I wasn’t exactly sure of how or where I wanted to get my thoughts out, but I have a few things to say…so I thought I’d dust off the cobwebs of this blog and go from there.
This subject matter is heavy. It’s a little too lengthy and far to sensitive to just blast your Facebook wall with, so I am putting it here: on a platform that was our business together. I am warning you now. If you do not want to read about the loss of my mother and brother, close this tab now.
For those of you still with me. Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to get my truth out. If you’ve known me for awhile, you may remember blogging used to be a huge part of my life. I have archived my personal/craft/DIY blog now, but for years I allowed the world a glimpse into our day-to-day. Sometimes it got serious, but mostly it was a way for me to connect with other adults and share what I was passionate about. I’m a big believer in sharing.
Since honesty came very hard in my early life, I have found that the truth pendulum has swung very far in the other direction in adulthood. Read that to mean: I am honest to a fault at times. It’s therapeutic for me. Freeing, actually. Over the past 2 years, I feel like I’ve been choking down my feelings, and this is my attempt at letting them out.
The hard facts of it all. The day after my birthday. September 22, 2016 our oldest daughter experienced a cluster of clonic-tonic seizures that nearly took her life. This day, at the time, was the worst day of my life. Oh, how wrong I was. We spent 2 days in the hospital with her while she recovered. I am not diminishing this event….it just happens to be smaller in retrospect because, she is okay now. I had called my mom immediately to have her come and help with our 3 younger children while we were taking care of our ailing child….she came in a flash. She tended to me, my husband, and to the children, as she always did: wholeheartedly and without questions. What I hadn’t known at the time, my mom had gotten a call only 1 hour earlier than my frantic call for help. Her call was regarding a biopsy…it was positive for cancer. This information, she only shared with us when we got home from the hospital with our daughter. Over the next few weeks, we would see her through surgery, a Stage 3 diagnosis, scans, blood work, and the scheduling of chemotherapy treatments. Much of this process was, however, veiled in secrecy.
October 19, 2016. Not even one month later. Our oldest brother, Matt, would fall asleep and wake up in the arms of Jesus. Hardest, most painful day of my life. There might come a day when I can string words together to explain this pain. That day has not yet come. I just can’t.
I will say this: if you have multiple children, do you feel your heart and love multiply? You can have this extreme, all-encompassing love for each one. And each one is so unique and different….but your love for each is so fierce! Guess what I found out? You can also have extreme, all-encompassing GRIEF and heartache for more than one person….at the same time….and each is unique…and fierce….and overwhelming.
All through this time, through the services, grieving, trauma, and loss, the year of 1st without our brother (my mom’s firstborn)…my sister and I tried to be there for our mom. We tried. I pray she let her husband in more than she did us. Either she was trying to protect us, she was in denial, or had an unworldly optimism…..I think it probably was a combination of all three. She was constantly positive. We watched her get treatment and fight the cancer for one year. The last week….and the last few days….everything went downhill extremely fast. She never once talked of death. She didn’t ever say goodbye. We never got to “prepare”. Is that even really a thing? I can tell you everything she said to me in that last day. She was worried I wasn’t getting enough sleep for work that night. She assured us that if she got a little rest, she’d feel better in the morning. We exchanged “I love you“s multiple times. (I guess that’s easier to say) I can tell you, it’s a terrible thing to sit with someone you love while their body is failing them. I couldn’t speak very much, so I played her music that said what I wanted to say.
In the early morning hours of October 12, 2017, we held her hands as she breathed her last earthly breath. We rejoice in knowing she is pain-free and with her Lord and Savior in heaven.
But, as I have to often comfort our children as they break into tears. (It’s true what they say: grief comes in waves. It’s unexpected and random) It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to miss them. I do too. More than I could possibly describe.
Regarding my mother: I can only say this because we didn’t always have a fabulous relationship. In fact, there were periods in my life that I didn’t see or speak to my mom for months. That all changed when I became a mother. At first, it was for the children. We wanted our kids to have a better,happier life than we had. Past failures didn’t apply. Our children came first, and they would have grandparents in their lives…and love them…and be loved. But motherhood did something else too. Becoming a mother gave me a whole new perspective on all mothers. (especially my own) It’s a club. It’s a sisterhood. Only once you’re in it you’ll understand. A mother’s love is a crazy, indescribable thing. I forgave my mom for a lifetime of wrongs….because, in my adulthood, I could see she loved me. (yes, and she obviously forgave me for my part….probably much sooner than I realize) She loved all of us. She was our mom. And, if you have children, you will understand. No one on this earth will ever love you like your mom.
And I miss mine.
I miss her more in the everyday moments than “important dates”. I miss sharing the triumphs and struggles of our family with her. I miss the compliments and praises that a mother lavishes on her children and grandchildren. I miss the extra love our kiddos got because it was grandma. I miss the guilt-free babysitting that came with clean dishes and laundry. I miss her taking over a sewing project I messed up because I got too frustrated to fix it. I miss just babbling my troubles while she just listened. I miss sleep. I miss her singing extra loudly to her favorite hymns……and I won’t even get into the moments that break our children down into tears, because, well, I’ve cried enough writing this blog. They talk about her constantly. I miss all of those “remember when Grandma” moments the most.
Hug your mother. Hug your children. Tell them you love them one extra time today.
Say a prayer for those who have had to say goodbye to one.