Monday, September 17, 2012
Race for the Cure
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.
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.
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.