Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year...New Me...right?

So its been awhile since I wrote on here...So the year in review...the short version :)
In church I became Camp Director, which was a blast and stress all in one. I have never been away from Chloe and the Sunday before we left for camp she came down with a nasty fever and stomach bug...which didnt help my stress at all :) if you know me well, you know my stress extremes. Anways the day I left the fever had broken and she was back to normal, still hard to leave but I was blessed through it all. I was also called around the same time to be the YW Secretary, so I said goodbye to my Sunbeams(which I actually had a really hard time doing cause they were such a great group) and hello to another great group, just different age group. June we had the first family reunion since my mom passed and it was alot of fun but my mom was very much missed! July we celebrated our 6 year anniversary, I can't believe how time flies! Steven was realeased from YM and put into the Elders Quorum Presidency, the boys weren't happy about that but he makes time for hanging out with them. Chloe is now 3 and is as busy as ever, she is such a social bug(nothing like me!!!) the word "Stranger" doesnt exist in her vocabulary. She is a very bright girl and is learning her ABC's and Numbers. She is now a Sunbeam and is growing and learning so fast, sometimes I want to pause time so I can just enjoy it! Steven made managment! Law Enforcement as taken a back burner for the moment but is never out of mind. I've been busy with Photography and LOVE it! I've had some really fun clients. I just did my nieces wedding it Utah and am excited to continue with it. Both Steven and I are planning on going back to school, and see where it takes us. We are currently looking to buy our first house (wish us luck!!) Things are good with us. I'm finding out more and more things arise from the time with my mom that I need to address and work through, I hope in the next few months to get into counseling to help me. (hence the title) Im hoping with this new year I can start a new me, I'm 26, I need to enjoy my life, not worry about it! Cross your fingers that this can happen and I can get the help I need! :) I also need to work better on this blog!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time heals...right?

I've struggled with how to write about the months I spent with my mom. I still dont know how to talk about it. But it's been a few months since I updated and the longer I take the harder it will be for me. If you know me well enough you know that its extremely hard for me to talk about things close to me, truely close to my heart. And the pain of losing my mom is so extremely close to my heart that at times its hard to breathe, I don't like talking about it. Its too hard and painful. Stay with me because I have no idea what I am going to talk about.
-Tissue (Check)
-Journal (Check)
-Josh Groban in my ear (Check)
       Oh yeah.... I'm going to cry, luckily no make up today :) gotta stay positive.

I struggle when people tell me that they understand what I am going through. Every circumstance is different and its hard for me to listen to people who weren't there tell me they understand. I always knew I would lose my mother at a young age, at least younger then most my friends. She had me when she was 40, but to lose her at the age of 25?!?! I was supposed to have at least another 25 years with her. When I got the call that she had cancer, I didnt believe it. I was shocked and to me it just couldnt be.

I knew something was wrong when I didnt get a call for my birthday. My mom called and talked to Chloe on her birthday just days earlier and sounded fine, tired but nothing abnormal. But this year was different. No call, and she never missed, even when she was serisouly sick in 2006 she somehow found the strength to call and leave me a message on my birthday. But the day wasn't going well at all anyways, Steven was sick and instead of buying stuff for a birthday present I spent money on medicine for him and some for Chloe to prevent her getting sick. I rented movies and bought me some sherbert, and that was my birthday. When I called to see if everything was alright, my mom couldn't talk. To be honest I was hurt even a little upset that my mom didn't call on my birthday, and I hate the fact that I felt that way. I knew something was wrong, and it wasn't until days later that I found out why. My mom hated hopsitals/doctors, and for her to stay overnight was a big deal, we found out saturday  September 17, that my mom had cancer. After living within a hour of my family my entire life, Steven and I moved to Texas not more than 5-6 weeks earlier. My mind went crazy, why now? Why did we have to move right before finding this out? I didn't understand why I couldn't be there. Yet at the same time, I was sure that we had gotten the right answer and so I was okay with knowing the Lord had his plans. I packed Chloe and myself up and we came up with my brother and his young family (3 kids under the age of 4 for a 24 hour drive) we took 3 days to get there. When I first got there I didnt know what to expect or how to act. But when we walked in that room my moms face lit up with the biggest grin. She was so happy to see us and she raised her arm in indication of a hug and when I bent over to hug her she just held me. Through out the later months thats how most of our hugs were, she would just hold me. The first time I was to help change her, I felt weird and it was hard. But as I grew used to it and knowing how private my mom was and the fact that she was allowing us to do this for her, moved me in a way that changed how I look at different things. As my siblings started to leave and go home and get back to I guess"normal" life I became one of the main caretakers, which was hard having a two year old to deal with and worries of Steven back in Texas with no work and no clue how to pay bills. But each night I would pray like never before, mostly crying to the Lord and each morning I would get up and get to work. I had some fantastic babysitters that helped when I needed it the most. Chloe was a big help during this time, on the roughest of days when I would be pouring my heart out to the Lord, crying so hard because of the pain in my chest and my heart breaking, she would simply put her hand on my knee or give me a hug and ask if I was ok, or say "i 2" which was her way of saying I love you. Soon after losing Steven's grandma Steven gave me a blessing and in that blessing it stated that Chloe would help me through some hard trials ahead or something along those lines and at the time I thought it had to do with our next child because I was hoping to get pregnant. Well it did and didnt have to do with that. Because Chloe helped me through the pain and I dont know what I would have done without her there, and at the time of everything going on I struggled with not being pregnant or the ability to get pregnant (before this happened my mom and I would talk about how we were both baby hungry, me for a child and her for a grandchild) so when I found out about the cancer I only wanted to give her that one thing to be able to say "I'm pregnant" I know she will know when I get pregnant, she's probably already talked to my future kids. It is still hard not to have been able to have that chance to tell her. Chloe still helps me through that pain, because I have a fantastic child who at times drives me bonkers but who I wouldnt trade for the world. She is my little angel from above!
My mom would come and go, and by that I mean there were good days and bad days, days where she would look at me with a blank expression and not have a clue at what I was saying or doing, she was truely like a little child at times and yet other times when the twinkle in her eye was there and brighter then ever. She helped me more then I helped her in those months. She knew what I needed and when I needed it. A hug a half smile even something as simple as a hand squeeze, helped me so much. I dont know when it happened but I know I changed and grew in those months, I cant pin point when the change happened, but it did. I love more, before I took for granted the eternal bond between Steven and I, the sacredness of being a mother. Now I make sure both parties know of my love for them, which if you know me you know I struggle to show and tell of my love for people. I feel closer to the Lord, at times I scream and punch pillows with my building frustrations but at the end I kneel and pray. My mom had the strongest testimony of anyone I knew and I just hope I can have that some day. I continue to work at it. I went to the Temple more so in those months than any other year before, I struggled to go to the Temple before and now not so much, I go. I feel the most peace when I'm there. Sadly I am 45 minutes away instead of the 10 before, so take my advice go as much as possible!
I had a few very special friends help me through that time and because of that I am forever grateful. Thanksgiving day week my mom was fantastic, talking, laughing, joking, she was my mom. It was a gift from Heavenly Father that I will forever treasure. I knew it was a gift from him and that she was indeed dying because on Thanksgiving my mom wasn't eating alot and so I asked her why and her response was " I dont know" it hit me then that her body was indeed dying and that that time was a gift from the Lord to us. Every time I prayed during those months I prayed to have my mom back even for a moment, a moment that we could talk like before and I could just have my mom back. I got that wish, and so did the rest of the family. The last words that I said to my mom was "I hope you know how much I love you" she looked at me and said "I know" I then said goodnight and went to bed. This was Sunday the 27. Woke up on the 28 and she was in a coma like state, barely waking for anything. Not eating or drinking. We knew then that things had turned and it wouldn't be long before she passed. The day of the 30 was just like the other 2 days, it was as if she was in a coma. Still breathing, just nothing else. That afternoon I came upstairs to watch a movie with Emily, Taylor(a niece) Kayleen (sister in law) in my moms room, we were going to watch "What the deaf man heard" It was one of my moms favorites and ours as well. Before we turned it on we decided to sing to another niece Abby in Texas for her birthday. My mom was in the background snoring away during the song. Afterwards we were joking and laughing with each other and I played the movie. When Kayleen turned to me and said "Rachel, I dont hear your mom" I jumped off my seat and ran over to wear my mom lay. I expected her to start breathing again, like she had done all the time. But she didnt, I put my hand on her chest and it didnt move. I told my niece to go get Emily and my dad and when Emily rushed in I said "Mom's gone" she checked and agreed. The rest is a blur, we called the nurse and the family, once the nurse came we gave my mom one final bath and dressed her in one of her favorite dresses.
The people that helped us through this process were and are amazing, the nurses, the mortuary, the ward, etc. They truely were our angels. The Mortuary did an amaing job, my mom looked beautiful. The next few days family arrived and we put together the funeral arragements. We picked blue and white flowers with yellow accents. My moms favorite color was blue. We went to the temple, which she would have been extremely proud of me for doing. I know she would have been there, I sometimes wish I would feel her.
She loved her family and was blessed with a big family that all loved her very much. I was one of the lucky speakers at the funeral. Me and my sister tag teamed her life history and it was a very moving and spiritual experience. After the funeral before we went to the grave site two of my close friends came to me and mentioned the picture of my mom (as a senior in high school) and how we shared the same smile. Which to me is the best compliment ever given to me. My moms smile lit up rooms and to be told that I have that smile, lit up my world.
 A week after the funeral, the day after Steven and I flew home with Chloe we had to pack up our rental home. Steven hadn't been able to find a job and we couldnt pay rent anymore, so we packed everything into a storage shed and moved to the upstairs media room in my brothers house. At as hard as it is at times we are blessed to have it. (even if Chloe sleeps 2 feet away; and we share a bathroom and upstairs with 4 teenagers/pre teens :D) Steven works at RaceTrac now, its a gas station chain down here, he is doing well and they keep telling him hes managment material, but as our past as shown, they are empty promises until they show us. He has applied for different police/ correctional jobs but nothing yet. It's hard and at times seemly impossible. Steven feels beat a lot of the time, I feel beaten a lot of the time...and Chloe well she likes to beat us :D just kidding. She is a two and half year old that has an attitude that pushes every button possible and when you think you're going to explode does the cutest most sweetest things, I love my family and as we struggle we grow ( I hope at least, or this is one bad joke!!!) Anyways thats our catch up, hope I didnt lose you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I turn to you...

When I was in high school the song "I turn to you" by Christina Aguilera reminded me of my mom and I had it as her ringtone for the longest time. This song as well as Celine Dion's "Because you love me" are two songs that through out my life have made me think of my mom! I love her dearly and I wanted to share the songs and lyrics with you.

I Turn To You

When I'm lost in the rain,
In your eyes I know
I'll find the light to light my way
And when I'm scared, losing ground
When my world is going crazy
You can turn it all around and when I'm down you're there
Pushing me to the top
You're always there, giving me all you've got

For a shield from the storm
For a friend
For a love to keep me safe and warm
I turn to you
For the strength to be strong
For the will to carry on
For everything you do
For everything that's true
I turn to you

When I lose the will to win
I just reach for you
And I can reach the sky again
I can do anything
'Cause your love is so amazing
'Cause your love inspires me
And when I need a friend
You're always on my side
Giving me faith, taking me through the night.


For the arms to be my shelter
Through all the rain
For truth that will never change
For someone to lean on
For a heart I can rely on through anything
For the one who I can run to...


Because you loved me.

For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I’ll be forever thankful baby
You’re the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You’re the one who saw me through
Through it all.

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ’coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me.

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch The sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all
I’m greatful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don’t know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was
Loved by you.

You were my strenght when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ’coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me.

You were always there for me
The tender wind that carried me
A light in the dark shinning your love Into my life
You’ve been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faiht ’coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me.

Thank you Mom, for everything!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A little Halloween...

Yesterday Chloe and I went up to Steven's familys house for dinner and carving pumpkins. It was a lot of fun and Chloe loved playing with her cousins! She also loved playing with the pumpkin guts :D

 "What's in there?"
 Yeah...I cut my hair again...cheesy smile!
This was on the way home, I thought it was pretty cool with the moon and all.

The day my world came crashing down!

I took parts of this from my sister's facebook, but its the whole story of whats going on right now.

My mom has cancer.

What kind or where you ask? She has 5 tumors on her brain, 2 in her lungs, her kidney, and the doctors suspect her bones and blood. They told us 3-4 months.

5 years ago my mom was told that she had kidney cancer. This was based off of one CAT scan. All other tests done at the time didn’t show cancer anywhere else. She was treated and a couple of years ago, she had blood work done and nothing came up on that either. We thought we were in the clear.

In January/February she decided to do some remodel type work on her bedroom. She tore up the carpet and started sanding the wood floor beneath it. The walls had wood paneling on it and we took that off to discover layers of paint and wallpaper. She started scraping that off but found it to be quite the job. My brother assessed the situation and decided to step in. They took down the old wall boards and but up new stuff. The room looks pretty great. However, a few months later, my mom found out she had lead poisoning, we’re assuming from the paint she scraped off the walls as well as the wood flooring she sanded. All summer she has been pretty sick with this. She lost a lot of weight and had no energy. Communicating was frustrating to her because she would lose her train of thought. At some points I was shocked to see that in some ways, she was like a small child. Turns out, she also suffered a stroke.

While receiving medical treatment through all of this, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago, September 16th, that she went into get a heart murmur checked out. The doctor she saw about that was quite alarmed and sent her to the ER. They didn’t see anything bad about the heart murmur, but did a CAT scan, MRI, and who knows what else. They found the tumors on her brain, in her lungs, kidney, etc. Saturday, September 17th, they told us “About 3-4 months.”

What a roller coaster ride it’s been since then, although this past week, things seems to have calmed a bit. She is at home, unable to get out of bed. We have hospice keeping tabs on her. My aunt, my mom’s older sister, has been staying with us helping with her care. My mom tells us, although very limited in being about to communicate, that she wants to live. She wants to fight it. She wants to prove the doctors wrong. So we support that. She always needs to have someone with her, so my sisters and I have been trading times sleeping in the same room and just being with her. My brothers have been great in coming by to be with her and spending time with my dad.
This is why I have come back to Utah. I'm not sure how long I will stay but the time being I am one of the caregivers, I do what needs to be done. I have Chloe with me so at times my ability to do alot has been limited because of caring for Chloe but I have been blessed with babysitters at times, during the day I take care of my mom with my aunt, during the night I turn back into mommy, and sometimes its both parts at the same time for all day.

It's hard to be here and see my mom knowing whats going on in her body, at times I can't breathe because of the overwhelming pain of it all. I dont want to lose my mom, she was been my best friend since before I was born. She is the most amazing woman I know, with unwaivoring faith I hope to have some day. But I know it's not the end, no matter how long she has here, I will see her again. As much as it kills thinking of her dying it hurts more thinking of her in any pain or discomfort, and we have been blessed  with very little pain. Thank You Heavenly Father! She has some really great days and for that I am grateful!

Being away from Steven has been hard especially with everything hitting us down there as well, at times it is hard to think of everything going on and how we are even going to get through it. But my parents taught me well and I will do my best to trust the Lord and rely on him.

Right now I just need some really good friends and alot of prayers. Thank you.

Chloe holding my moms hand. My mom loves when Chloe comes and lays with her or holds her hands, its the cutest thing! Chloe really brightens up the day. She smiles big when Chloe says "Grandma" or "I love you" my mom says it back with a big smile! And my mom's smile lights up the room! Especially when it reaches her eyes. Chloe loves her grandma alot!
My mom at full health, January 1, 2007.

Love you mom!