Psalm 56:8 The…

Psalm 56:8 The Message (MSG)

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.

God knows when I can’t sleep at night, and He knows when I cry.  My God also knows when I’m experiencing the joy of my boys and the satisfaction of my job!  I know that He loves me…and he loves my mom too.

Today my mom has been gone from us for an entire year.  Her battle ended.  Her body became whole.  She joined her own mother and my son Baby JJ in heaven!  She longed for that on her birthday, and God gave her that wish two days later.

 Heather and I like to imagine my mom enjoying Diet Pepsi, pizza, gyros, the original Fannie May raisin clusters (before the left Chicago because you know they were never the same….), and chips and dip!  Her esophagus is returned to normal.  No scars, no stricture, no feeding tube, no chemo, no dehydration, no pain, no exhaustion, no more suffering.

Love you Mom!


Triggers Everywhere…

Dear Mom…

I think I finally got through all the medical bills from your last couple of stays in the hospital and your last brave battle against cancer. So I really wasn’t prepared for a trigger at the mailbox today…but there it was…an advertisement for a store we went to a couple of times at the end of your life.
As I glanced through the sale papers, I felt tightness starting in my chest and my breathing became shallow. Tension started in my toes and passed up through my whole body until it was finally recognized by my brain as longing. Longing for your companionship, your support, just your presence in our home…my loneliness at night is so hard.  So I did what I know to do:
1. Recognize the trigger
2. Give myself permission to grieve
3. Set limits on that time of grief

Recognition — I opened the paper and looked through it. I was flooded by memories of the fun we had there. We looked at flower arrangements, pillows, blankets, and pictures to hang on the walls. We disagreed on the color of MY room! We did agree on a large piece for the living room that day, but the only print left had a bad frame. We had to leave it behind…I don’t even remember what it was now. On those last trips, I remember too that you were so very tired and weak. *#@* CHEMO!! But we did it…we shopped together and it was wonderful.

Shopping with you was so easy, so relaxed, so fun. You remember how you felt shopping with Mrs. Lee at the beginning? Not sure of each other’s tastes and preferences so you held back until you were sure? Then as you got to know each other you knew that her tastes were the same as yours and you relaxed. You used to tell me all the time how much fun you had with her since the two of you were so much alike! I didn’t realize it then, I took it for granted, but we had that too. We had a way of communicating that was comfortable and familiar…a lovely gift of shared time with you Mom. I took it for granted. You were so “easy” to be with…I didn’t know how good I had it…I’m sorry I didn’t realize how special it was then…or did I? I’m kind of blinded by grief tonight…which brings me to…

Permission – yep, this is it! I got dinner finished, showers for the boys, and homework started and now I’m taking my feelings of pain and loss out into the light for a while. I remember again something I learned before…that the sad feelings are not as overwhelming if you bring them out into the light of day once in a while.

Limits – I think I’m about done now. I posted some sad thoughts on Facebook, listened to some music that made me understand you are “In Better Hands” now, and I’m finishing up with this letter to you. I’m going to cuddle with the boys and think about how lucky I am to have them and how lucky I am to have had you for my whole life.
I’ll be okay Mom. Tonight I feel that I will be okay with time. Thanks Mom.

I love you,

NYE Memories of You

Mom…New Year’s Eve is over.  

I tried not to remember… 

But I did…the shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, creamed herring and more that we had chosen for our feast last year.  I threw it all out eventually.  I kept the goofy spray cans of cheese the longest.  I tried to tell myself I would spray it on a cracker and laugh eventually.  I couldn’t enjoy any of it…not without you.  Last year you were so sick…I wanted to take you to the ER.  I knew we were losing you.  Mumbling in your sleep, unable and unwilling to eat or drink anything at all, but still telling me you loved me. 

 I tried to keep the boys protected from what was happening in that green chair – we even laughed about your mumbling to lighten the mood.  I was so scared.  I remember sitting on the floor next to your chair, crying and begging you to let me take you to the ER.  You wouldn’t  you got mad.  I made you promise we could go in the morning.

 I am a nurse and I couldn’t help you.  What was happening Mom?  Was it simple dehydration or had the cancer moved into your brain?  Was it a stroke?  These thoughts plague me every day.  What was happening to your body and mind?  Could I have done something to stop it?  Should I have made you go that night?  Nothing would have changed the course of your life ending – I know that – but I want to know what it was that killed you.  Sepsis from aspiration?  Complication from surgery?  Brain cancer?  Stroke?  I’ll just have to settle for not knowing…eventually.  For now, I keep wondering.

But that was just last year!  What would I have done without you during all those other times?  Remember the Y2K New Year’s Eve?  Pregnant with Adam, I was alone except for you.  So many years it was you and me together.  No one knows how much we went through together, do they?  How many times we helped each other through the stuff.  Those bonds are so strong…you were so much more than my mom.  You were my best friend.  You were my cheerleader and champion.  God alone knows just how much I love you.

Yesterday, I tried to not think about missing you until late at night…worked pretty well actually.  I’m trying so hard to remember “permission” and “limits” are necessary to get through grief.  So, on New Year’s Eve I limited myself to feeling sad until I got home.  Then I gave myself permission to miss you and relive last year for a short time.  Okay, actually Alex gave me permission to cry.  He and Adam both kept asking me “what’s wrong?”  I tried to blow it off.  Finally Alex got me – and I started crying.  He said, “Gramma?  Mom, she’s right here with you (he pointed next to me) and always right here (and he pointed to his heart).”  Amazing…the vision of kids…


After that, we watched Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve and I tried not to think about last year.  I got crabby (as I usually do when I’m keeping it inside) but we did stay up to watch the midnight show on TV.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year without you.

I really gotta get it together.

Why is this so hard?  Mom, it would be so much easier to get through this if you were here.


Ironic huh?