Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The End of One Era, The Start of Another

Haven't blogged because that takes time and energy and both have been on my short reserve list.

My mom passed away last week on Tuesday, July 13th at 8:08 p.m..
We were all there with her and we sang "Softly and Tenderly".
We then started singing  "I'll Fly Away" as she breathed her last three breaths and left us to be with the Lord. Fred continued singing, Vicki and I could not.
It was a sweet, powerful time. It reminded me of the power and intimacy of childbirth and actually I felt we were witnessing her leaving the body she was trapped in and being born into the arms of her Lord, new and free at last in a way she had never been here.

The first few days afterwards were a blur as anyone knows that has lost someone and has to attend to all the details of the visitation, funeral /memorial, burial, etc.
Then came Sunday.
Jessi had flown in Friday and that was amazing for me as her mom! She left on Sunday evening, we went to the Clowers for dinner and then I came home and went to bed and promptly cried so hard it hurt.
I think that the grief and the permanency of separation on this side of eternity just crashed in on me like waves, finally overwhelming all of my coping mechanisms. It is good and necessary, just hard and draining.
My girlfriend Marti who just lost her mom the week before my mom passed said it's like you're just barely functional and then grief slips in through the side door. I like that description. It's very accurate.

I have been blest with amazing friends that have loved on me and my family so beautifully in these past weeks and days it takes my breath away! If not for that I think that it would have been almost unbearable.
Even this guy I've gotten to know who works at Trader Joes gave me a gorgeous bouquet of lilies today when he heard my mom had passed away. Be aware! You never know when God might use you to bless someone.

So, now I start to make a life out of what will be a new and very different era, one without parents, without a mom. This truth is still hard to even type.

Awkward moment at the visitation:
There was an Eastern Indian family that showed up at the visitation last Thursday evening and looked at the sign in book, but didn't sign in. Then they went up and stood in a row looking at the casket and speaking softly.
I went to find my sister and asked her if they sounded like anyone she knew. She said no and I returned to the parlor. I thought, "I'm an adult, I'll go ask how they know Fae."
I walked up to them and evidently Fred followed me. I asked the question and here was the man's reply, with the rather thick Indian accent.
"I deliver flowers and I brought my wife (and indicated her) and my mother (and indicated her) to look at body."
I was stunned speechless. Were these funeral crashers?! According to my husband I then turned towards him and said in an even tone at a volume that the man could easily hear, "I find that very disturbing," and walked on away.
I kept thinking that surely I misunderstood this man, but both Fred and my nephew's girlfriend assured me that that is exactly what he said.
When I went in to the family lounge and talked my sister and the minister that would be officiating at the service the next day she said, "Well, what do they do with their bodies?"
I gave my best guesses and then Charlie, our minister friend of many years said, "Well, what do you do on family night Marsha?"
We laughed and realized if my mom would've been there she probably would've turned to them and said, "Well, what do you think?" and smiled.
Ours was the right family and situation to have had this happen, although we did inform the funeral home this week so they would be aware that this could happen and not go as well in certain situations.

Another Comic Relief Moment Earlier Today:
Today one of my many sweet friends that has been caring for me and loving on me so well took me to breakfast. We meet once a month and this was already scheduled and I was up for it.
We talked and played with her baby, and ate and drank coffee.
I went to her car with her and put some dishes in the front seat that I was returning from the meal she organized for our family gathering after the funeral on Friday.
She pointed out how the front seat painted a picture of their young family's life at this time.
1. Various pieces of soccer clothing from her boys' soccer camps...oh little boy sweat:)
2. One little athletic shoe looking for it's mate.
3. A couple of other random items.
4.Now my returned platters.
5. Oh,  and their dog's ashes in a sealed container from the vets!
I said, "WHAT?!"

She informed me that he had died a month ago. I didn't know and I started to get sad. Then I laughed!
I don't know how long they've been in the front seat, but I told her I was concerned that she was leaving her pet in a hot car with the windows rolled up.
Then she assured me that she would belt him in before driving off.
Gotta love that Jill! Always brings a smile to my heart.
I will miss Buster, he was roomies with her and our daughter Erin back in the day.

So, I am trying to take care of myself. I go out for a little bit and then I want to retreat back home and either sleep or read or cry. I am trying to eat fairly healthy and if it wouldn't be 10000* F out every day I would like to get back to early morning walks. I know that I am not the only one who has ever lost someone, this isn't the first time I've gone through a death and it won't be the last, but this is my season to grieve the loss of my mom and I am trying to go through it giving myself lots of space and grace and time with the Lord.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Early Morning Thoughts From Vicki July 4th

These were thoughts that came to Vicki early in the morning July 4th

Our Mama

We are just an extension of her arms
Her frail arms
Reaching out to say , "No."
"No more please,
I Await His arrival to take
me into His arms
To a place where there is
no more suffering
Just peace and tranquility.
So let me go to sleep
And rest in His hands now.
For Eternity.

Go sweet Mama
He's waiting for you 
Be with Him
We'll be fine 
See you later on
When we come to rest in His hands.
For eternity.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


So Angie my mom's hospice aide gave her a shower and washed her hair this week. 



And we thought mine were all because of my dad!

Celebrate Freedom!!!

So, I woke up at 3 and got up at 3:45. This will definitely be a nap day, 4th of July or not!

My "week off" here in town was sweet and complicated.

Marti was here less than 24 hours.
We got to go to the botanical gardens, eat lunch on the Hill outside as a mockingbird  serenaded us the entire time! Blessing.
We then came home and hung out with Becky here at the house. Then the three of us went out for appetizers and wine at The Chocolate Bar, also outside. Blessing.
Our two phones were often interrupting us, but Marti won that contest. Hard.
Just as we finished our dinner Marti got a call that she should maybe return to KC. Not good.
So at 8:30 that evening we said goodbye and she went home to start their vigil with her mom, AJ. Sad.
As of last night (Friday) she was still alive, but Marti's sisters both got in town by last night and they do not think it will be long. Hard.

The parallel journeys Marti and I have been on are stunning! Blessing, but Hard!

Becky and I did our B and B routine of sitting outside in the cool of the morning on one of the decks and drinking coffee, having a quiet time, and talking about anything and everything Wednesday morning. Blessing.

Then it was off to Forest Park to meet up with Maria and Mary for lunch, outside, at the Boathouse. That was fun and yummy and we laughed and talked and decided to continue onto the botanical gardens because it was just too pretty to go inside to do a museum or some such thing. Blessing.

My big plan was for Becky and I to go to the Whittaker Music Festival that evening at the gardens, but by the time we were leaving it was so late that we would barely have time to go home, get chairs, pack a picnic and get back to fight for parking. So instead we went to Mary's daughters' apartment next to the gardens, then said goodbye to Mary and Maria, a quick stop at Shaw coffee, then home to rest briefly. On the way home I had called my friend Carol and asked where she was and what she was up to for the evening as we wanted to ask her to join us at the Robust Wine Bar in Webster. She informed me she was on her way home from work and was at the RR crossing by The Robust Wine Bar. Seemed like a sign to me! Many blessings here.

Hours later after good food and wine and laughing and chatter and running into umpteen people Carol and I knew, Becky and I felt we hadn't gone off our healthy eating kick quite enough and went to the new yogurt place next door:) Let me just say, it was okay, but if I'm gong to waste calories I'll do Serendipity in the future or Stratton's gelato! All a blessing.

Thursday was a day that had been planned for me to watch my sweet Sonya in the morning while Teddy and Mama went to the hospital to get Teddy's ear tubes put in. However, the world's nicest daughter-in-law had emailed me and talked to me via the phone letting me know that she had her sister taking care of that and to try to relax and enjoy my time with Becky. Blessing!
Becky and I had already decided that after breakfast she would be heading off on her own and I would be preparing to go to a care plan team meeting with some of the nursing staff and social worker from the facility my mom is living in, my sister and I, and the nurse/owner of the hospice provider and their social worker.

I think that Thursday at my mom's was one of the stranger days I have experienced there! Mixed Bag.

I got there, then Vicki got there. We visited with our mom briefly, then the hospice owner came in to talk with her before the meeting. Then our brother Doug showed up! Once she was through with the conversation with the hospice owner, we had him come on in and Mama was SOOOOO happy to see him! It was sweet to see her face when she realized he was there. Blessing
He showed up FINALLY!!! Just a little crazy on this day of all days! Hard.
But, it got more strange. Our cousin, Gordon, showed up! Blessing, but too many people at such an intense time!!
So, as soon as we got Doug up to speed on what was about to take place we asked Gordon to stay with our mom and headed into the meeting. I was a little apprehensive about what to expect, but had asked oh so many people to pray. Hard.

The idea of this meeting was to get everyone on the same page. Long story short, it did just that and I was able to speak VERY honestly addressing several concerns and difficulties we had encountered over the recent weeks and they were noted and it was agreed that these things should not happen anymore and other things neede to take place. We walked away feeling heard and that we had been clear in our expectations and concerns without being bitchy.
The facility social worker said at one point that she thought Vicki and I were good advocates for our mom and I asked her, "Does that mean that we are controlling and a pain in the butt?"
Everyone laughed and she said, "Marsha you have no idea what a controlling, pain in the butt family looks like. You and Vicki are very proactive advocates on behalf of your mom, but your nice about it, maybe too nice." That was good to hear in the presence of all there.
Thank you all for your prayers!!! BIG BLESSING!

My brother stayed a few hours and left to go home, out of town. Hard. Have to let it go...

Becky and I ate in Thursday evening. Nice and relaxed. Blessing.

Friday was a delightful day of vacationing in St Louis! Blessing.

We went downtown in the morning to the City Park and had an amazing time. The weather was just perfect! However, the big bonus was that the whole time we were there the VP Fair air show participants were all taking turns practicing!!!! We saw it all even the Harrier Hovercraft!!!!! What fun! Blessing.

We would have stayed much longer, but we had made plans with my friend Karen to go sailing with her on her Hobie Cat at Creve Coeur Lake. We sailed for almost 4 hours and had a blast!!! It was freeing, and cleansing, and oh so relaxing! Blessing.
Hey if anyone wants to meet guys just get a couple of friends and go sailing. Evidently to some losers that is so unique that three women trailer a boat and set it up and go out sailing, then do the reverse. Some men are just weird! Not hard, definitely not a blessing, just weird! (Disclaimer: These are all cell phone pics)

This was my attempt below at reenacting the "flying the prow" scene from the Titanic...Hmmm
Karen was standing out on the pontoon with my cell phone to get this one, I was in front of the mast standing on the edge of the boat's frame over the water as it rushed under me. We were dangerously close to sinking the pontoons as Becky manned the sailing of the craft calling to us, "I don't know what I'm doing back here, maybe this is not a good idea!" I loved it!!!!

What else can three girls do after a day of sailing but go to Nacho Mama's for dinner and Margaritas? Perfect ending to a perfect day! Blessing. Thanks John (owner) for the yummy queso and extra guac!!

Saturday was a half day as the guys were on their way home from the Cornerstone Festival.
Becky and I went to the Osage House near Central West End for breakfast, she bought a King Tut papyrus plant from their shop naming it...King Tut and quickly bonded with it. Blessing.

 Then we headed to see my mom.

We stopped at Ted Drewe's to pick up a treat for her and when we got to the place she was in the dining room, having lunch!!! Can't remember the last time she did that? Blessing.
Actually, she was snoozing at the table, but still she had sat there and looked at her food some and talked with her buddy, Emily some. We joined then and split the chocolately chocolate Drewes treat between them and they both seemed to enjoy it, although my mom didn't finish hers. Blessing.

We then took her outside for a brief walk around the grounds. It was heating up and she was tired. We went on the path behind her apartment building and when I asked her if she knew where we were or what that building was, she had no idea! Hard.
The three of us sat in the shade by a bench and chatted, but she was ready to go back. Glad to be out, but ready to go back. Hard and a Blessing.

The guys got back, Becky and Mike left and I got to be with my guy for a little bit! Blessing.

My sister and I met over at the nursing facility to talk with my mom. Hard.
We presented her with some choices to make about staying on or going off certain meds they have her on and what that might mean. Without any hesitation, she said, "I don't want them. I want to be off of them." Blessing.

Now we need to inform hospice and then see what God has in store for our sweet mama before he takes her home. Hard...yet a blessing.

So, that's my week off.
Happy Fourth of July.
Pray for my mom's freedom to come gracefully and for the family to be full of comfort and thanksgiving for a life well-lived.