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I’ve had several pity parties for myself over the last few months while I’ve been out here in California visiting my sick aunt.
Although I’m glad I haven’t been home in Michigan for all the crazy weather, my heart aches for things I’m missing; mainly, my family and friends. I’ve also missed four major holidays, my son’s last day of school, and a half dozen birthdays. Not to mention numerous dinners with friends, my friends’ art shows and countless adventures with my photography/Cracker Barrel buddy.
Spending innumerable hours in the hospital, I have met many awesome people. With the exception of a few, the employees at PIH Health Hospital in Whittier, California are wonderful. Several have gone above and beyond their job description to make sure not only my aunt, but also my cousin, George, her private nurse, Mary, and myself are comfortable and know what is going on. Several nurses have come to visit and pray for her. My aunt has been treated with nothing but dignity and respect.
Aunt Marguerite, despite being thousands of miles away from my home, has always been my favorite aunt. The fact that we both love cooking, collecting recipes, and drinking Scotch is only the tip of the iceberg. My aunt, like my dad, has the cool factor going for her. Through all of this, her sense of humor and well placed sarcastic remarks have stayed intact.
She has passed on those two traits to her son as well. I love that we can both use our humor and sarcasm to help each other get through this crazy/scary time.
When you look past George’s humor and sarcasm, you will find a loving son who is very devoted to his mother. He has slept in her room at the hospital every night since she was admitted April 3rd. The days he is forced to work, he is texting or calling for updates.
While part of me misses my family and friends at home, it is trumped by the fact that me being here has helped my cousin keep his sanity. We have laughed and cried together. My knowledge, albeit limited, of medical procedures and medications has helped ease his anxiety.
Let me tell you, I have learned more than I ever thought I would need to know about PEG tubes, intubation, C-diff, septis, lactic acid levels, and a laundry list of medications.
As I am writing this, I’m sitting in my aunt’s ICU room waiting for George. She is improving and having set backs everyday. It’s a very slow process. She is truly a fighter and has exceeded everyone’s expectations.
My heart is full of love but feels empty at the same time.
I miss my mom & daughter and love my sons more than words can express.
I feel empty, loss, love & blessed all at the same time.
When someone asks how many kids I have, my heart skips a beat.
Sometimes I will just say three & end the conversation. Other times I will elaborate on the details.
There are also times I say “Two…boys”. In my head, I finish the sentence, “and a baby girl in Heaven”.
The joy & sadness that I’m feeling intertwines. There are times joy wins & other times sadness overtakes me.
. Well Mom, it’s the first day of summer. That means it’s your birthday. If you were still here, you would be 85 years old. It will be 17 years this December that you lost your fight with breast cancer.
It makes me not only sad but a little mad too; when I think about not only the battle you lost but also the time we lost. I’ve been trying very hard not to dwell on the negative. It took a long time for my heart not to skip a beat when the phone rang at 10am (the time reserved for you and me to talk).
When I post something about you on facebook, it makes my heart smile to read all the beautiful comments that others post.
I have lost track of the number of times I’ve told people the story about when the two of us went to San Francisco. You thought it would be a good idea to throw a french fry to the sea gulls!
My heart swells with pride anytime someone says I look like you.
I cherish all the wonderful memories I have of our time together. I am truly blessed! Thank you for giving me the “good cook” gene.
All the wonderful memories (and recipes) I have are helping me get past the pain.
Give Sara a big hug and kiss for me.
I love you..
I started seeing a therapist regarding the depression and anxiety that has started to get the best of me. It didn’t take her long to diagnose me with unresolved grief. My journey through grief started when my mom died sixteen years ago from breast cancer.
I was just limping along through my grief over her death. About one month shy of the second anniversary of losing her, my daughter, Sara, was stillborn at 38 weeks. The grief I felt right then hit the grief I was already dealing with like a freight train. I ended up with a mangled mess of grief.
The grief I was feeling over my mom and my daughter were a jumbled mess of emotions. I wanted to hold my daughter, look into her eyes and tell her stories about her Grandma in Heaven. I wanted to be able to cry with and talk to my mom about my heavy heart and the piece that was missing because her Grand-daughter was in Heaven. I couldn’t do either and it was tearing me apart.
The stages of grief were jumbled together. I tried to separate the two so I could work through them. Looking back, I think I was close to the “acceptance” stage of grief before Sara. After Sara’s death, when my grief was tangled together, working through the stages of my grief, flew out the window. Since I couldn’t untangle my grief, I went straight to “anger” for both losses. I thought maybe it would be easier to work through if I was at the same stage for both…didn’t work. Fourteen years after the death of my daughter, I’m still in the same place.
Through my therapy sessions and some self-reflection, I have realized I have been trying to work around my grief instead of through it. The pain doesn’t really go away, you just make room for it.
God has blessed me with a few true friends who have helped me on my journey through this train wreck. They have been there to talk to me, listen to me, hug me or just sit with me. They have seen past my “I’m okay”.
God has also blessed me with His promises. He will comfort me and make me stronger. He won’t take away my grief but He will help me make it through it.
H. Norman Wright said, “The hard news is the only road to true healing is through the grief process. The good news is God travels that road with us”.
1 Samuel 30:6 …David strengthened himself in the Lord his God