4 Weeks?

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At this very hour my mom passed away 4 weeks ago.  It doesn’t seem possible.  My mom died 4 weeks ago.  4 weeks ago.  4 weeks.  Grief is such a strange animal.  I believe God gives you the grieving process so you don’t just plain die of a broken heart.  He lets you feel normal for a brief second and then you realize life is not normal any longer and you go into your crying and grieving process.  I still can’t believe she’s not here.  I mean, I know it-it is true…she’s NOT here.  I can’t see her.  I can’t talk to her.  I can’t laugh with her.  I no longer have to wake her up, get her ready and put that cream to numb her fistula on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I don’t have to put eye drops in her dry eyes, make her lunch any more.  I don’t have to make sure she’s doing her breathing treatments, I don’t have to make sure she’s warm, comfortable or OK anymore.  Everything in my house is my mom.  Everywhere I look.  I can’t look in any single corner of this house and not be reminded of her.  It sucks but at the same time it’s comforting.

I also can’t get the song “Wish You Were Here” out of my head.  I prefer the Marty Casey version of it when he sang it on “Rock Star INXS.”  Go to You-tube and check it out.  He does a beautiful cover of that song.  Makes me cry every time I hear it and it did back then when he performed it on TV.  I have a hard time listening to music now.

There is a small plane that passes over our house every day.  And every day my mom would hear that plane, look up to the sky and say, “Be careful up there buddy!”  She always talked to that pilot.  She genuinely cared for his safety.  That was the type of person my mom was.  What a loss to this world.  Why does God pick the best flowers for himself?

Yesterday I went grocery shopping.  I opened the trunk to put the groceries in and there was all her dialysis stuff and the plastic bag that had her pants and slippers in it from that day.  They had to cut her shirt off of her, so no hot pink shirt.  Mom looked amazing in hot pink.  That was her choice of lipstick too.  Her skin was dark so the hot pink was just perfect.  She always wanted to be tan.  Just seeing that stuff put me into a tailspin.  You’d think it would get easier, but it’s only getting worse.

I needed a pedicure.  I could not go to our normal place.  I just couldn’t stomach the memories or going into what happened to my mom.  The people who own our nail salon were always so kind to my mom.  I went to get my hair cut Friday.  No sooner did I pull into the parking lot, the tears started flowing.  Amy did my mom’s hair too.  My mom had a standing appointment every Friday at 5:15.  Amy also did mom’s hair for her viewing/funeral.  What a self-less act of kindness.  People really amaze me – I don’t know if I could have done that.

I am fully aware of the stages of grief.  I’m here to tell you…they are right on the money.  There are 5 stages in the Keubler-Ross model and there are 7 stages in another model that I think are better and more accurate.  They are:

  • Shock and Denial
  • Pain and Guilt
  • Anger and Bargaining
  • Depression, Reflection and Loneliness
  • The Upward Turn
  • Reconstruction and Working Through
  • Acceptance and Hope

They don’t come in “order” for me.  I’m bouncing around them like a rubber ball – picking and choosing which one I’ll be for the day.  I know that I am not the first and only person who’s ever gone through something like this.  But somehow I feel like I am.  One thing that strikes me everyday…you never know what people are going through.  Looks are so deceiving.  You never know.

I have been reading two books on grief that have been helping.  I can’t read too much at once because I start to cry so these books have been taking me a while to get through.  One is called “Grieving with the Help of Your Catholic Faith” by Lorene Hanley Daquin.  My friend Karen gave that one to me.  My friend Sharon gave me “Joy Comes in the Morning” by Bob Gass.  Both are really great.  The scripture verses and the quotes are wonderful in both books.  One of my favorites that I’m clinging to at this time is this:

There is nothing – no circumstances, no trouble, no testing – that can ever touch me until it has gone past God, and if it has come that far it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment.  But as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God, no sorrow will ever destroy me, no trial disarm me, no circumstance cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is.” – Alan Redpath

How comforting is that???  NOTHING can ever touch me until it has gone past GOD.  NOTHING.  OK.  I’m trusting that.  I am believing that.  And mostly, I’m believing that for my mother.

Many people want to know what happened to my mom.  This is an exerpt taken from an email I sent to a business collegue.

My mom was really ill for about 3 yrs.  She had Lyme Disease that was undetected, undiagnosed and untreated for many years.  The disease destroyed her body most recently manifesting in a disease called Scleroderma.  2.5 yrs. ago she lost her kidney function to scleroderma, had been on dialysis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Friday the 26th of August was a normal day.  She called for us to come get her at dialysis and after the call asked for some oxygen. They asked her if she was ok, she said she didn’t know.  She then went into cardiac arrest.  She never woke up.  The neurologist told us she was in a vegetative state.  It was uncertain how long she was without oxygen.  We chose to remove the ventilator and all meds on Sunday the 28th and she lasted 21 hours.  We were all there for her, did not leave her side.  She died at 12:01 PM Monday the 29th after the Price is Right!  LOL!  (Had to throw something funny in there.)  Mom loved The Price is Right.  She had to see who won the showcase one last time.  Our priest had just been there, we prayed over her, my brothers left for some lunch and she passed away with me and my daddy with her.  She was just 67 years young.

I really feel robbed.  I was her primary care giver along with my dad.  I researched her disease, got her to a Lyme specialist in North Carolina, got her on an Antibiotic Protocol and she was improving.  It is really hard.  So when you said sudden or anticipating it…I would say definitely sudden even though she was ill.

In Fr. Jack’s homily at mom’s funeral, he said she missed “The Price Is Right” that day.  That isn’t quite accurate.  She passed away at 12:01 and three seconds.  Mom did watch it for the very last time – we made sure it was on the TV for her.  She had to see who won the final showcase.  And at 12:01 and 3 seconds, she won the best showcase of all…Eternity with Jesus, Mother Mary and all the Saints and Angels in heaven.

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3 responses »

  1. You had such a special relationship with your mom, Michelle. Most people can only dream of that. So very sweet!

    Take care friend………love Kim

  2. I like the thought of your mom enjoying the best showcase now. You are one special daughter to your mom……and anyone who knows you, will agree with me.

    Love you, my friend. Sharon

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