The musings of ME:
SAH mother of 3 kids, spouse of a doctor-in-residency, caretaker and teacher of random children.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One weekend in September

We went as a family to a Saginaw High School football game for the first time, and learned everyone can stay up past their respective bedtimes...except Ally.  Oy Vey!!

Then I worked on Ally's one year birthday present. I restored an old play kitchen/kids cupboard that was once mine. As a little girl, this cupboard served a play kitchen, a dollhouse, a bookshelf, etc. It wa much loved. And you could tell when I brough it home with me. I don't have any before pictures, sadly, but the transformation is amazing. I am quite pleased with myself. The entire shelf was a bleach white color, the trim around the upper doors were Pepto pink, as was the decorative piece on top. I sanded it down completely, restained it with Minwax Walnut, then gave it two coats of Olympic Avocado that I had leftover from when I painted the downstairs bathroom when we first moved in. After I painted it, I sanded it down to make it look as worn as it really is, and to add character. Then I changed out the knobs from white glass (some were chipped) to these transparent light pink glass knobs that I LOVE! Last, I used liquid starch to wallpaper the back of the whole shelf with fabric. (The best thing about using liquid starch is that if I decide to change the fabric to match new decor in Ally's room, the fabric peels right off easily, and I can switch it out for new fabric. Even the fabric comes out unharmed after one rinse through the washing machine.)

I took pictures while the starch was still wet, so the fabric looks cloudy and shadowed in these pictures.  Now that it is dry, you can't see the places where I stopped painting through the fabric.  I shoudl take new pictures, and some better close-ups of the detail, but I'm too lazy.  So...What do you all think?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Race for the Cure

I haven't posted much about my mom's death.  It is still so hard to write about in detail.  I don't like getting emotional, especially when it serves no purpose, so I just avoid it.  I don't bottle it up or anything; I do talk about her with my family and cry sometimes, but I can't talk about it with just anyone, not in detail anyway.  It is almost like it does her a disservce if you didn't know her and know how wonderful she really was.  Everyone loved her.


LOVED. her.

On Saturday, I came to Tulsa to be a part of Race for the Cure.  It was something we all used to do together, as a family.  It had become a sort of tradition.  A couple of years ago, I ran the 5K, too, for the first time, and we all got hot pink wigs.  It was fun.

Last year at RFTC time, I was a few weeks from delivery with Ally, Megan was too busy with her new salon, and I don't know what Conor was doing, but my mom went alone.  She was still healthy then, and none of us knew how little time we had left with her or I believe we all would have been there, no matter what. 

Race for the Cure stirred up a lot of emotions for me this year.  I started a team in her honor, Team M&M.  Well, actually it was for her and her good friend Margo McLea, who died a few months after my mom did.

Tonight I was laying in bed, unable to sleep, remembering random things about my mom, and reflecting on how many people came to Race for the Cure in honor of these two wonderful ladies.  I remembered a phone conversation I had with my mom a few weeks before she passed.  She hadn't yet started hospice care, but she was a few days, maybe a week from it, and she knew it.  Margo had just been re-diagnosed, and she had come to see my mom.  Her future was grim, and she knew she would be following my mom into hospice care shortly.  My mom talked to Margo about what would probably begin to happen to her, which systems were shutting down, and what drugs had brought her the most comfort in the end.

She told me about this visit, "I think the Lord wanted me to hang on so that I could prepare Margo and be there for her through this before I passed."  I just cried.  I said, "Mom, only you would be thinking of service when you are on your death bed, barely able to manage your own pain and comfort levels."

One Sunday at some point shortly before this incident, her stake president and her bishop showed up at her door during the time her ward was supposed to be meeting.  They had come to give her a blessing.  Her blessing told her that she was such a beloved child of God, that he would grant unto her the time she would pass.  He would allow her to choose for the benefit of her loved ones on this side of the veil and the other.

When she got into the hospice care home she wanted to go to, another good friend came to help our family move her and a few things over.  At this point, she was in and out of coherent thought, and was known to say some random, strange things at times.  When they were wheeling her out, she told the friend, "Oh, I'm only going to be there for 3 days."  Her friend later told me, "I thought she looked pretty good for starting hospice care and so I told her, 'Oh, I don't know, Mollie, you might be there longer than that.'

She moved into the hospice care home that afternoon and died almost exactly 3 days later.

This time of year is also hard for me because Ally will be 1 year old in 3 weeks.  I think it will always be a bittersweet memory because it was really the last time I got to spend time with my mom where she was really healthy.  When she was here, she said she considered it a miracle to be able to be there for Ally's birth.  We noticed while she was here that she was having trouble breathing and was getting worn out easily.  Her eye was doing some strange things, and so we sent her home as soon as we could with orders to go see her doctor at once.  In November, she was put on oxygen.  By Thanksgiving, she wasn't leaving the house much, and she had lost a lot of weight.  When I came to visit that month, Megan and I wheeled her around Kohl's so she could get some new clothes that fit and were comfortable.

She came to Allen, TX, for our extended family Christmas, but she wasn't feeling well at all.  She was pretty much on oxygen 24-7 at that point.

In the months to follow, she just got worse and worse quickly, and I often reflect how quickly she deteriorated.  It seemed like one day, she was with me, in my house, helping me after I had Ally (and truth be told, driving me a little crazy, lol) and we laughed and enjoyed each other's company, and she somehow set up some shows on the BYU channel to DVR while she was here that still record over and over on our DVR, and we can't figure out how to stop them because she did it the wrong way, haha...and the next day she was so sick she could hardly talk and we were sitting over a pile of her stuff as she told Megan and I the stories of things she acquired in her life and who she wanted to have them. 

It is such a mystery how you can lose someone so quickly.  Someone so bright and so much a part of your life, and then they are just gone.  And sometimes it seems like they were just a dream.

My family has changed so much in the 5 months since she left us.  That is, perhaps, the greatest tragedy.  She held us all together.  We want to hang on to each other, but without her as our commonality, we don't quite know how we fit together.  I am the odd man out now.  I am the wierd one.  I am too old-fashioned, they think.  I am judgemental, they say.  Maybe I am.  I'd like to think there is such a thing as righteous judgement.  The kind of judgement you have to use when other people's actions are beginning to affect you.  And your family. 

In my mother's house, my brother now smokes pot in his room.  In my mother's house, my sister's new boyfriend now spends the night 5 nights a week, with her young daughters upstairs.  In my mother's house, my dad knowingly lets this happen.  It isn't my mother's house anymore, and I don't feel "safe" there anymore.

Sometimes I want to let distance come between us and just accept that I have my own family now and I need to focus on them.  I want to.  It would be easier.

Then I hear my mother whispering to me not to do that.  I'm all they've got now.  All that is left of the standards that she raised us by.  The values that made her her.  Even if they don't know it or don't want it or think I'm the wierdest person ever, they need me.  And maybe I can do some good. Maybe something I say or do will have an impact.  I don't know.  Right now it feels like a losing battle.

Family Hike

One of our favorite places to spend time as a family is Eagle Mountain Park just about 5 miles north of our house near Eagle Mountain Lake.  We love to hike through the trails and have a picnic.  Last week we hiked all the way down to the lake and let the kids take off their clothes and play in the sand and water in their underwear (not pictured, haha).

I will be sad when we move away from Fort Worth.  I feel like there are a lot of family-oriented places to spend time for free or reasonable prices.  I wonder if our next adventures will be so sweet.