The road to grief……

Hey everyone,  Once again I went M.I.A. but this time I know the REAL reason and I want to share it with you.  Sort of a therapy if you will.  This will be a lengthy blog so be prepared  If you aren’t into this type of Blog posts then click the X and have a great day.

So as some of you know I lost my dad in Sept 2013 after a long 20+ yr battle with COPD.  During those years we celebrated many up and had some lows that caused us to reflect on what would happen in the end.  I had many years to cry, be angry, be sad at the though of losing my daddy.  As we approached the end I chose to stay positive and strong not only for my mom but my daughter.  This was her “Papa” and the closest grandpa she had to her on a weekly basis.  She lit up when she saw him and he taught her so many things in the short 6 yrs she came into his life.  So many times after visiting him she would talk for days/weeks about Papa this and Papa that.  I could do nothing but smile and say to myself cherish those moments as they are coming to an end.  When the time came we saw him the day before he left this earth and she sang him a song she had learned in school that week.  There she stood in the middle of the Hospice room dancing and signing to Papa as he drifted in and out.  Nothing made her happier than to make him and grandma smile and get the applause, hugs and kisses after she was done.  My dad made his journey home to God on Sept 30th and to boot it was my moms 70th birthday.  You see my dad wanted to make sure no one forgot him or the day he departed.  What was normally a joyous week of celebrations was changed forever.  No child should lose someone so powerful at a young age but she did and to top it all off, we buried my dad on her 7th birthday.  We still had a small party and gifts that day as that is what he would have wanted.  His death holds many special days for me and I know he is always around us especially on those dates.

Now as you can imagine my parents had been married 45 yrs at that point and she lost her best friend, was in a city with amazing neighbors but we were 45 mins away in good traffic.  She told me she would not make any crazy decisions for 1 yr.  I respected that and visited often, Morgan became her therapy in the following months and spent most of her school breaks at grandma’s house being spoiled, learning to cook and make things, memories most of all.  But most of all fell in love with their favorite show “Criminal Minds” I believe at that age of 7 my daughter had seen ever episode more than once and could figure stuff out quick, just like her grandma.  So fast forward to April 2014 and mom makes the call I am done and ready to move up there in the apartments behind you.  I said Great!  May of 2014 she sold her house and moved up next to us.  It was great.  Home cooked meals 2-4 nights a week cause she loved to do it, built in babysitter whenever we needed it and most importantly memories being made.  In August she started to look for a new doctor and in Sept she found one right by her apartment.  She went to visit as she was having a lower stomach pain for some time, but with everything with my dad she didn’t investigate her own health.  So here we are going to specialist and having biopsy after biopsy and then the holidays and the labs are backed up or closed.  So now here we are its February 2015 and they want her to go to the Cancer center and have a PET scan.  If you know anything about these scans they are VERY expensive and they don’t request them until there is no other options to see areas of your insides.  Well on February 11, 2015 we went to have the scan, the next day they asked us to come back on Feb 13th….Friday the 13th for the results.  As expected she was given the news it was stage 4 lung cancer that had moved to the adrenal glands.  Chemo started that Monday.  She went through treatments every 2 week  and was handling them like a champ until about April.  Then her body started to wear down.  But we did what we could to keep her spirits up and her strength.  We returned from a vacation in June (that we tried to cancel but it was causing a major argument with her so we went) and the Friday we returned she fell and couldn’t get up.  That is when we had to take new steps.  I came over every morning and got her situated for the day, and every night stayed there til she went to bed.  Morgan was with her during the day and got her food and drink and was her nurse.  That next week she made the decision on June 18th to stop her treatments and enter Hospice.  I supported her decision and I knew her mind was made up and her body was tired. Starting that night I stayed at her apartment every day and night sleeping there and working from there.  I wasn’t going to let her be alone.  On June 22nd the Hospice worker came and started her admission process for Home based hospice. We had a couple good days and then on June 26th we started to see some signs of decline.  Her weakness was growing, I was also growing weak but I remained strong to all that saw me.  That weekend she took her turn and we prepared Morgan as best we could.  My only regret is not telling her sooner that grandma was not going to get better and to prepare and make each moment count.  My best friend came over to visit with her, she mentioned she had so many visitors today.  Not in person but from Heaven apparently.  That night after everyone left the apartment and it was just us I knew what I had to do.  So at a little after midnight I walked in her room, grabbed her hand and told her I loved her, to watch over us and if it was time to go be with daddy then she can go.  I kissed her forehead and laid on her arm for a moment then I went to the couch to get some rest.  less than 2 hours later on June 29th I woke up and I was very still and I didn’t hear her from her bedroom on the other side of the wall from where I was laying.  You see she had developed the “death rattle” on Sunday morning so I went to sleep hearing her.  I knew at that moment she was gone.  I got up went in and saw the most peaceful, strong, amazing lady lying there knowing she was with her love and in no more pain.  I smiled and said I love you mom and please watch over us.  I kissed her again as I had done the night before and then went to the living room to start the calls that needed to be made.  The details of what took place over the next 4 hours are as vivid as that early morning hour 2 yrs ago.  I first made a call to Hospice, then I called my husband to tell him and our daughter was laying right there and woke up.  I told him to tell her and hold her tight til I could make it home. You see at this point I was strong and I now was in charge to get things done.  I didn’t have time to grieve or cry.  I didn’t want to cry because my mom didn’t cry after my dad passed.  Of course she shed a few tears in private but not much.  The Hospice worker showed up and came into the bedroom after taking a moment to make sure I was ok.  She adjusted my mom to a more “comfortable” position as she said with a smile. She held my mom with such love and compassion.  Then we removed her necklace and her one ring.  The wedding band stayed per her request.  Once the funeral home arrived and prepped her on the gurney I said one last private good bye and away she went as dawn was coming.  I stripped the bed sheets with the Hospice worker and threw them in the dumpster and went home to my family to much needed hugs.  After a short 30 mins nap the funeral home where her service would be called me and I got showered and drove to our hometown to make her arrangements and such.  This 75-90 mins drive alone did me good and I kept smiling knowing how happy she was again and so was daddy.  Once I got home I finished making a couple of phone calls (small family so not much calling to do) and I ate dinner and then crashed for about 12 hours.  I was running on fumes but my body, mind and I believe my parents slowed me down to rest.  Keep in mind I am the only child and was doing all this on my own.  I thank God that she did all her arrangements, picked it all out and paid for it prior.  I just had to finalize flowers and pick the dates when I went to the funeral home.  The next couple of days were at a normal pace and we had her service and burial all on the same day July 2nd so that the few relatives that came for her service could be back home in time for the July 4th holiday!  That is what she would have wanted, no fuss and enjoy family.

Now I am left to clean out her apartment, sell furniture and everything in less than 30 days.  But thanks to my amazing husband, great friends I was able to get all the goods sold, packed up on a truck to family in Illinois and turn in the keys on July 30th.  As the days went on and I sorted through many things I just took to our house to sort later I had many great smiles and laughs at memories from my childhood.  But now comes the reality……….

 

Part 2 to follow

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