Social Worker

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Changes so quickly

It's amazing how quickly life can change. You're trucking along and thinking status quo and then..wham!!...you're reminded that life happens.

On August 3, I got a call from Beth that my mom was very sick. She wasn't breathing well and couldn't talk. She made it to the hospital and was later life-flighted to Tyler. She had aspiration pneumonia and her lungs were very ill. She was pretty much stable through the weekend, but the doctors kept her sedated so her body would not have to work too hard. On Monday, she had what appeared to be a stroke and became much more ill. Her lungs were ill, her kidneys stopped working, her body was retaining all fluids and medicines she was given by IV. Things continued to get worse and worse and by Thursday the doctors told us to begin thinking about what her wishes would be. Thursday evening, a CT scan was done on her brain and there was a 7cm blood clot. My sisters and I decided on Friday that she would not want to remain on machines and we allowed her to rest.

My mom passed away on Friday, August 10 at 6:10pm.

This was one of the hardest things I have had in a very long time. My sisters and I supported each other throughout. We had to plan the funeral and find a way to pay for it all. The beautiful part of it all is that the three of us, who don't always get along, never fought or disagreed throughout the week or through the funeral. We were able to find a beautiful casket and the funeral home director was so nice. We found a beautiful place to lay Mom to rest on the side of a hill in a cemetary near her house. We were supported by so many people, including our Daddy and stepmom. You could really feel the love and support throughout. It's really difficult to put into words.

Some of you know my mom or know my relationship with my mom. For those of you who don't, I think it's sufficient to say that she was very ill for a long time. She struggled with her own life and her own demons and her illnesses eventually just took her over. However, in her final days she gave us the most beautiful gift of all. I can only explain by starting from the beginning...

On Friday, Beth had sent me a text message that she didn't think Mom was going to be around much longer. She was travelling to Palestine and found out Mom was ill. When she arrived, she sent me a message that Mom did not look well. I immediately called her and she was crying and trying to talk to Mom. Beth told her that I was on the phone and she said "boy or girl". Since I don't know the sex of the baby, I wasn't able to tell her. I'm not sure what went through my head at that point, but I called Dad to check on Beth then called Stacie while Howard called my aunt Susan. This part is weird for me because I never react this way when Mom is sick. Regardless, I did not feel that I wanted to go to Palestine. Stacie decided that she and her family would travel to Palestine and I asked them to keep me updated. Stacie and Don helped support Beth through those first few days. They paid for a hotel and helped Beth with food and made sure she was okay. I think Stacie and Beth really bonded during this time and Beth was able to feel the support from Don. When Mom had what we think was a stroke on Monday, I headed to Tyler. I feel like Mom was telling me that Stacie and Beth were ready for me to help. Maybe I should have been there all along, but I think that they needed that time to mend some unsteady parts of their relationship. Then, as I said above, the three of us stood together and supported each other and never disagreed throughout this ordeal. I think Mom gave us this time to come together and to be there as a family again with her. On Thursday, Don called Dad and told him that his girls really could use him now so Dad came to Tyler and took us to dinner. We talked about Mom and what she told him years ago about her wishes. We cried to him and he gave us that extra push of strength that we needed to take care of Mom. Through the weekend, the visitation, and the funeral, Dad opened his home to us and to Mom's family. He kept us fed and comfortable. He bought us comfort food and gave hugs as we needed. I overheard him telling someone that he was so proud of the three of us for standing alone and taking care of our Mom and that we did a beautiful job. I truly believe that Mom created this and stayed with us a little longer just so that we could find that strength and love among us.

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive and shared their prayers and love with us. I know that Mom is looking down and is so happy to see all the people who loved her and loved her family.

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