Well I am easing my way back into the blogging world. For those of you who know me, you know I recently lost my mom to brain cancer on December 23rd. A misconception I had about terminal illnesses and deaths that were expected was that it would be easier to deal with knowing that it was coming. Well I am here to tell you that it is NOT any easier because for those months, days, hours leading up to it you really can't grasp the reality of it. It has been a rough few months but these last couple of weeks without her have by far been the hardest. To be honest, the past 18 months have been rough but there was a pretty long stretch there in the middle where things seemed to be almost back to normal. We were able to spend some real quality time together after her diagnosis back in June 2010, unfortunately any amount of time seems insignificantly too short right now. The thing I am most grateful for is that she was there when Eli was born and got to spend 6 months with him. I do not know how I would have made it through the labor without her…she stayed by my side throughout the night without any sleep, rubbing my shoulders, getting me drinks of water and then emphatically telling me “NOT TO PUSH” when I was begging that I was ready but the doctors were telling me to wait. She did all of this while on chemo and did not complain a single bit…but that is how she was…everyone else came first.
I will never forget lying in the bed at the hospital after Eli was born with her in the chair next to me holding Eli as he slept on his first day of life. I remember jokingly telling her to get it all in now because Debbie (my mother in law) would be there shortly and she may never get to hold the baby again (those that know my mother in law, know how excited she was and still is to get her hands on Eli). My mother just sat there and slowly rocked Eli staring upon his sweet little face and began to cry as she told him that she may only get to hold him for a short amount of time…my joking comment was all too real to her.
The thing about my mother is that those sad moments were very rare…even when the future was very grim. She didn’t want us to sit around and be sad all the time; she wanted life to continue and not to be focused around her being sick. This was very apparent when my mother was told that the tumor was growing again back in April of 2011; the weekend before my baby shower at her house. She was devastated when she found out and the next day she made a phone call to me that I will never forget. She was positive she would not live 2 more months (she ended up making it 8 more months) and she cried on the phone with me as she told me she didn’t think she would make it to Stacey’s wedding and that she was so grateful to have spent 10 wonderful years with Chase but that she was very worried about how difficult this was going to be on him. I reassured her that this was the reason that God put Chase in our lives with Stacey and me so much older…so we could help take care of him after she was gone. We talked on the phone for almost an hour and at the end of the conversation she said “Ok, well we aren’t going to talk about this again and we are going to spend this weekend at your baby shower as if nothing were wrong. This baby shower is about you and I want everyone to have a good time.” I halfheartedly agreed and the moment I got home shared an extra long hug with her but never spoke of it again. That weekend will always be etched into my memory as a great weekend.
So now that she is gone, there are times when I feel like I will always be sad. Every object around me reminds me of something about her and at any given moment I can burst into tears. There is this huge disconnect for me. In my mind I picture her in perfect health, beauty and youth and in reality she is gone. What I try to remember though, is that my mother wanted life to go on. She did not want us to sit around and be sad the weekend of my baby shower and she does not want us to sit around and be sad now. She would want us to come together and support each other as a family and to keep moving forward. I know that she is in heaven looking down on us, guiding us in every step that we take. I am still struggling to not be sad when I think of her but it helps to think of how she handled everything. She would not want us to miss what is going on around us now because we were too caught up thinking about how it used to be.
And on that note, here are some pictures from Eli’s first Christmas…