Both kids are taking a nap. It feels like 120 degrees outside and I'm starting to wonder why I am even sitting outside. Then I realize that, even though it's not the most comfortable weather, I am enjoying sitting by myself on my deck, with only the sound of a mower and locusts singing by the creek. I think about how my life has changed in the past 10 years....4 years....2 years....9 months......and even just in the past 3 months.
Only 10 years ago I was a high school student waiting for graduation day to come so I could "get out of this house". I thought I knew everything, and getting out of my parents' house was my top priority and could not come fast enough...so I thought.
4 years ago I was graduating college and getting married to the man of my dreams. We were moving to Kansas City, Missouri and although I was excited to venture out of the Nebraska small life, I was also very nervous and sad to move away from my parents. In less than 6 years I went from not being able to get away from my parents fast enough, to not exactly sure I wanted to move even just 4 hours away from them.
2 years ago I was welcoming my first baby daughter, Libby, (7 1/2 lbs) into my life and was once again nervous, excited, and anxious about now taking on the mother-role, while still trying to balance my role as a wife. So many people to please...would I be able to succeed? Funny how I began calling my mom for so much advice. It was only now that I was beginning to realize and appreciate how much my mom meant to me and how she was almost, if not always, right. I think my now daily phone calls to my mom were probably quite humerous to her, as I'm sure she knew one day I would realize that she actually did know what was best for me.
9 months ago my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It was a rare type of cancer which had already spread. I learned a lot about my mom during this time. I learned that she was the strongest woman I knew. I learned that she loved us so much that she worried more about how everyone else was feeling rather than herself. I learned that she had much much much more faith than I EVER thought. I knew my mom was a great believer in God and had faith, but it wasn't until now that I realized that she must have truly been a believer and follower to be able to be the most optimistic person out of everyone, when thinking about the fact that she had cancer and the outlook was not the most optimistic. She never once talked to me about losing the battle....it was ALWAYS about WINING! She always said "don't worry about me. Everything is going to be fine and I'm going to beat this thing". Oh how I held onto those words when she said them, and I believed her becuase she truly believed it too. I often felt guilty for having less faith in her beating the cancer than she did. Especially considering the fact that I don't think she had any doubt she was going to beat it. She was more than ever becoming a role model to me. Yes....she had always been a role model, but I was really starting to see it....take it in.....and thrive to be just like her.
And finally.....(April 6, 2010) only 3 months ago, I welcomed yet another little miracle to my family. Another baby girl, Jade, (8 1/2 lbs). I had hoped to have my mom in the room with me when I gave birth to her, but unfortunatley she was in the hospital again and they were trying radiation now. I now know why mom was always telling me "don't worry about me, everything is going to be fine"....I was listening to her. I was able to concentrate on MY FAMILY and know that, even though my mom was in the hospital, "Don't worry about me. Everything is going to be fine".
April 9, 2010...Ben, Miranda and Mira (my oldest brother, his wife and his little miracle of a daughter) went to visit my mom in the hospital. Of course my dad was there...he was ALWAYS there in the hospital right by her side. She was having a great day and she was finally going to see a picture of my newest addition...Jade. Ben brought pictures up on his computer and I can imagine just how her face lit up with excitement to see yet another one of her grandchildren. Grandchildren were one of the top things she lived for and looked forward to. Ben, Miranda and Mira left the hospital and mom admitted that she was in a great deal of pain and asked my dad to stay with her in the hospital that night.
April 10, 2010...my best girlfriend, my role model, my strength....my Mom......passed away. She did not lose her battle to cancer....she won her battle to meet GOD.
The only way I believe I made it through the next couple weeks of dealing with the death of my mom and having a new born baby, was I had to have gone into a state of shock. My daughter was only 4 days old and we were packing the car and headed 4 1/2 hours from Kansas City, Missouri to Polk, Nebraska. Nothing seemed real...I was just focusing on my new baby. "Don't worry about me. Everything is going to be fine". Those are the saving words that kept running through my head. The long ride home, the visitation, and the funeral....those words are what kept me strong. Those words are what continue to keep me strong.
June 25, 2010 - July 4, 2010: I was heading home (mom and dad's house) for the first time since my mom's funeral. I was nervous, anxious, and scared. I didn't know how I would react. I had been so strong through everything. I was nervous that I was going to have a breakdown...I was prepared to have a breakdown; however, 30 minutes from "home" my two year old (Libby) pukes all over herself, so instead of giving my brain time to think about the loss of my mom and how different the house was without her there, and how i wasn't going to see her walking out of the house with that big smile on her face and straight over to Libby when we arrived. Instead I spent my first hours "home" cleaning up Libby, my car, and her carseat. Once again it seemed that mom had preoccupied my mind with MY FAMILY rather than the sadness and loss of her. That week spent with my dad was wonderful and just when I was settling in and beginning to think of how different the house was...I was having to take both my kids to the doctor for pink eye and what may have turned into strep throat for Libby. If that's not enough, I was calling the very next day for drops for my eyes...busy busy busy with MY FAMILY.
During my visit "home" that week, Libby was drawn to the pictures of my mom...grandma to Libby. Honestly, I did not expect Libby to remember her, so when I caught her on video playing the piano then stoppin to look at a picture of my mom, Libby, and I, it really took me by surprise. As I stood video taping her with my camera, I was about to become a little more amazed. She pointed to a picture of me and said mama and then her attention was drawn to grandma. She said grandma, which sounded more like "ama" over and over while touching grandma in the picture. Libby was also drawn to a picture of my mom that sat on the floor below the tv. I caught her numerous times going to the picture saying "ama" and kissing it. I would say..."Libby, do you know where grandma is? She's in Heaven". I would say this as I pointed up to the sky. If that wasn't enough to make my heart melt...in the kitchen, hanging on mom's wine rack, was a chain with a picture of the Saint Mary hanging from it. I watched as Libby would continuously go to that necklace, take it in her hand and say "ama"...."ama".
So I thought...how did I make it through my first visit "home"? Now I know....."Don't worry about me. Everything is going to be fine".