Sunday, February 10, 2013

Saying Goodbye to My Mom

My Mom had been fighting some health issues for the past several years...especially over the last 2 years. She was a smoker for 30 + years. She had quit and been smoke free for 10+ years, but her lungs were in rough shape from all the other years. This basically meant that she would catch a cold and it would turn into a sinus infection, bronchitis, or pneumonia almost every time. Even though she had other problems like a bad back and early stages of Parkinson's disease, she was still positive and loved life. She especially loved "her boys"--Beau and Joseph. She always wanted to come see us, or have us come see her. She loved making us dinner and making the boys treats when she could.

In the last year, Mom had to sell her house and moved to an assisted living home in Riverchase. She really loved it. She met lots of nice people, and loved having us come over to eat dinner with her once a week. They boys loved it because they could run wild in the courtyard and have Granny cheer them on. In June, I got a phone call that she was at Brookwood Hospital and had been admitted to ICU with pneumonia. I knew this was bad because she had gotten pneumonia 10+ years ago (when I was still at Auburn), and almost died. That is what prompted her to quit smoking. From June-December, Mom bounced from hospital to hospital to nursing homes that could care for her. In August, she made a turn for the best and we started to visit her again with the boys. Then in November, I got another call that she had been admitted to UAB with complications from pneumonia and it was bad. She was moved to a sweet place at UAB called Palliative Care. It was basically similar to hospice care within the hospital. Her palliative care doctor told me they would make her as comfortable as they could (with medications, etc.) until she passed. He said it could be a few days or a few weeks until that happened. My aunt Betsy drove me home from the hospital that day, my sweet neighbor got dinner for the kids, and I was just in shock. Rodney and I sat down that night with many tears, and started the process of getting Mom's affairs in order. What a blessing Rodney was during that time---he did everything. He called insurance companies, funeral homes, Mom's home church, etc. because he knew I could not deal with it. Mom responded well to all of the treatment she was given at palliative care, and got moved out of the hospital and into a nursing home at the end of Novemeber. They told us she was not "well" but "too well" to stay there. She moved to FairHaven Nursing Home and hospice was called in to care for her (along with the staff at FairHaven.) Mom looked the best she had looked in years. It was hard to understand that she was dying because she looked and acted so well. She had so many friends and family that came to see her over the last few weeks. It was a real blessing to have those last few weeks to spend time with her. One of my last visits with her, she told me that Rodney was a "keeper" and that I had married well. :) She loved Rodney almost as much as me. He would visist her every week and eat lunch with her. Which meant, that he would take an hour off from his job, and go visit with my Mom and feed her lunch. because she was often too weak to feed herself. Mom was right, Rodney is a "keeper". He loved my Mom just like she was his own Mom.

On Friday, December 28th, I got a phone call from her hospice nurse that Mom was declining. They were not sure how much longer she  had left...but said it would be a few days to a week probably. I was in Publix getting groceries and missed the call. I realized I missed the call when I got to the meat department at publix. I still feel like I am going to throw up when I am in that same section getting groceries now. ( I know that feeling will ease with time). I called Rodney and he called my Aunts. My Aunts (betsy and patti) met me at FairHaven that afternoon around 2:30 or 3:00. Mom was asleep (they compared it to a coma like state). They told us she could still hear us though. My aunts and I talked about Joseph's upcoming 2nd birthday and what kind of party we would do. At 4:45, we noticed Mom's breathing slowing down. She passed away quitely in her sleep, with no pain. It was very peaceful and what I had been praying for her. Everything that happened after that is a blur. Family and family friends came to FairHaven to help and make sure we were okay. I came home that night in the pouring down rain and kissed my boys as they went down for bed. I was just in shock...relieved she was pain free and in Heaven, but overwhelmed with having to go through the next days. We had a wonderful visitation for her and wonderful memorial service and burial. My uncle and cousin read scripture at the memorial service. Rodney gave a eulogy for mom. It was the so sweet, and captured all of the things she did so well. The day after we buried her, Joseph turned 2. It was such a fun day to celebrate him, but it was so hard knowing that my Mom would not call to tell him Happy Birthday. The past 6 weeks, my emotions have been all over the place. I miss her and wish that she could still be here. But, I keep having to remind myself that I will see her for eternity in Heaven. My mind can not really understand "eternity", but I know it is real, and am at peace knowing I will see her there-for eternity.

I am so thankful I know that my Mom is in Heaven with Jesus-for eternity. I grew up in church--my Mom took me every Sunday and Wednesday, and to every special event. She would even come to Church of the Highlands with us for special events there. When I was in college, I felt like I needed to ask her if she knew where she would spend eternity. She said she did not know for sure, but hoped she would go to Heaven. I had the chance to share the love of Jesus with her and led her in a prayer where she asked Jesus to be Her Lord and Savior. Those next 10-12 years, were the best years we had together as mother/daughter. So thankful I know she is in a much better place. It is the only thing that has given me hope after loosing her. I know she is in Heaven in her glorified-completely healed body. I have even had a dream where she was walking around, and I ran to her to see if she need her walker or a cane. She told me she was fine now , and to tell Bets and Patti that she was fine and that she loved us. I tried to go back to sleep-to dream this dream longer :) But, it was a sweet reminder that The Word of God is real, and this life is so temporary. It has reminded me to pray even harder for my children to know Him, and for any family and friends to Know Him that are lost.

I still miss my Mom every day. I wish I could call her and talk to her about Beau going to Kindergarten next year, and registering Joseph for Mother's Day Out, and about our new puppy Cam. I know she sees it all, but I just miss hearing her voice. The hardest part of it is going to church--especially worship. Every song, we sing is about Heaven :) It makes me miss her and long for that day when I will see her again. I usually end up sobbing during worship. Then, when a sweet friends stops to tell me how sorry they are or that they are praying for me, I start crying again.

I know my Mom loved the Lord, me, Rodney, the boys, her family, and Auburn Football :) I know I will always miss her, but I am so thankful for all of the good times we had together. I saved a voicemail message that she left me--I listen to it when I am really missing her. Her message said "Hey honey--just checking on you and the boys. Love you" So thankful to have that to listen to as well. I am praying that 2013 is a year of rest for our family as we recover from loosing my Mom, and all of the stress that was in last year.


Jeremy and Michelle said...

Sweet friend - precious post for your precious momma :)