Sunday, November 14, 2010


My mom's illness has taught us all so many things. We've dealt with the frustrations and idiocy of "the system" - insurance companies, and protocols, and rules and regulations that fail to consider the patient. We've had to battle to allow Mom to see her grandchildren, and fight to allow her the dignity of using the commode, and fight to have her pain addressed.

We've also learned about kindness and generosity, and we've learned that life is precious. We've experienced kindness from so many along the way...the staff at the hospital, the strangers we met waiting in the lobbies, the lady who randomly gave me an outfit for Maya that she had laying around, and from so many friends and family. We've depended on the generosity of so many - lifelong friends and family, those we haven't seen in years, and people who have recently entered (or re-entered) our lives - for food, for support, for their time, for their assistance with our children, and for their companionship, morale support and visits.

All of this has forever changed us - it has taught me to be kinder and more considerate of others, to never pass up an opportunity to offer solace and support. It has taught us to value every moment, and consider each day a precious gift of time. It has taught me that you never know when the last time your "normal" will suddenly be a thing of the past.

Today, Mom and I were talking about making amends. Some people make amends because it is a step in the recovery/healing process. My Mom is thinking about amends as part of the dying process. She has apologies she wants to make, regrets she wants to settle, and hurt she wants to express. In her head, she is making that list...and trying to figure out how to tackle each item. Some days, she has the best of intentions...but she has difficulty finding the words.

As I've sat down to write tonight, the words from the Tim McGraw song "Live Like You Were Dying" keep popping into my it possible to live each day as if you were dying? To live it to the fullest, without regrets? Is it possible to make amends now, before we have any reason to worry about running out of time to say what we need to say? Amends are a challenge...even when you know you are running out of time. As I examine my life, I wonder what my regret list will be...

The entire house slept in this morning. After Mom's 1:30 wake up, she did not move a muscle until 8:30! I was the first one awake in the house. I got up, unlocked the door for Krystal, started preparing breakfasts, and waited for everyone to wake up. Almost precisely at 8:30, the house started to wake up. I gave my Mom her morning meds, Krystal arrived, and Micah and Maya greeted the morning. My father helped get both children out of bed this morning. After getting breakfast on the table for Mom and Micah, I nursed Maya.

We had a lazy morning...breakfast, snuggle time, tv time. After breakfast, Mom went back to her room to get ready for the day, and I did some cleaning. DH woke up and he decided to take Maya with him to services. Micah stayed here...and watched Sesame Street.

My mother's manicurist arrived right at 11:00, bringing egg rolls! My mom has been so excited for these egg rolls. She gobbled up 3 or 4 almost immediately. My mom got a manicure and a pedicure first, and caught up with her. By 12:00, I was working on giving Micah lunch. By 1:00, Micah was asleep, my mom was down for a nap, and DH had brought Maya home...also asleep...and I was in the midst of my manicure/pedicure. Mom also wanted Krystal to have a bit of pampering, too, so while Mom napped, Krystal had her nails done, too. There was a full hour of quiet in this house...with everyone asleep or being pampered. I think it was as close to heavenly as I've seen in a long time.

The manicurist left around 2, and I spent some time snuggling with Maya. Unfortunately, I received a call from our massage therapist...she had to postpone until Tuesday because her sister went into labor. I was disappointed, but how can I be sad when there is another baby on the way?

Family friends arrived around 4, and Mom and Micah woke up for a visit. We had a great time catching up with them, and the kids were behaving fairly well. Micah took his pants off...but hey, it is just a phase, right?

My brother, SIL, Paige and Peyton arrived next. We had a great time with them! Micah could not get enough of playing with his cousins...they ran through the house chasing each other, they went downstairs with DH to play in the basement and watch movies, and I think he spent the entire time grinning from ear to ear and shrieking with delight. The girls took turns holding and kissing Maya, and we had a lot of fun. Mom needed a few breaks from the noise, but we all ate dinner together (Ledo's pizza, topped off with the Milky Way cake from last night). Ann - it was unanimous - the cake was decadent and delicious.

Dinner was a bit amusing...different children throwing food, and Mom begging for dessert from about 5 minutes into the meal. My brother could not believe Mom's obsession with dessert...he kept telling her to wait until the kids had finished their meal. I think the entire conversation revolved around when Mom would be allowed to eat dessert. Micah seems to be taking after his Grammy...but while she screams for chocolate ice cream, Micah's new favorite word is "cake." I think he screams cake every time he walks into the kitchen, and if he had his way, he would switch to an exclusive cake diet.

After dinner, the kids resumed playing, and Mom sat and talked to us a bit. Around 8:00, she was ready to head back to her room, and my brother, SIL and the girls started to head out for the evening. Krystal got Mom ready for bed and then left for the evening. I worked on putting Maya to bed while DH put Micah to sleep. Maya finally fell asleep around 9:30, and at 10 I went in to give Mom her pills and put her to sleep.

Dad, DH & I retired to the living room to watch tv. I dozed off for a bit, but Mom woke up at 1:30 and needed me. It is now 3:00, and DH is snoring on the couch next to me. I'll have to pump before bed, and then we can call it a night.

Some days, I really think about what life was like before all of this happened. My life was very different in May...I had a dog, I had a Thursday night date night, and I had a healthy, young, active Mom who did so many little things to make my life easier and make me smile. We shared hobbies and jokes and loved our time together. I loved watching her forge a relationship with my son, and I depended on her in so many ways. I know this is selfish, but I miss being able to count on my Mom to run and do for babysit the kids, to be my sounding board, and all those little things that were my normal. At the same time, I look around at this new life we are is challenging, but it has so many amazing benefits. I have my Mom around all day long. My children have a unique opportunity to live with their grandparents and forge a different kind of relationship with them. We have so many opportunities to see and spend time with friends and family, and we have been given a chance to reconnect with so many. I hope that I can take advantage of this time together and cherish every moment that we have.

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