it’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM

25 01 2011

When someone’s horribly injured, or terminally ill, it seems I hear an astonishing number of people say that they didn’t go see someone because they don’t want to remember someone “that way”.


I’m all for honoring yourself and your limits, but come on. Get over yourself. Yes, I clearly remember her discomfort, her puffy face, her scant scraggly bits of remaining hair, the flaky grey skin that wasn’t quite hers, and even at the end: her struggles, sweats, and gasps.

Yes, that memory is very clear. Crystal clear. But so what?

I loved her. Any discomfort I might have of what images might linger wasn’t diddly squat compared to what she was up against. There are loads of other memories. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to NOT be there. How could it?

She needed comfort. Most especially right at those very moments. And what a privilege for me to be able to be there and hold her hand, stroke what was left of her hair, breathe with and maybe even FOR her at times, and speak soothing memories and comforts to her as she endured the pain and fear until she was freed into the big peaceful unknown. Most of us aren’t so lucky– squashed on the highway, heart-attack alone, and if you’re one of the lucky ones you’re in a home for years and years only to end up choking on the mashed peas– I just hope I’m as lucky to have that kind of love surrounding me when it’s my time.

As awful as those long minutes were, and as much as I wanted them to pass, both for her to be out of discomfort and for myself to be out of it too, at the same time I wanted to hold onto every last precious second we had together.

So yeah, I remember. Some may call those images ugly. And I suppose they are in some ways.

But I see it differently.

Sure, I still cry when those images come. Because they were beautiful.

one last thing

18 08 2010

It may not appear so at first glance, but this is the best funeral song, EVER.

All my life, she always said she wanted to go out with a brass band. Those aren’t easy to come by in the middle of a rice field, so the best we could come up with was an impromptu boombox, graveside, with a little Gladys Knight & the Pips.

Why, you ask?

Every spring cleaning, she’d hard-wax the wood floors, put me on an old wool army blanket, and sping me around on the floors to buff ’em, with old Motown blaring.

So last year, this came on in a random shuffle, and the dam broke. And there it was.

Holy hell, she would’ve LOVED the boombox-funeral bit. Use your imagination, and you can see her grinnin and swinging me around. Shiniest floors, ever.

Anyone else wanna wax some floors?

just another lap around the sun…

18 08 2010

me and momma - circa 1976-ish

… makes the sky a little brighter.

And no, it’s not my birthday. 🙂

(Yeah, I know, I know. I disappeared again. 😦 But only for a little while.)

It was all coming to a head one year ago. One year ago this past Saturday, One Tough Lady passed away. And one year ago today, we buried her.

Last year on my birthday is when she “spilled the beans” that she was sick, so between 7/15 this year and now, I’ve somehwat been reliving all of it, day by day. Even though I knew I was, I’ve been burrowed deeper into the fog than I realized I guess.

Earlier today, that fog that I was mostly unaware of this past month… lifted. In what seemed like an instant. I stopped dead in my tracks, for no reason. Not upset, just ginormous Pause button. And wouldn’t ya know it, it was about 2p, which is about exactly one year later, to the minute, of when we buried her.

I’m beyond awed of the quiet a swarm of friends stealthily surrounding me this month. I’m not sure I noticed it at the individual moments, but I’m so full of gratitude to have found such fantastic people– everywhere. From the nice stranger in Office Depot’s parking lot, to friends old and shiny-new, and to my poor taken-for-granted hubby this past month– there’s been a lot of love goin’ around. I tried to find the words to express my gratitude for that last year, but they still fall short of doing it any justice.  

No big reveal, or pithy moments, or dialog. So I feel… well, I dunno. Maybe it’s just that: I FEEL.

That’ll hafta do. (And I’m good with that.)

un-press the pause button, it’s on again

29 07 2010

Press play.

Less going on than usual, but still lots on my mind. Expected this week to be horrible, as it’s the One-Year-Later, and it is, but it’s also not. Horrible, that is.

Let’s see…

  • One year ago today, we were having Craig’s BBQ. Her choice. 🙂 It was a great day.
  • Two days later would be the day we loaded her into the ambulance, and after that she was unable to communicate. Two more weeks would pass and were making this very decision.
  • Back to the present: Last week, I went to the global company meeting-marathon to get a dose of much needed Kool-Aid. (I really do like this thing, I’m merely being tongue-in-cheek with my snark.) The minute I left town, the attorney finally sent over the estate closing docs. And I couldn’t do a damned thing about it until I got back this week.
  • So now that I’m back in town, I sat down with the docs. Two days ago, I signed the last papers for closing out mother’s estate. It hasn’t rained in forever, but that day– it rained like hell. And then… a rainbow. I haven’t seen one in I can’t REMEMBER how long. Go figure.
  • About that conference? It’s the same one that I missed last year– and the irony of the attorney’s timing with sending the docs is that the minute I got on the road to go to it last year, I ended up heading west instead, and staying for 6 weeks straight. (With that not-so-happy ending for mother.) So going this year, was like unpressing that pause button.

Next week? Going to study with a couple of fantabulous yoga masters for a week long intensive. And get this: Day 1 of travel is the exact one year later of when she went into the hospital for her final stay.

With the way the timing has been lately, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the courts post those final estate docs exactly one year to the day of her passing.

Maybe the Pause button makes it appearance again over the next couple of weeks. (Especially through the 14th.) But good to know the Pause & Play button are one and the same.

Yep, I’ll keep pressing the button. Pause, Play, or Clear, either way. Eventually I’ll end up on Play.

Keep pressing.

rewind blip

26 06 2010

One year ago today was a Friday. I’d taken the afternoon off, and my sistah-gurl Delightful and I were fetching bawdy provisions for another close friend’s weekend bachelorette soirree at a lakehouse. I had wicked cramps all weekend, and was clawing my way into being sociable, but managed OK (I think). I adore the gals, and wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and fortunately our idea of a bawdy evening mostly consisted of Michael Jackson dancing and Ouija board shenannigans. Oh yeah, and Amish butter. (That stuff is like crack.)

It was also the day that mother went into the hospital for “back pain”, but I wouldn’t know it until a few days later. (And I wouldn’t know about the cancer, or the falling, or any of the rest of it for a goodly while even after that.)

I still don’t have the real details about why/when/how this first hospital stay really started, only snippets and fragments that I’ve pieced together in some kind of mosaic picture. I’ve thought about my side of the experience (how could I not?), but what strikes me now is how unsure and unsettling this particular day must’ve been for her. Other than maternity stuff, she’d never stayed in a hospital, or had any surgeries, or anything prior to then.

She had to chose to rely on a (very dear) neighbor to bring her 60 miles to the hospital, and stubbornly kept the whole thing a secret. Looking back, we know now that the tumors were affecting her brain at this point, but oh the burden that must’ve been on her and her kindhearted friend. That German stubborn streak runs deep, and she would never admit she was frightened, but she had to have been scared shitless.

And despite the best neighbor/friend/angel that was helping her out, she must’ve felt very alone, too.

She lived by herself for so long, and was so damned Independent (with a capital I), that it bit her in the ass. I confess, I tend to be Independent a bit myself too, but the lightbulb is starting to flicker on for me sometimes– so some independence is a good thing, but is too much really fear (Oh yeah? I don’t need you FIRST.), arrogance (I’m so wonderful I can do it myself…), anger (…screw you very much), or just plain ignorance (dunno whatcha dunno) in disguise? So I’ve tried to purposely be a little less Independent. It’s tough. I’m working on it. And I fail sometimes. But what’s weird is it’s allowed me to finally start to see the support that’s been around me the whole time.

*sigh* Who knew?  (Yeah, I know: YOU knew, but I was clueless.)

Why in hell she didn’t let me know then (or before then) what was going on will always baffle me. I’ll keep struggling and hopefully continue to make progress finding harmony around independence myself. I just wish she could’ve too– that pigheaddedness means she missed out on a lot of goodness.

You might not’ve learned it for yourself, Momma, but because of that, you accidentally helped teach it to me. Thanks. I’ll keep trying to learn, promise.


16 08 2009

timing & such

16 08 2009

Dates & times, etc are finalized.

Viewing/visitation: Monday at 6p. Turpin.

Services: Tuesday at 2p. Zion Lutheran. Family gathering prior to services at 11:30a. (Call us for where if you don’t know already.)

Sunday and Monday we’ll be at mother’s house, just dropping in and out.

Everyone’s been asking about what charities. You guys already well know how she couldn’t help but feed people. It’s what she did. With that in mind, we thought these suggestions would fit that spirit: Angel Food Ministries, Heifer International, or any local food bank.

And thanks to all the hens that came out last night. My bones are feeling remarkably strong today.

plans still pending

14 08 2009

Services: The visitation and funeral plans are still pending, our expectation is that viewing will be Monday and that the funeral service and burial will be Tuesday. We expect to have that confirmed tomorrow.

Charities: There have also been a lot of questions about which charities in lieu of flowers, (which the kindness and generosity in just the questions alone is already overwhelmingly amazing), for now we’re also finalizing the details for WHICH charities.

Thanks for the patience in the meantime, and keep watching for updates here, as well as in the local hometown papers once things are finalized in the near future.

For tonight though, look squarely at the person (or fur-baby) next to you right in the hairy eyeballs, and give ’em a big hug and a kiss. For you, for them, for us, and for Madame Queen herself.


14 08 2009

Lots of support here.

She’s at peace.

for those of you not already aware

14 08 2009

As a courtesy reminder for those of you who have recently joined us on this blog journey, and as a favor to her herself, please remember to keep her and us anonymous.

Absolutely please DO continue to keep the comments coming, they do mean so much to us and all the family. To be clear, we’re not requesting that you not use your own names, but please do refrain from using hers and ours.

Thanks for all the great support, and thanks in advance for helping with this small request.

"Mr. Geauxgirl"