Sunday, January 29, 2012
I cannot say that I was a perfect dieter during this post surgery/stress time.. I am NOT saying that.. But my body does go into a form of survival and I gain weight EASILY.. I have found the ONLY way to end this madness is to RADICALLY change my habits.. I have found in the past that I cant do ANYTHING but the HCG diet.. No shakes, no low carb, nothing works except for the HCG diet.. I do believe that the HCG diet does renew my hypothalamus and it also cleanses my system and gets my habits realigned.. So, I ordered some drops Friday and I will start as soon as they come in.. So, here's to a NEW ME in 7 weeks.. Wish me luck!!
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
I couldnt help but feel MORE guilt while Mama was dying because our brother wasnt there.. But, I also knew that he would probably NOT cooperate with the whole situation..and THAT would have been awful for everyone.. But, in my heart, I felt terrible for him.. This was his mother.. Boys have that special bond with their mothers.. Even autistic boys.. lol Apparently he cared because he was acting out.. After Mama died, Daddy called his house where he lived and informed the people that worked there about Mama's death.. They opted to not tell my brother and to wait until Daddy got him on Friday for him to tell him.. The funeral was the next day.. We were all unsure of how he would react to the news..
Daddy decided to do everything that he normally does when he picks him up which was getting him McDonald's hamburgers and fries and letting him eat them when he first got home.. He asked my sister and I if we could be there for when he told him, so we could all be together.. It was a great idea and so we were all there, including Steve.. Daddy brought Jimbo in and we hugged him.. He knew something was up but he went and ate his hamburgers and fries.. Daddy called him upstairs when he was finished.. Once he was upstairs, Daddy told him that Mama had died and that she was living with Jesus.. He told him the next day they were going to get up and go to church and go to Mama's funeral and that we were all going to be ok.. Jimbo's eyes teared up and he said "ok" and then ran downstairs.. I followed him and he started gagging.. It was such an emotional moment.. My autistic brother even reacted to Mama's death.. We were all crying.. It was extremely powerful.. So, I know for a fact, that even if he cannot verbalize that he is upset, he DOES feel it and if it is something as horrific as a parent dying he WILL react in some way..
Daddy said that later that night, Jimbo went to bed like he normally does, but Mama wasnt there for him to give her a kiss to.. Daddy said on the way up the stairs that Jimbo paused and looked for her, then went upstairs.. Thats kind of like how I would think " I need to call Mama" after she died.. It was a part of my life that I almost did daily.. It took a long time for me to get to where I didnt automatically think about that.. I guess thats why I feel so empty at times.. Death is FINAL.. But, it cant take away memories..
One thing Mama loved was going to the beach as a family.. She didnt like to get in the water, but she would sit under an umbrella and just take it all in.. And at night, we would all sit outside, drink come fruity drinks and listen to the boys play their guitars and watch then flirt with girls.. We also enjoyed watching my sister's kids play too.. Alot of family fun.. Sometimes, Mama would make sure we had reservations for the next year even.. She told us the month before she died that she wanted us to go to the beach for Tyler's graduation and that she would wave to us from the water.. lol
So to lighten the mood, Daddy started talking about the beach.. My sister and I had both discussed that we werent sure if we could go to the same place and the same beach and stay there and not be emotional wrecks so we were going to see if we could change the venue but we hadnt discussed it with Daddy yet and we were NOT going to pick now to do it either.. lol.. While we were talking about the beach, Mama started stirring again, and she was reacting a bit to what we were talking about.. That was when I decided we were going to stay where we had in the past because it meant THAT MUCH to Mama that she stirred from death's door because it made her so happy.. But, soon after, she went back to the mechanical breathing and gray eyes..
Another interesting moment happened a little while later, while my sister and I were discussing what Mama would be doing in heaven.. She told us she was going to be a greeter in heaven a few weeks back and so my sister said that again.. All of a sudden, out of the blue, the power went out.. COMPLETELY.. There were no storms, no wind.. The power just went OUT.. I RAN out of the room, freaking out, screaming " THIS IS NOT FUNNY!!!! STOP MESSING WITH ME!!!! STOP IT!!!!!" then the power came back on.. I was bawling and my husband was in the next room looking at me like I was PSYCHO.. lol Look, I was a little "on edge" from all the days activities so this reaction to a power failure was exactly what would be expected from me.. LOL My sister STILL laughs about this.. On Christmas Eve, we were all gathered as a family at my sister's house and the power started flickering.. Immediately, my sister looked at me and laughed.. I told her if the power went out, I was LEAVING.. lol
As the priest went through the last rites, my sister and I stood at the foot of the bed, hugging each other and BAWLING.. Daddy was holding Mama's hand and she was actually PARTICIPATING in her last rites!! She even told the priest "Thank You", which made me wonder if she was really dying.. lol I realize now that she was using most of her strength to do this.. I have read that before death, sometimes people get a rush of energy and can do things they normally couldnt do.. This must have been one of her times.. Soon after this, Mama complained of pain and my sister, who is a nurse, had to give her some morphine.. We also knew that once she administered this morphine that Mama would most likely slip into sleep and more than likely die.. Atleast she wasnt fighting it, is what I kept telling myself.. She will go to sleep and never wake up.. Better than dying wide awake, right?
This all took place while the kids and Steve and my sister's husband and their kids were in the den, which was in the next room.. I can only imagine what they could hear.. Todd said it was just really sad.. This is where I now think " wow.. we did all of this and they were all in the next room hearing it?" I was totally oblivious to that fact during the time.. This next moment was also on that list of "wow, I cant believe we were so oblivious and this actually happened".. Aside from the fact that we hadnt eaten all day, FOOD was the LAST THING on my mind.. But it was on everyone else's mind.. Daddy and Charlea decided that we needed to order pizza.. I couldnt made any decisions because I could barely speak English in complete sentences at this point, at times.. So, they decided to order pizza and used money my mother had saved in a stash she had in the living room..lol Daddy told her that SHE bought dinner for everyone and we all said : "Thanks Mawmaw!" and she smiled and nodded her head.. "Daddy said " She is still in charge" and she answered with a small laugh "yep".. All the kids came in and kissed MawMaw and told her they loved her.. and she perked up enough to tell them she loved them too.. Thinking back, THIS was HORRIBLE.. Not horrible as in a horrible deed.. It was just emotionally horrible.. I cant believe that we lined up all the grandkids (except for Whit because he already said bye the day before) and one by one, they said bye.. Talk about emotionally draining.. I will NEVER forget my nephew and niece's faces.. They looked confused.. I was confused.. It was all a dream, it seemed.. We were only doing what we thought we should do.. We didnt want anyone to feel they didnt get to tell her bye..After this was when my sister administered her some morphine and everything became a movie to me..
My mother was surrounded by me, my sister and my dad after she was given her medicine and she started to relax a bit.. She looked at me and my sister and said something that was barely audible.. But I made it out.. She said " Thank you" to us.. I still dont know what she was thanking us for.. I guess for being there for her? But it was a beautiful and powerful moment.. The next thing she did was look over to Daddy, who had been her fearless caretaker, an angel with skin, as my sister called him.. She looked at him with the sweetest look and once again said something barely audible.. My Dad and sister teared up, because they heard what she said, because they were closer.. My sister leaned over to me and said " She just said : GOODBYE MY LOVE".. This was one of the most precious moments I have ever witnessed.. Saddest too.. I was so glad that I didnt chicken out and stay away, like I wanted to.. But, I am now left with picking up the pieces of my emotions that were left in that room that day.. Mama didnt die until the next morning, and interesting enough, she waited until my sister and I had gone home.. I think she did that to spare me what I went through with my grandmother.. She knew how much it upset me when I was younger.. I thank her for that.. My next entry will be a few interesting and funny moments plus my autistic brothers reaction to our mother's death..
That day started out exactly like I figured it would.. I was worried that Mama was going to be worse that day than she was the day before.. I was right.. Daddy comfirmed it.. This is when I shared with Steve that I didnt think she would live past the weekend for sure.. I wanted the younger 2 kids to not go to school and come with us to her house but we were not SURE if she was going to die.. This is when I started feeling guilty.. I felt that everything was based upon IF Mama was dying.. I sent the boys to school but I took off and when Steve came home from work, we headed over to my parents house..
I remember feeling alot of anxiety before we got there and was VERY worried about what awaited us, once we got there.. I remember having to take a deep breath before going into the house.. I entered the house and IMMEDIATELY was hit with an odor.. I couldnt place it.. I realize later it was the smell of imminent death.. Once my mother died, the smell was gone.. Very strange.. But it is what happened..
Once I walked in and got past the smell, I found out the hospice nurse was upstairs with Mama and was changing her clothes and checking her vitals.. She met with me and Daddy afterwards and broke down while telling us that she felt that Mama was probably not going to make it through the weekend.. Her body was showing signs that it was shutting down.. I dont even remember crying.. I guess I teared up and was in shock and then went into survival mode.. It was then that Steve said " Call Pelham High School and tell them to let Tyler and Todd leave".. That, in itself, was a chore, as I was not there to check them out and they wouldnt allow them to leave unless someone checked them out.. THIS WAS NO TIME FOR RULES!!! Thats how I felt, atleast.. I finally found Whit and had him check them out.. He told me he had already told MawMaw bye and didnt want to come.. I totally understood.. I didnt want him scarred, like I had been, when my grandmother died.. Tyler and Todd both wanted to come see mawmaw one more time and once they were allowed to leave, they rushed over to the house..
I also had to call my sister, who was at work.. She was SO SCARED she would be at work and miss saying goodbye to Mama.. I let her know what the nurse said and she was off of work by 3 and was also at their house.. Her husband brought their children as well.. So there we all were.. Not really realizing that we were all there, about to say goodbye to Mawmaw and waiting for her to die.. But at the same time, we knew.. This is where I become very aware now that SURVIVAL MODE had taken over because we went through so many emotional moments that night.. When I look back now, I cant even fathom how awful and sad it all was.. But we DID it.. We all managed to make a few happy moments out of the most horrific day in our lives so far.. ALL of us..I will blog about those happy moments in my next entry..
When I got to my parents house, my sister was there.. Daddy had gone to the store to pick up some supplies.. Mama was very happy to see me and Steve and really lit up when Whit and Drew came to see her.. She immediately started talking about how they needed to work on the song she had written.. Her voice was getting more and more hoarse and weak at this point.. We all knew she wouldnt be working on any song, but the boys were so sweet.. They both just stood there and said " yes ma'am".. And even discussed what they wanted to do with the song, just to appease her.. It made her feel good.. After a while, we left the boys alone with Mawmaw so they could visit.. I realized later that Whit and Drew were basically saying their "goodbyes"..
Ok.. here are my favorite memories of Whit and Drew.. First memory: We had been in the living room, talking and left Drew alone with Mama.. Steve went in to check on them and he found Drew sitting next to the bed, holding Mama's hand, just chatting.. It brought her alot of peace.. Drew was so sweet to do that.. He called her MawMaw, and had for like 4 years.. He was one of MawMaw's "adopted" grandsons.. He was even invited to the beach with the family, 2 years in a row, until Mama was diagnosed with cancer.. I found this moment very moving..
Another moment was when Whit went into her room, all by himself.. Whit is ALOT like me, when it comes to dealing with things.. He was in a denial of sorts, like me.. And he didnt like to discuss the whole "death" thing.. It took ALOT for him to go in there and basically say goodbye to his MawMaw.. Whit was her oldest grandchild.. They had been through alot.. Mama would fondly recall the time we were all snowed in during the "Blizzard of 1993" when Whit was almost 3.. He was driving her nuts because we were snowed in and he wanted to basically JUMP off her stairs that led up to the den.. LOL She fussed at Whit and he went up to "G"(daddy) and said in his cute little 3 yr old voice " I dont yike MawMaw" to which MawMaw exclaimed " Well I dont like you very much right now either!!!" HAHAHA This was ALSO the time Whit would stand on the steps and say " Doo doo MawMaw doo-doo MawMaw".. LOL He loved to irritate.. We even laughed about it during her last few weeks.. I have no idea what was said between Whit and Mawmaw when he sat beside her but I do remember him saying "Whats up Mawmaw?" in a very nervous sounding voice.. He did very good with his emotions and I KNOW it made Mama feel good knowing he came over to see her.. Moments like this made me very proud of my son and THANKFUL he got to do this..
The main reason for my visit that day was because my Dad had to go to the doctor for a check up because he had a cough and was battling a cold.. Stress induced, im sure.. He couldnt leave Mama alone this time.. Especially since she couldnt get up and walk.. If she tried, she could really hurt herself.. So, I told him Id come over and we would entertain her.. I was really nervous about it because I didnt know what would be said or what would happen.. Steve and Tyler both came too.. Mama was sitting on the couch when we got there.. She looked so tired but perked up when she saw us.. We sat there and just chatted.. It was when Steve asked Mama this question, that the whole attitude shifted from WEIRD to WONDERFUL.. I am so thankful for Steve asking her this question.. He asked " Cathy, when you get to where you are going, what is the one person you are most excited to see?" I, of course, would have NEVER asked my mother that, because I was in DENIAL.. lol I expected Mama to say " my mother" or "my parents".. But that wasnt her answer.. She smiled so sweetly and brightly and said " Jesus".. It was SO TOUCHING to hear this.. She was sad she was going to leave us but was SO HAPPY she was going to get to see Jesus.. AMAZING..
We spent the rest of the afternoon going through hers and Daddy's record collection and introduced Tyler to what records sounded like.. lol He had no idea what the turntable was.. LOL We played a Jose Feliciano record and there was a song on it and it was SO MOVING that my mother wept while it was playing.. I went to turn it off, because I thought it was upsetting her and she said " NO!!!! Its beautiful!!!" So we let it play through.. EVERYONE was in tears.. It was very moving.. I think this is where Mama realized she would miss moments like these once she was gone.. or maybe it was ME that realized this? Either way, this is ONE memory I wont forget..
Why guilt? I felt like such a wimp the weeks that proceeded my mother's death.. It goes back to 1987, when my grandmother died.. This was my father's mother, who had died on October 29th that year from recurring cancer.. She had also had a stroke 3 years before and was in a nursing home.. I watched her demise as well, but not nearly as close as I watched my own mother's.. I was only 17 and it was all about ME anyway, back then.. I did get the feeling the night that she died that THIS was the night.. I HAD to stay at the nursing home.. I was the only grandchild that was there.. I even had an argument with Mama that evening.. She accused me of wanting to stay there because I didnt want to go to school the next day.. lol I cant fault her for that because I am a mom too and I understand why.. haha But I told her it was a FEELING I had and felt the need to stay.. I stayed and while I was there I ALMOST witnessed my grandmother's LAST BREATH.. I was in the room with her, my dad and my 2 aunts.. She stopped breathing for a couple of seconds and the nurse even said "She's gone", but then she gasped for air and was back.. It was then that I freaked out and told my dad "I can't handle this..".. Daddy understood and I left the room.. She died a few minutes later, while I was on the phone with my mother..
These memories stayed with me ever since.. I had a good bit of anxiety over it afterwards.. This is what I thought of the last few weeks Mama was alive.. I remember crying on the phone with my sister.. She said "Well Michelle, maybe you shouldn't be there when Mama dies.." I totally agreed with her but told her I would gauge the situation as it happened.. At one point, I do believe I felt that I shouldn't be there because of this anxiety..
But there I was, in survival mode, right beside my mother's bed.. Which, by the way, was a hospital bed, that was set up in my OLD ROOM.. MY old bedroom.. The one that had posters of Rick Springfield, Duran Duran and Billy Idol all over the walls when I was a kid.. It now had a hospital bed in it, with my dying mom lying in it, while my dad, my sister, and I were holding vigil by her side.. It felt kind of sick to me.. We were basically sitting around, waiting for Mama to die.. I felt HORRIBLE for that.. But, I also didnt want my mother to die ALONE.. I felt a ton of guilt.. I didnt want my mother to die.. EVER.. But here I was, WAITING for her to.. I truly believe this is where most of my guilt comes from.. I know my mother would NEVER have faulted me for this.. But, I feel bad and I have to let this guilt go..
Also, I remember feeling guilty because, once I was there, I was filled with SO MUCH ANXIETY and really didnt want to be there.. I would cry and cry, while holding my mother's hand.. She was in and out of consciousness at this point but I couldnt help but wonder if she KNEW how upset I was and if that upset her too? My mother tried to protect us from her dying as much as she could.. 11 days before she died, she APOLOGIZED for dying and making my sister and I cry, when we discussed her funeral and "after party" as she called it.. It didnt feel right, planning this "party" for Mama, even though she wasnt going to be there.. It was MESSED UP..
Guilt, guilt and more guilt.. I still feel guilt because I can no longer visit the house that my Dad is living in, because Mama died there.. I know I will have to face this eventually.. Probably sooner than later.. I think my next blog entry is going to be about memories that stick in my head about the day my mother died.. They have stayed with me because they were extremely moving..
The feeling that I was referring to earlier really puzzled me and upset me when I first started having it.. I know for a fact my mother existed, DUH, because I wouldnt be here if she didnt.. So I am not saying she actually never existed.. This is just my verbal interpretation of the epitome of emptiness and finality..It started the week after mama died.. I remember going to her house and it just enveloped me.. It hit me then- the last time I was in this house it was full of sadness and drama and now it was just empty..Quiet..No drama.. Like nothing had ever happened.. This is where I got the feeling that Mama never existed.. Like I said before, I knew she existed.. But this emotion overwhelmed me so much.. I havent been back to my parents house since and still dont want to visit..I know one day I will but right now I cannot even think about it.. It makes my stomach hurt and gives me a headache..
The drama I am referring to during the last week is all I could remember, particularly the last 48 hours of Mama's life here on earth..When I look back on those last few days, I cant believe I actually lived through it.. It is extremely emotionally draining and traumatic watching someone's body slowly shutting down, especially when you are close to them.. Mama used to call this "survival mode" and we were thick in it.. I am still in it.. I want to get out of it but I dont think I will get out of it until I am fully aware of my emotions and my feelings and are at peace.. It is obvious I am not at peace because my body is so out of whack.. I am more out of whack right now than I was after giving birth.. I am up 20 pounds and I feel like I am dealing with PTSD.. Sometimes I think I think too much, other times I think I dont think at all.. I am either all in or not in at all.. Survival Mode..
I spent the first few weeks after Mama's death trying to figure out WHY her body shut down the way it did.. She seemed to get worse with every passing week and then finally, the last week, she got worse on a daily basis.. We visited her on Sunday, she was walking with little assistance, Tuesday she was on the couch and was only walking with assistance, Thursday she was completely bedridden and Saturday at 6:30 AM she died.. Thursday before Mama died, I brought Whit and his friend Drew to visit her.. She was so happy to see them and kept talking to them about working on her song she wrote.. It was very sweet, almost like she wanted them to think she wasnt going anywhere.. They just agreed with her, even though they knew she was dying.. It was a very sweet thing they were doing for her.. We all did this for her.. I guess the greatest gift we could give Mama was letting her THINK we were ok with her dying, even though we werent.. It helped ease her mind.. Sadly, in doing this, I didnt realize that I was in denial.. I was trying to be strong for Mama.. I didnt even like talking about her dying.. I know I couldnt handle it then and STILL am having trouble.. It is wreaking havok on me, mentally, emotionally and physically now.. BUT, I wouldnt change it for the world.. This was one of the greatest gifts I could give my mom..
So, where do I go from here? I am unsure.. Maybe purging all of my memories and emotions will help me see it all, maybe even cry some.. I rarely cry about it.. I have had a few meltdowns but they go away almost as quickly as they come.. My poor husband thinks I am nuts.. I am, in a sense..I guess.. lol
Sunday, January 8, 2012
It doesn't help that I had my ovaries removed back in June, 3 months before my mom died.. As a matter of fact, my mom was there, with her cute little short hair, HELPING ME, the day of my surgery... It was June 7th... She was beginning her radiation therapy... I had no clue that her radiation was for "palliative" reasons...This basically meant that she was doing radiation now because her cancer had spread all over her body and it was only a matter of time before it would kill her but that the radiation would prolong her life a little and make her FEEL better... All I was told was that the doctors told my mom that she could live for YEARS basically fighting each occurance as it came but that she would be ok... I was an idiot for thinking this..
One reason I was an idiot is because my mother was NOT a young woman anymore.. Even though she appeared healthy, minus her hair, she was frail from all the chemo and now the radiation... Looking back now, she really didn't look as robust and healthy as I thought she did during the time.. She looked tired... I am sure I grew accustomed to this look and it became her new norm..
Another reason I was an idiot was because I didn't pay attention to all the signs that she was getting worse.. It kind of hit a passing lane on the road to her untimely death.. Cancer decided to pull a fast one on her.. It had been following pretty closely, like an annoying tailgater on Hwy 261, when coming back from Pelham High School.. Then suddenly, it sped up and rode beside my mother, teasing us with the whole " am I going to pass you or am I going to fall back behind you?"game.. I guess we were at this point in June, when I had my surgery..
My mother was such a trooper.. She was there, BY MY SIDE after my surgery bringing me ice chips.. She was basically FORCING ice chips down my throat and then trying to make me go to the bathroom.. Haha. I had no idea this was the last time my mom would be taking "care" of me.. I look back and feel so thankful that I had this special time with my mother.. Sadly, this is about the time that cancer decided to FLOOR IT and started its attempt to pass my mother and cut her off as it took over the road in front of her..
I have been still kind of in DENIAL mode when it comes to my own mother's death.. It started out about the week after she died.. I had this REALLY WEIRD feeling that she never existed.. I mean, I KNEW she existed.. DUH, I wouldn't be here if she hadn't.. But, when I thought about her, I would just feel an emptiness that I couldn't explain..I guess it took the form of feeling that she never existed.. All I could see was her poor sweet little body shutting down in front of me while I sat there, completely helpless.. I sort of felt at the time like I shouldn't even be there because it felt kind of sick to me.. Her body was shutting down and I was watching her.. I realize now that she wanted us all there.. No one wants to die ALONE.. But I sort of felt like I was invading her privacy a bit.. My mother was not like me.. She didn't broadcast her life on the internet.. LOL
In typical MICHELLE fashion, I am having to put this moment to the side and deal with LIFE for a minute.. I will hopefully be back in a few to keep going through my dealing process.. Right now I have to go pick my son up from a friends house because he said, and I quote, "Can you come get me? I'm hungry and I don't wanna eat their house down." And you wonder why I have YET to deal with my mom's death.. Every time I try, LIFE interferes.. LOL
Monday, January 2, 2012
I realized this, once again, on Christmas Eve when I had been stuffing emotions and the such for a while.. We had a party at my sister's house and I stayed away from everyone and wasn't very social, which is VERY unlike me..Later that night, while I laid in bed, I felt so helpless and my heart was racing.. My husband started getting worried.. I told him this is the result of me not dealing with emotions..So, I guess it is time.. I am tired of the emotional roller coaster I am on and it is wreaking havok on my body as well.. I have gained about 15 pounds since my mom died.. It's time to take back my life.. And my body.. lol Sick of feeling LUMPY..So, a New Year and a NEW Michelle..