A lot has happened since the last time I have posted. I knew this would be more of an online diary than an actual functioning blog. That has proven itself to be true.
The past few years have been BIG change years. None more than this year though. Two years ago we sold our home and moved into the house I grew up in. My mother was getting older and didn't want to live alone now that my father had passed away. My niece had been here with her....but she was getting married. It seemed like the logical thing to do. Selling the house was stressful. Moving into a new house was stressful. Living right in the center of all of the family drama was definitely stressful. Switching the kids school....you guessed it...stressful. We survived though....even began to flourish.
Life with mom was amazing. I was able to leave the boys with her to go grocery shopping or run errands. (I had never had a babysitter before....so I was really enjoying my new freedom!) It was also great having an extra set of eyes and ears in a house with two young boys. I had never known the immense joy of being able to handle one of the kids problems without having the other hanging off of my leg. She was a Godsend.
During our time living with her....my husbands mother and father both passed away within a few months of each other. The kids dealt with loss for the first time since my fathers passing. They were to little to understand what happened then. Now they were old enough....and they attended their first funeral. Each death was different. Each burial different. They learned a lot during this time. They also began realizing that my mother was older....and it would only be a matter of time before she would also leave us. I reassured them that everything was fine. For the remainder of the year it was. Until the day it wasn't.
The day before school let out for Christmas break.....the boys told my mother goodbye that morning....and I took them to school. I went to cash my husbands paycheck and went to do the shopping for Christmas dinner. I called Mom while I was in the grocery store to be sure everything was alright and to ask her about some things that were on her list. Everything was fine.
I got home from the store and carried in the groceries. She came to the kitchen table and sat and talked to me as I put everything away. We got down to the last few bags. We were in mid conversation. She looked at me and said...."I feel faint." Then everything was not fine. She leaned back in her chair and stopped breathing.
I called 911 and we began the process of trying to save a life.....only everything happened so fast....I knew she was gone. I knew she didn't suffer. But if one push could bring her back....I was going to keep pushing. I didn't even do it right. I know I didn't. But I couldn't stop. She wouldn't have stopped if it was me. My hands came up and the first responders hands came down. Everything after that was standard. There were somewhere around 20 first responders, firemen, EMS, and police officers in my kitchen....while I scrambled through to give them medication lists, paperwork, and the explanations they needed. In the middle of this....oh shit.....I need to tell my sisters. The first name in my phone was my niece. I couldn't do this to her. I had to do this to her. I called her and told her to call everyone else.
My sister was the first person from the family there. In my attempts to convey the urgency of the situation without scaring my niece to death.....I didn't mention the word dead. I mean....even though I was pretty sure.....it wasn't pronounced. I wasn't giving up that easily. So when my sister arrived, she thought there was still hope. That was my fault. That was one of those moments when you know the truth and you just agree with them because they don't know what you know. Because they didn't see what you saw.....and maybe....there could very well still be something they could do to save her. It was confusing.
Then they gave up. After a half hour of trying....they all agreed it was finished. Then there were police reports....and photographs.....and my dear mother laying on the kitchen floor covered with a sheet. The house was destroyed. Groceries everywhere, furniture moved, and people everywhere. All I wanted to do is sit with her. Hold her hand. Lay her lovingly on the carpet and treat her with dignity and respect. That's not what I was ALLOWED to do though. I had to work fast. I had to get her out of the chair and onto the floor. I had to spend my last moments with her beating on her chest and begging her to come back to me. It is nothing like I ever imagined it.
Not that it was something I would dwell on.....but the reality was....I had played this scenario over in my head in case of an emergency. I always thought I would go to her room to check on her and she would be in her bed or whatever. I never expected it to be in the middle of our daily routine. It was a blessing though....because the hallways are narrow in our home and if she would have been anywhere else in the house.....it would have been very difficult for them to get to her in a respectful manner with the stretcher.
Mom left the house at 1:30 pm. I had to go get my boys at 2:15. My husband was away working in another state. How the hell was I supposed to do this?
I left a few minutes early so I could choke back the tears long enough to get through the car rider line. I got the boys and I pulled over in a gas station parking lot.....and simply told the boys that after they left for school today.....Grandma passed away. I let them cry. I let them ask questions. I also explained that she was not at the house but that our family would be there. That it was okay to be sad. If they wanted to be together....we would be together. If they needed time alone. That was also fine. My youngest son asked the same thing I asked. "Why did it have to be our Grandma? Why couldn't it have been someone elses?"
Everything stopped. I felt like I lost everything right there in that moment. The next few days were horrible. I won't lie. It is the blackest....darkest time I can ever remember in my entire life. My best friend was gone. The house was too quiet. I felt guilt....I felt abandoned....I felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. I missed her so much. But again.....we made it.
Right smack in the center of my attempts to get through this.....we realized that because the house had not been deeded to us before her passing....that we now stood the chance of losing our home as well. Months later we realized that home is now safe. But two months is a long time to try to mourn the death of your mother and worry about the possibility of being homeless. My husband reassured me that we started with nothing before....and we could do it again. No matter what happened we would be alright. During this time I had some health problems that also took about 2 months to straighten out. My husband began working out of town more frequently. This meant that now I didn't have him or my mother in the house with me. Needless to say.....my marriage hit the skids. This was the final straw for me. I officially lost my damn mind. But guess what? I made it.
Right now as I stand.....we have torn down and completely rebuilt the marriage. I am working on getting our home in proper order. I almost have Mom's belongings sorted and stored. I have worked to display things in the home that are honoring to my parents memory and also to bring things in that make it feel like our home. I have waded through paperwork and bills and paid our debts.....so that we can make it. I have learned to handle things that I would never have done on my own before this. It's been 6 months since Mom passed. It has been the longest 6 months of my life. I kinda quit life for awhile. I have learned a lot though. I miss my mother. Then the days I don't miss her and I try to just live.....I feel guilty. My heart is going to be the death of me. Sometimes I wish I didn't feel all of this.....but then I feel bad about that too. I don't know.
The problem is this...
I have lived most of my life chasing other peoples dreams. I have followed them....and wanted them to have what they needed. I wanted them taken care of. This includes my own children. Now that my boys are older....my parents are gone.....and my husband is on the road.....I don't have anyone or anything holding me back from doing whatever I want. The question is: what do I want? Who am I?
Right now I don't have an answer for that. I have to think about it. One thing I know though.....is that I am going to make it. I have to figure this out.