So I am sure most everyone is aware of the app TimeHop. Its where every day you can go look at your posts/pictures from the previous years on facebook. I love to go back and look at the pictures of my son and see what I was up to that day.
This one however-- July 21st, will be one of the dates that will be engraved in my memory- probably forever.
I was at home and getting ready for Mom and Shelbi to come visit. We were so excited because Mom was going to rent a car and they were going to come stay a week- they were coming the next day. The phone rang, and I figured it was Mom telling me she was coming early - or we were going to chat about her visit. I was wrong. It was my brother, in a panic, telling me that Mom was having a seizure and he didn't know what to do. They had called 911 and were waiting for the ambulance. I heard the whole thing. I could hear the fear in my Mom's voice- "Oh God I don't want to die, please don't let me die!" So I was screaming into the phone- "MOM you are not going to die!!!"- and I began to pray (screaming) for God to take away the seizure, to calm Mom and to give her His Peace.
We I arrived at the hospital, I was told that she had swelling on the brain and they needed to give her meds to bring it down. She had just stopped taking her seizure medicine a couple of weeks before so she could drive. She hadn't had a seizure in almost a year and she got the all clear from her doctor. It turned out to be a blessing, because if she wouldn't have had the seizure, then we never would have known..... I was so scared, and in my heart I knew before the doctors told us- the cancer was back. I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut when I heard the words.
She had just been declared NED (no evidence of disease) four months earlier...it wasn't fair! How did the cancer come back so fast??? God had healed her....how could this happen??? This was another time that I really had to lean on God. It could have been really easy for me to get angry, and lose sight of the fact that God is always in control. At the time it felt like a punishment- but looking back now it all makes sense.
God gave me time with her. He gave us a warning that most people do not get. This was a wake up call that everything was not okay, and even though I didn't know when, I felt I was going to lose her. I wouldn't admit that out loud, and to hear me talk she was going to be just fine. I went back to visiting her as much as I could, and made every visit count. She went to Heaven eight months later.
As crazy as it sounds, I feel fortunate that things happened the way they did. If Mom wouldn't have had the seizure, then we never would have known the cancer had come back. I probably would have went back to the holiday only visits, and would have missed out on some of the most special moments of my life. The simple thing like just sitting there holding her hand, scrapbooking, taking care of her and of course- the mani/pedis. I took every opportunity to love on her and do what she wanted to do.
So I can look at this day as one of the worst days, or I can choose to think about it in the positive light. This was the day that God nudged me, and gave me an opportunity to make my time count with Mom, and for that I am thankful.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Monday, July 7, 2014
I didn't realize it has been a month since I have posted!-- It just goes to show you how busy summertime really is. Between weddings and traveling- this summer is flying by! This weekend I was able to spend time with family at the lake. I had a great time and it was nice to get away. I was telling a family member how grateful I was to have a new tradition to replace Mom's tradition for this holiday. One of the toughest things about losing your Mom is having to create new traditions to replace the old ones you realize you probably took for granted.
The Fourth of July was one of Mom's favorite holidays next to Christmas. As often as she could, she would invite family and friends over to grill out and watch fireworks. She loved getting everyone together and was the best hostest- always making sure everyone had their drinks and plates and was buzzing around laughing and joking with everyone. She loved taking pictures and was her happiest when she was surrounded by family and friends. It was also one of the times every year that we went to visit. Believe it or not before she got sick I only saw her two-three times a year.
A few years ago- she bought my son a slip n slide and had it out when we arrived. Since my son didn't know what to do- it was only natural that my Mom show him how its done! Me, Mom and Shelbi spent the whole day on that slip and slide. I am sure it was a pretty funny sight to see a 32 yr old and a 40 something year old running back and forth- belly busting and cracking up the whole time! The next day Mom and I could barely move we were so sore but both agreed it was worth it. :) We videod the whole thing and even though it is hard to watch without tearing up- it makes me laugh so hard. She was so much fun!
I am totally a kid at heart- I am the first one to vote to watch fireworks and I know exactly where I got it from. Mom loved fireworks- and as I was watching them this year I thought to myself- "Mom, you have the best seat in the house- I hope you love it as much as I do" and I snapped some photos.
This one- I was told by my friend Jenney- has an angel in the bottom right corner, and I smiled because I believe she is right :)
Friday, May 30, 2014
Every day we are so overloaded with pictures. I am guilty of it myself- I find myself snapping photos of my son, of my food, the sky- of just about anything! Its funny- I have so many thousands of "snapshots" that at the moment were seemingly pointless. But I'm beginning to realize they are not pointless- because someday the person in the photos may no longer be with us. I am so thankful that my Mom loved taking pictures- at least in her later years. She didn't care how silly she looked with the crazy party hat or cake on her face- she indulged my love of chasing people with a camera.
When she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer and the radiation and chemo caused her to start losing her hair, many of her friends brought her cute hats and scarves to wear. I did a "photo shoot" with her- and I am so glad I did. I have so many pictures that truly show her personality and her quirky humor. I have pictures of her with my son, with me, with family, that I will treasure always. I captured her cancer journey through photos- and in her last days took a photo of us holding hands so I could keep it forever.
My point? Don't stop taking pictures. When you have family gatherings- take snapshots and selfies (yes I said it) and get everyone together for a group picture. Overcome the groans with a smile- because even though people say they don't want to be in a picture- trust you me when they look back on them five, ten, or twenty years later they will be thankful for that memory. In this day and age it is easier than ever to capture a memory- just don't forget to keep that memory by printing your photos and/or saving to a hard drive for safe keeping.
Take pictures- make memories- we are not promised tomorrow.
Friday, May 23, 2014
If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? Luke 12:26-28
Not what we want to hear...right? But yet here I am....with another test. I will not go into details at the moment, but it definitely is going to be something that I will have to lean on God for. I will have to trust Him that there is a reason for this. I will have to believe that no matter how minor this may seem to someone else- that God knows it means the world to me and is breaking my heart. I know there are many many people dealing with worse things, but I also know that God counts the hairs on my head- so he cares about everything that his children care about. I will have to believe that God will give me the wisdom to make the right decisions. Sometimes I want to say- enough already! Can we please have a break! God knows the beginning and the end- it is not my job to figure it out, only to trust in his timing and purpose.
More than anything, I want my Mom right now. I look at her picture and just wish she could talk to me. I want her to tell me that everything is going to be fine, and that God has equipped me to handle this. I want her to put her arms around me and tell me that she is proud of me and I am doing a great job. I want so badly to hear her say- "I love you Baby Girl." Would that make it all go away? Of course not, but it sure would make me feel better.
Maybe you are going through a trial you do not understand. In times of trials I always go back to my favorite bible verse. Jeremiah 29:11. I have stood on that verse many days and will continue.
The test will become a testimony one day. I can feel it.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Ahhh yes, Mother's Day. In the weeks leading up to Mothers day the stores are overflowing with candy, cards, flowers and teddy bears. For most, it is a day that is looked forward to- the one day of the year where Mom's everywhere are told not to cook or clean- and most times are lavished on for the day. Flowers are received, homemade gifts from children are oooohed and ahhhed over. It is a wonderful day.
For others- it is a sad reminder that they have no mother or wife to buy a gift for this year or any year from now on. It is a day to reflect on the wonderful woman gone too soon. A day to think of all the wonderful memories and special times you had, to look at pictures and think. It is also a sad reminder for those who have babies in Heaven. A day that we wish we could skip most of the time. A day to fight through and make every effort to be happy and enjoy the day- even though it may take everything you have.
My Mom always made Mother's day special for ME. Yes- for me. When I became a Mother- every year like clockwork she would send me a card and something special in the mail. We would laugh because every year it was the same thing. "Um, I got you a Mother's day gift but its going to be late..." She would say- "same here!". Very rarely did we ever give or receive gifts on time- it was a joke to us- we were just fashionably late gift givers :)
This will be my 2nd Mother's Day without my Mom. I thought I was doing pretty good until I was watching TV last night and saw where people were being interviewed about what they loved most about their Moms. It was touching and heart wrenching at the same time. They were telling their Mom's thank you for everything- and most of their Mom's were in the audience alive and well.
Even though she is not here physically, I see it fit to tell her how I feel on this Mother's Day week and would like to share.
"Mom, I want to tell you how much I love you and miss you. You have always been there for me- fought for me and supported me. I am the woman I am today because of you. You taught me to love everyone and judge no one. You taught me that family is everything and real friends are forever. You taught me to love myself and to fight for what I believe in. You are beautiful inside and out and I thank God I was able to spend 34 years with you. I would give anything to hug your neck again but we know that will come some day. Thank you for the butterflies and ladybugs- I know that is you."
Your Baby Girl
I wanted to do something special- so I planted a memorial garden in my backyard last weekend in honor of my Mom. Whether you have lost your Mom recently or years ago- I encourage you to do something that you and/or your Mom would enjoy this Mother's Day. If you are a Mom, remember this is your day too. Be kind to yourself- its ok to be sad and miss her but allow yourself to enjoy your family and "your" day.
It will be difficult but we will survive another Motherless Day.
Friday, April 25, 2014
So today is the day that every month I dread. The 25th... every month like clockwork I am more emotional, irritable, and sad on the days leading up to this day. I try to tell myself that I need to be happy, and that I have so much to be happy for- which I do. But I also have to give myself a break. Grief has no timeline. I can go weeks and feel fine and then all of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. That is how grief works...
We are going through the motions after my son's eye surgeries- getting check ups and making sure that everything is on point. I had "one of those days" and I broke down and just said out loud- "I want my MOM!" and just sobbed and sobbed. Luckily a facebook post caused my dear friend to reach out to me because she knew something was wrong. I was thankful for our talk- but she understood that in that moment, I just wanted to hear my Mom say- "you are doing a great job, and its going to be ok!" She always knew just the right thing to say to make me feel better.
I am sure I am not alone in this- and I know that God understands that I am going to have those days. The good thing about it all- is I don't stay that way. I get it out of my system, usually have a good cry, and then I feel better. I pray and believe for God to continue to pour His Peace into my life.
This truly is a journey. I have learned so many things that I feel will change my life forever.
This is my top 10 list of things I have learned....
1. Mom's really are the "glue" that holds the family together.
2. We take advantage of the little things- a text, an average everyday phone call - and don't realize the value until we no longer have it.
3. Enjoy each day- it sounds so cliche- but every day is truly a gift. We are not promised tomorrow.
4. I am a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.
5. Sometimes death brings people closer- and most times it pushes them further away.
6. God allows visits from Heaven through dreams. (my favorite)
7. Friends are God's way of taking care of us :) (not my quote)
8. Wearing my Mom's clothes make me feel closer to her (may be silly but it works for me)
9. It's ok to cry and be sad for as long as I need to - its normal and I am not alone.
10. Talking about my Mom makes me feel better.
I have good days and bad days- even over a year later. On my bad days, you can almost bet that you will see me in my Mom's boots and sweater, t-shirt or carrying her purse. If you are grieving, do what makes you feel better. Find someone who will listen to you talk about your loved one- that is all they have to do - LISTEN. When I talk about my Mom often it is about her LIFE- not her death. At this point in my journey, I talk about my Mom all the time- to anyone and everyone who will listen. I think if nothing else, talking about your loved one is the best therapy you can receive.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
I heard a quote last week that really touched me.....
"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle,
or the mirror that reflects it." ~Edith Wharton
What an awesome thought- I was thinking about this and then it hit me... my Mom is the candle and I am supposed to be the mirror that reflects the light! I have heard so many people say that my Mom's story has touched them in some way. I have had many people tell me she was such an inspiration and a blessing to them. I personally know two people that have quit smoking partly because my Mom had lung cancer - so I feel my Mom helped save two lives as well.
I want to spread awareness- so people will realize that ANYONE can get lung cancer. I want people to realize that if they have any kind of pain or sickness they need to go get checked out! My Mom's started with lower back pain, and the just thought she was getting old (her words) at 49 yrs old. She had a bad cough- but she was a smoker...so cough comes with the territory. I want to shake people when I see them smoking, show them a picture of my Mom in 2011 and then in 2013 and say- are you sure you want to put that cigarette in your mouth!? I don't want to do it out of judgement, but out of love. Lung cancer does not get that much attention, as it was once told to me- because their are not many survivors/advocates. I could share so many scary statistics but I will save that for another day.
Since I would probably go to jail for shaking people- :) I joined the committee for the first Lung Love Walk with the Lung cancer Alliance in Houston that will be happening in November of this year. It makes me feel good to know that I am working to raise awareness and support.
This is an opportunity to shine the spot light on lung cancer awareness. This is my way of being the mirror and moving forward- I will participate in the planning as well as the walk itself. Honoring my Mom's memory is just another step in my grief process and my "new normal" life.
I will be sharing more details about the walk in the near future -for now I ask that you pray for me in the coming months that I will be the mirror and that our walk will be a huge success and make Mom proud!