|Mom making a goofy face!|
She would soooooo kick my ass for using this picture, but, honestly, I can't think of a better picture that captures the goofiness of her personality.
Unfortunately I lost my mom on May 22, 2007 to cancer, and yet I am so thankful that her struggle with it was relatively short. My parents had come down for Thanksgiving in Nov. 2006, by Christmas 2006 we found out that she had been in the hospital with pneumonia and that the doctors had found something abnormal on her chest x-rays, and she was gone by May of 2007.
In those 5 months or so there were a lot of late night emergency drives from Missouri to Illinois. Seven hour drives at the drop of a hat to get to the hospital where Mom had just been taken, the wonder what was going on, the worry that she would be gone by the time we got there, and all the emotional turmoil that goes with it.
At the end of her life she was in the hospice to make her departure as comfortable as possible. Now, luckily, DH and I have our own businesses, and as long as we have internet we can pretty much work from anywhere. So it made things somewhat easier, but it got to the point where visiting Mom in the hospice was getting impossible for me to handle. She was losing touch with consciousness, she wasn't able to join in conversation, and you could just see her losing her fight. In the end she simply wasn't even aware (or at least visibly so) that we were there to visit or that she could hear us speaking to her. So I told my Dad that we needed to get back home for a while, that the woman that was in the bed was my Mom, but my Mom wasn't there. I just felt that her soul was already working it's transition at that point, and I just couldn't wait for the inevitable.
DH and I came back home and just chose to wait for that call. When it came, I woke DH up, and we started the packing process all over again to make the final trip. I was physically and emotionally drained. After 5 months of running and worrying and crying I just had nothing left....running on auto pilot doesn't come close to describing it. As I'm walking around trying to get stuff packed up again, I smell fresh cut flowers. It was like I had just walked into a flower shop. It was overwhelming. In that moment I knew mom had visited to tell me that she loved me and thanked me for the fresh flowers that I had bought her almost every day she was in the hospital and in the hospice. At that moment I told Mom "I love you too and you're welcome!" and the smell of fresh cut flowers just disappeared; I told DH about it as we packed things up and got back on the road.
There have been other smaller things that have happened since she crossed that made me think it might be her way of showing that she's still hanging around. I avoid going back to the house, in which I grew up, though because that isn't home anymore without my Mom. Recently, though, we had to go back because my father was getting married. We stayed a day after he and his new wife left for their honeymoon, and dad had asked that I go through the stuff that's in the house and take with me anything that I wanted to keep of Mom's or mine. So DH and I made a trip to Walmart to buy some cheap storage tubs to pack some stuff up in, and then we set about going from room to room, closet to closet, drawer to drawer trying to find what we could find.
I went into the master bedroom and started looking through all of the areas in the room where Mom had kept her clothes and stuff. I didn't think that there was going to be anything left because when we had been up there helping dad though through her clothes and stuff it was pretty empty by the time we got done, but I did a once through of her areas just to make sure.
DH had left to go to the front of the house to the living room, and, once I finished looking around, I walked through the door, across the hallway and into my old bedroom, mumbling something along the lines of "Well, at least that's one room out of the way." In the amount of time it took me to take those 15 or 20 steps, with my back on the room and my focus switched over to the next room, there was a huge BANG in the master bedroom like someone took their fist and hit the top of my dad's dresser with as much force as they could. I looked in the living room and DH was still sitting there doing work, so I called him to come back with me to help me look. We walked back to the master bedroom and started opening the drawers on Dad's dresser and in the first drawer we found a grocery bag that was tied shut. We opened the bag and inside was some of my Grandma's (my Mom's mom) sewing stuff, and old wax pad Gram had used to help her old iron slide better across clothes, and an old eraser of my Mom's that she had used when she was in 1st grade.
Now I am slow on the uptake, but even I got it. =) We finished digging through all of my dad's stuff too, and did end up finding some stuff of my Grandma's that apparently Mom wanted us to take with us.
So thanks Mom! Love ya!