6 months later…

It’s been 6 months today since we said goodbye to Mom. The holidays have come and gone, and guess what? I’m still here! I made it. I handled it. Gracefully? That depends on who you ask, but still, I did it. 
Yes, I still cry myself to sleep some nights. Some days I just start crying for no reason it seems. And then there are days where I cry out of thankfulness. I know that sounds weird, so let me explain.

I know someone whose mother suddenly went into the hospital, and then this young woman was tasked with “pulling the plug” a week later. My heart shattered for her, but at the same time, mine healed a little. I know the pain she feels, but I can’t imagine having had to make that decision, nor can I begin to understand how it must have felt to deal with that in a hospital room. I am blessed to have been able to hold my mommy’s hand as she took her last breaths. She slipped away so peacefully, in the comfort of her own home, no machines, wires or plugs. I’ve had some awful flashbacks in the last week, of those last 24 hours, but if I think about it long enough and from a different perspective, my experience was actually quite beautiful. 

I have found so much strength in the tiny little smiles that come from the smallest little memory of Mom. The little grins spread across my face much faster than the tears flow, though sometimes the tears do make me feel a bit better. 

I’ve found a couple other blogs that I really enjoy reading, written by people who have been through situations similar to mine. We seem to help each other by letting the other know that they are not alone, and that we know exactly how they feel. That common thread is a remarkable thing. It’s funny how life works. Some of my friends (they’re all amazing) but some of their efforts have just been astounding since Momma left. Isn’t it crazy the way some relationships flourish during the darkest times in your life? 

Soo, 6 months. Seems long, seems short, I don’t really know, it’s kind of a blur. I’ve kept really busy between my day job and my dream job. Some days she’s easy to think and talk about, others not so much. 
I definitely feel like two different versions of myself most of the time lately. Someday I’ll figure out how to blend the two. For now, I’ll just keep pressing on, I’ve got too many big exciting plans for 2017 to lose myself between the two, or to let myself drown in a pool of sorrow.

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Life after Mom… it must go on!

It’s been an entire month now since I said ‘goodbye’ to my sweet mommy. I never pictured my life without her. Now I find myself stumbling, somewhat gracefully, through my life; a bit scattered, extremely emotional, kind of dazed, super determined to make big changes… I don’t really know what I’m doing, or how I’m doing it, so for now, I’ll just tell you what I do know. 

On April 7th, 2016, Mom was blindsided with a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. By the time the doctors discovered it, made up their minds as to what kind of cancer it actually was, and were prepared to offer a course of treatment, it was too late. We got to spend 3 full months together, crying, laughing, cooking, praying, and saying the things that needed to be said. I only got to have her for 3 months and 1 day after that life altering phone call. 

It’s really easy to be angry with the doctors she saw, especially those before the diagnosis. She was “sick” for about 6 months before, with no discernable illness, and certainly no major indicators of cancer. I’ve definitely lost some faith in the ability of the medical “professionals” in our area. 

It’s difficult to be alone, and hear a song, or see a photograph that reminds me of her. I always smile at first, but then the flood gates open. I got my eclectic taste in music from her!

It’s difficult to not be able to pick up the phone and call her whenever I want. We talked on the phone almost every day. She was the only person I called on a regular basis. When she started texting a few years ago, we wound up “talking” every day. 

It’s painful to think that she didn’t get to meet her first grandchild, who was born a mere twenty-two days after she left us, but comforting to know that she is up there in heaven, and got to see it all from the best seat in the house. 

I’m so grateful that we got to celebrate her 54th birthday with her just a few weeks before things got bad. It makes my heart happy that she and Dad got to go away for a few days for their 32nd wedding anniversary just days before she became confined to her bed.

I am eternally grateful to the hospice staff! They were wonderful at answering all of our questions, even over the holiday weekend. It was incredibly comforting to hear them say that we were doing a great job in keeping Mom medicated, comfortable and clean. The compassion they showed my family through every step of the longest week of our lives was just immeasurable.

It’s comforting to know that there are so many people out there whose lives were touched by my mommy. I seriously don’t think I’ve ever met a single person who didn’t have something nice to say about her. I love hearing stories from her friends. My heart beats a little faster and a smile spreads across my face when I see pictures of their adventures together. Mom was only 54, but she lived an incredibly full life. 

I have to keep reminding myself that she’s in a better place, free of pain, cancer free, and celebrating with all our loved ones who beat her there. I will forever cherish the time we got to spend together in her last couple months. I’m blessed beyond words to have been able to call her my mommy, she chose me to be her daughter, and it was just an added bonus to call her my best friend.

So yes, it’s difficult to answer the, “How are you doing?” inquiries every day. “I’m doin…” That’s my typical response, but what I mean is, I’m sad. My heart hurts. I miss my mommy. While I appreciate that people care and that they’re taking the time to check on me, honestly, I don’t really know HOW I’m doing. By the grace of God, I’m alive, back to my routine, and still able to laugh and smile, so I guess I’m doing alright.

Keep singing and dancing with the angels, Mommy. I’ll see you again someday!