Saturday, October 23, 2010


I think my ability to write may have deserted me tonight. Today was one of those days that just felt...slow. One of those days when I kept glancing at the clock all day long, each time surprised that only 5 minutes had passed since the last time I checked.

I never made it upstairs to bed last night. Again. I did catch a couple hours of sleep on the couch before the children woke up, but Micah got up a bit early today. My mom called bright and early, too, to tell me that she had a good night. I love her phone calls, even when they wake the kids. It makes me smile to know she is thinking of me.

Micah ate a good breakfast again...I think he loves to eat eggs. I keep wondering whether I should try getting "fancy" with the eggs...maybe fried eggs, or a bird's nest. I always end up keeping it simple...plain old scrambled eggs, with either an English muffin, cereal, or oatmeal. He usually likes a little fruit (either raisins or a banana) to top it off.

Our babysitter arrived at 9, and I spent most of the morning playing with Micah and trying to accomplish odds and sorting the mountain of laundry for Maya. Those hand-me-downs have been a mixed blessing...with all the clothes, it takes me forever to try and figure out what pieces go together and get it all organized. I still have pants that do not seem to belong with any of the tops, and vice versa. It will be wonderful to have new (and warm) outfits for Maya to wear...but I think those unmatched pieces are going to make me crazy! If history holds true, I will probably find the matched sets when it is time to pack them all up again.

I was late leaving for the hospital today. I just couldn't seem to get myself going. Maya was napping and I did not want to disturb her, but then she needed to nurse when I finally tried to move her into her car seat. As I left, DH was dealing with an hvac technician who was supposed to be replacing our thermostat under warranty. Unfortunately, the touch screen broke, so we can no longer adjust the temperature in our house. The air is stuck too high, and the heat too low, so it is always either too hot or too cold in the house. This has been going on for three weeks now, and I hit my limit of "waiting" for the warranty replacement. Suffice it to say...we did not get the warranty replacement done today...but DH did go out and buy a new thermostat at Home Depot and install it himself. I sure hope he did it correctly!

Mom was in great spirits today. Once again, we had requested a specific driver...Chanel. She has been so wonderful to us these past few days, and whenever we get her, she also waits with us so Mom can return to the nursing home faster. Chanel shared with us that, despite the fact she has been working, she has been homeless. She has 4 children, too, ranging from about 6 or 7 up to 17. She was thrilled to share with us that as of tomorrow, she will finally have a home again! She has been working with an organization who helped her out, and she had the biggest grin on her face as she described her new 4 bedroom home with beautiful wood floors. I couldn't help but smile along with her...I hope her new home is filled with happiness and that she and her children always has a roof over her head.

This journey we've been on has been incredible. We've met so many wonderful people...staff at the hospital, transport drivers like Chanel, nursing aides like Krystal, the woman with lung cancer undergoing treatment when my mom first started...who used to sit and chat with me every day while I waited for mom, and yesterday, the family with a daughter who had lymphoma. I never even asked their name, but this family touched me. Their daughter could not have been more than 10 or 12 years old, and there she stood, bald head, mask on her face, and a huge grin as she rang the bell! They were from out of state, and drove all the way down each week for treatment at the hospital. We talked about how when it rains, it pours...the father had a heart attack the previous week, and ended up in the hospital while his daughter was undergoing treatment. We connected as we talked about how it feels like everything bad keeps happening all at once. We talked about how we wished we could just stop everything else in our lives to focus on this for 6 weeks, because the juggling and balancing everything else like work and finances and commuting and children is just...too much sometimes. Though we only spoke for an instant, we bonded - in that moment, we just understood each other. I hope that their daughter's treatments were successful, and that she lives a long and cancer-free life.

We were back at the nursing home quite early (thanks to Chanel) - about 2:40! My father took off early, and I sat with my mom and Maya for a bit. She made some phone calls, she talked, and we did some planning. My mom decided she wanted to make a video for Maya - a beautiful message to her to tell her how much she loves her. Mom would like to make videos for all of us, but she struggles with what to say. I think that when the time is right, she will know.

My mom is a little anxious again about death. The Rabbi came by today to talk to her, and she has been fixating on things again. In her head, she thinks of death as being buried alive. I've already mentioned how much that disturbs me, and I have no idea when that thought started. I often wonder if that is the tumor and steroids talking or if she has always felt that way. It is like one minute she thinks of death as the body stopping...and the next minute she somehow thinks we will just bury her alive. She is worried about animals getting in, about sitting in the dark, about keeping warm and making sure her cell phone is working so she can call everyone.

I wish there was some way I could alleviate her fears. We talked a little about death again, and I told her that I just could not believe that death was like being trapped in darkness underground. I think that if you believe that life ends at death, then there is nothing. We simply cease to be, feel nothing, and the body slowly disappears. If you believe that we are more than our bodies, then it *has* to be that the body separates from the soul, and that the soul is free. It makes no sense to me that we could have a soul that continues on in some capacity...but gets trapped inside a feeling body. I think the point of having a soul that continues on is that it IS free - one with the universe, or in a heaven somewhere, or perhaps floating near family.

I'm not sure what I believe about the hereafter. I like the thought that our souls continue on in some capacity. There are moments when I've felt that my loved ones must be nearby. I think that even if I do not believe in souls continuing on in the literal sense of the word, I do believe that we continue on in others.

In one of my mother's posts, she said something about saying goodbye being like giving your memories away to your friends. I was not quite sure what she meant at the time, but I've been thinking about it. Maybe dying is like becoming a memory, and maybe the soul is just memories and feelings that live on in others. There is a Jewish prayer that we often recite when in mourning or observing yahrtzeit (the anniversary of a loved one's death). I won't publish it here today, mostly because today is no time for mourning. It talks about how we remember people we've lost during the simplest the rising of the sun, in the blowing of the wind, etc. My favorite line is "As long as we live, they too will live; for they are now a part of us, as we remember them." I like the idea of people we lose living on as a part of us...they feel no pain or fear, no cold or animals, but they are close to those of us who love them most and think of them often.

After our "heavy" day today, I left my mom on the early side - before 5:00. Mom was sleepy and ready to nap, so I decided to let the aide handle her dinner. Krystal was on the nursing home floor working when I left, so it was good to know she was around to help out if needed, too. I made it home by 6. DH and Micah went to services and a Shabbat dinner. I think the preschool was doing a Shabbat dinner, but I just did not have the energy to go. I managed to get Maya to sleep early tonight - before 9:00 pm in the pack and play! The pacifier seems to be the long as she can keep sucking, she is happy. I am hoping this is the beginning of a beautiful new pattern...and an earlier bedtime for Maya.

I'm off to bed. I have Maya's laundry from last week all folded and sorted (finally) and another load of my laundry ready for the dryer. I still have a third load of my clothing to do, a load of towels, and another load of the children's clothing from the past few days. I think I could spend forever doing laundry.

We've been told that mom has no therapy sessions this weekend, so Saturday will be quiet for Mom. On Sunday, there is a family brunch around 12, so we'll all be there with her for that.

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