Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Living Lessons #5 Life can be enjoyed

We are coming on one year since our Mom's passing.  It's hard to believe.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about her, still having pangs in my heart.  I'm sure that's normal.  Please allow me to reminisce.

When a loved one is hurting, you hurt.  Plain and simple. When you know your loved one is dying, that hurt can reach a level that can consume and overwhelm you to the point of missing out on enjoyable moments in the midst of the pain. Living lesson #5:  In the midst of that pain, look for those moments. It could be something seemingly insignificant, but something you will cherish forever.

The following are some of those cherishable moments.

For Christmas my brother Jerry brought a little tree. My sister Reva strung garland and also strung all of her Christmas cards across the room above the foot of her bed. The staff commented that Miss Marilyn's room was the most festive! While my brother Jeff was visiting from Idaho and before Thanksgiving, Reva wrapped presents and just the four of us played the fun gift exchange game, so Jeff could celebrate Christmas with his Mom. He ended up with a cute pink tank top! Mom ended up with some camping hot dog skewers. The gifts weren't the point. The fellowship was.

My brother Jeff was able to stay for three weeks. I know he and Mom had sweet moments together. Because he spent most of his time with Mom, there were times when we would try to help her with something but she'd say, "No, let Jeff.  He knows how I like it."  Well! :)

Enjoyable moments.

My brother Jack brought his compositions/renditions of easy-listening piano music, playing them quietly as we would visit. He also put together his piano rendition of Silent Night on dvd for their Christmas 'card' and later another music video/slide show of our family when we were kiddos. Mom enjoyed watching it together several times just days before she passed.  He would also minister to her reading from the devotional, Jesus Calling.  

My sister-in-law Mary was dubbed the Heavenly Foot Massager! Her and Jack would come down every weekend. Mary would massage Mom's feet, usually a couple of times a day. Mom would be in heaven! They had fun times planning Mary's new 'business' and figuring good names for it.

Even one-on-one moments with each of her kids were individually special, though hard at times. I know I had a good last private visit/farewell with my Mom before she slipped away. It was such a personal experience that I will forever hold dear to my heart.

My youngest brother Jerry, the mountain climber, spent as much 'free' time with Mom as he could, especially her last month.  He was able to be there comforting Mom until her last breath.  She inspired in him to begin 14ers for Cancer, a non-profit organization that benefits several charitable organizations.  

My brother Jimbo would have good, quality conversations with Mom helping her cope with her pain and anxiety, his new wife Lisa, with her sweet demeanor, stepping in to support her husband as well as bringing encouragement to her new mother-in-law.

Reva helped Mom with the hard task of tackling final arrangements once she realized she wasn't going home as well as helping her cope through those decisions.  Hard conversations, but good and needed ones.

My brother Jon and his wife Vicki had one-on-one time with Mom before she went into the hospital, singing together a song Jon composed for her.  Jon was able to come again later for a short visit.

My Dad, though they were divorced many years ago, came to support us and was able to have a good healing conversation with her focusing on the common denominator--their children.

My Mom's only sister, Aunt Bobbie Nell and her daughter Teri, came nearly everyday to visit. I'm sure there was much reminiscing between them. Not only was Aunt Bobbie Nell and Teri a blessing to my Mom, they were a tremendous help and blessing to me.

Mom's best friend, Gary was supportive to the end, driving the 1 1/2 hours several times a week to be with her. Because they lived close by each other, he also was helpful in keeping and eye on her home.

Fortunately, Mom was pretty lucid until three or four days before she passed away, so we had plenty of moments to enjoy sweet conversation or sweet silence, whichever was comfortable for her at the time.

My mom kept her dry sense of humor and wit intact until the end (I come by it honestly!) A few days before Mom died, I was in with her by myself. I leaned over her to tell her something that was seriously on my heart when I heard her say, "Do you always spit in someone's eye when you talk to them?!" And then we got to giggling. It was a beautiful, enjoyable moment for sure!

There were more enjoyable times that I can look back now and recall like the one involving a Sonic onion ring {Jack will never look at one the same again} another moment involved the subject of birth control {Mom, you do remember I'm 52, right?!} and even another that involved Dorothy who lived across the hall and was constantly trying to leave {No, Miss Dorothy, Grace and Mariah will not help you cut off your ankle 'escape' bracelet} She was later moved to Kansas {true story}.

Most memories will remain sealed in my heart, not necessary to share.  

Enjoy life friends.  Even until the earthly end.

In case you've missed my previous posts:
#1 Living Lessons Preparing
#2 Living Lessons Teamwork
#3 Living Lessons Can Someone Just Help Us?
#4 Living Lessons Lemons to Lemonade

It's All Good!


  1. It sounds like your family really handled this well, including spending lots of time with her so there are not regrets later. I see it not done well far too often!
    I have to ask about your names. It looks like the boys all got J names. How did you end up with a B? :)

  2. We found the same thing with my mom's situation: she had had health problems for years, but she died every suddenly, so there were no opportunities to say good-bye, which I regret. Though the days after and the funeral were hard, we have some fond memories of moments in that time.

    BTW, I tried to comment last time but just kept getting the preview window even though I was clicking on Publish. I'm hoping this will go through without problem. I'm sorry you had trouble commenting on mine - don't know what the deal is.

    1. OK - It let me comment through my Google account but not my Wordpress account.


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