But my mom leaves me more every day. Can I be frank and say that sometimes I don’t want to visit her because it’s such a vivid reminder of how much I’ve already lost.

I know there are many of you that find Christmas hard. This year, I do, too.

But I will bake cookies and take pictures today and try to carve this time into my memory forever. I will be grateful I still have a mom to worry about. So many of you don’t. I will be grateful that my faith is being stretched to the max these days (not to mention every other part of me.)

So I’m thinking of all of you today for whom Christmas means sadness as well as the gladness. But remember, no matter how sad a time it is for you, peace can be yours because of the sacrifice God made my bringing his son to earth.

For me, the message of Christmas is all about peace, joy, and hope.  We can be sad and still have peace. We can be sad and still have joy. We can be sad and still have hope.

God bless and have a good day.

 

Can we rewrite our memories?

Today I’m thankful for yesterdays. Not all yesterdays. Just like all tomorrows won’t necessarily be something to be thankful for, not all yesterdays are either. But at least tomorrows hold promise. Yesterdays only hold memories. We can’t rewrite memories. Or can we?

yesterday

Our past is our past: the facts of it, but not necessarily our interpretations of it.

I’ve looked back on a lot of my yesterdays, even the ones I’d rather forget, and have come to understand their contribution to making me who I am.  Without my yesterdays I wouldn’t have hope that I could handle my tomorrows.

For the most part, yesterdays hold no surprises. But we’ve all had those moments when someone or something opens a window to a past memory. 

Sometimes  we react to a person or a remark and we don’t know what triggered it. If we examined those reactions we would no doubt uncover a past experience as its source. There is a certain word that when I hear it, it catapults me back many years. Whether it’s in a movie, a book or a conversation, it takes me back to an experience as a teen-ager. The years have softened the “sting” of that word but it still unnerves me. I’ve never uttered the word myself. 

yesterday's feelings

Memories are called memories for a reason, they’re in the past. I’ve learned to “neutralize” the very hurtful ones. Yesterdays only have power over us if we allow it.

yesterdays

We can never fully understand anyone else’s yesterdays. We all have some painful yesterdays but we also have hope for our tomorrows. If your yesterdays include periods of depression or if you’re worried that your tomorrows might, remember you got through it then and you will again. Don’t be afraid to look back and gain strength from the past. 

Depression quite often gets a foothold because we’ve let the past fester.  

hope for tomorrow

hope for tomorrow

Today will be your yesterday soon enough so make today count.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

 

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