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.
-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.