Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Mother's Eyes


I was changing my desktop background at work with this photo- and something caught my attention-
my Mother's eyes.  I never noticed it before but if you look closely you can see around her eyes are red from crying- but they are happy tears.  This picture was taken the day we had a early surprise birthday party for her.  I made her favorite "pineapple upside down cake" and when she was outside playing with her grandson we managed to decorate and get everything ready without her knowing. She walked in and was shocked as we began to sing happy birthday.  She told me many times this was one of her favorite days.  She told me how much it meant to her for to go through all that trouble just for her.  This was in 2010 which was one year before she was diagnosed with lung cancer. 

It got me to thinking about her eyes and  how people used to tell me they could tell who my mother was by my eyes.  I always took that as a compliment.  I see more of her features every day when I look in the mirror- something I am very proud of.  I always thought my Mom was a natural beauty,  not many people can go around without make-up and look amazing- I know I can't!  My eyes are my favorite feature (not being conceited) and I have her to thank for that.

When I think of my Mother's eyes, she looked through her eyes of faith.  She inspired me so much because she never quit and never gave up.  She always believed in God's plan, even though it may not have been the plan she had in mind.  She had eyes of determination, with every treatment- with every doctor visit- she was determined that she was going to fight until she had no fight left.  She had eyes of love...when I came to visit,  the way she would look so excited and run to the door to give me a big hug - I miss those days.  She had eyes of compassion- anyone who knew her could attest to that.  She was the first one ready to help anyone in need whether she knew them or not.  Whether someone had a death in the family, a fire, or an illness, she would rummage through her closets for items to donate or cook up a big meal to take over.

 I miss my Mother's eyes.  I miss how she would look at me when I tried on something she bought for me. She would always say "that's so cute!" and then she would say "You are probably too old for "cute" but you will always be my baby girl."  I miss how she would smile and tear up when she was   proud of me.  I even miss her "look" when I knew I was in trouble (mostly when I was younger, she could stop me in my tracks with one look).  I miss how when she laughed her eyes smiled too.  I have heard a saying "The eyes are the window to the soul" and I believe that is so true.  Mom has a beautiful soul.

As a travel down this road I am finding ways to cope with my Mom's death.  What has helped me most is remembering.  Remembering her eyes, her voice, her smile and her hugs.  I lean on God during the tough days and remember the good times. I pray that the Lord will give me the courage and the wisdom to honor her memory and help others.  I hope people can see that I also have the compassion, love, determination and faith like my Mother does. 


Be Blessed!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Worst Day




Three years ago today, will go down as one of the worst days of my life.  It started out great - I was going out of town to train for my new job which I was excited about.  I was running around trying to get packed and I was thinking I would wait and call my Mom when I got to the airport. Mom had been having what the Dr. called anxiety attacks on and off due to stress.  She wouldn't leave my mind so I decided to give her a quick call just to see how she was doing.   We were talking on the phone and I was telling her how I was excited about my trip when she said "oh no- here it goes again"- and next thing I know all I hear is my Mom panicking and something hitting the phone.  I told her I would call my Dad and hung up.  I called my Dad's work and told them it was an emergency and for him to get home to my Mom ASAP.  Then I tried to call my Mom back and she wouldn't/couldn't answer the phone.  That is when I had my own panic attack!  I freaked out- called my brother and told him to get over to Mom's that something was really wrong.   I thought the worst- that she had a heart attack or stroke and died right then and there.

Finally after what seemed like eternity I got in touch with my Mom's neighbor who was with her.  The seizure had stopped and my Dad was on his way to drive her to the ER.   I was relieved- but then I had to leave to go to catch my flight.  How do you go on with your day after something like this happened?  Unfortunately I didn't have a choice and so with my Dad promising to call me the second he found out something I left for the airport.  Let me just tell you that was the longest 45 minute plane ride ever.

I made it to my hotel room hours later and  my phone rang.  It was my Mom- she sounded really out of it.  She said "are you sitting down?" and I told her " I am now"  And then she said the words that no one wants to hear.  "I have a tumor on my lung the size of an orange.  They are running more tests to see what else is going on".  She was so medicated that she said it with no emotion - she might as well told me she was going to the store.  At that moment- the world stopped spinning.  Time stood still and I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  No- not my MOM!  This happens to other people, not us!  And without her actually saying the words I knew....my Mom had cancer.

From that day forward- nothing was ever the same.  My happy world came crashing down and this evil disease called cancer invaded my life and slowly began to take my Mom away from me. She endured 23 rounds of radiation and 6 rounds of chemo because she wouldn't quit!  She fought long and hard and we made every moment count.  I made some of the best memories with my Mom in those last 18 months.  Cancer may have taken her life, but it never took her faith.  She made her peace with God and accepted what His plan was for her- that is an amazing thing!  Our favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11.  She believed it with her whole heart till the day God called her home. "For I KNOW the plans I have for you- says the Lord.  Plans to prosper you, and not harm you- to give you a hope and a future!" 

I miss her so much, and on days like today I would give anything for one of her hugs to tell me everything will be alright.  She always knew what to say to make me laugh or just feel better...no matter what.  She was my best friend and confidant- I could tell her anything.  If Mom was here today- she would tell you.... laugh every day, make sure people know how much you love them, and trust in God always.  I am doing my best to do just that...for her.

Be Blessed!









Monday, July 21, 2014

Time

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.

Be Blessed!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Holidays





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 :)






Be Blessed!

~Kristy
 


Friday, May 30, 2014

Pictures




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.



Be Blessed! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Another Test of Faith


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.


Be Blessed!



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mother's Day


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."

Love Always,

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.

Be Blessed!