Tuesday, June 12, 2007

saying goodbye

i have never dealt with death well in my life. today is no different - i still cannot really handle the reality of a life coming to an end. i am hoping writing will allow me to get through what i cannot say in words.

my neighbor, Mr. Stone, passed away because he suffered on stroke during heart surgery. he was 82 years old. and he was an amazing man. i am so sad to know that he will no longer be part of our lives. i cannot even express how i feel.

married with 2 children and 4 grandchildren, Mr. Stone always had a smile, kind words and a hug for me. he proudly served in WWII and always had a story to tell. he collected aluminum cans and plastic recyclable bottles from the neighbors to earn money for a scholarship fund. until very recently, he would come over often to kick the ball around in the front yard with my kids and tell them how big they were getting, ask how they were doing in school, say how proud he was when they said they were doing well and tell them how lucky they were to have me for a mom. he constantly told me how proud he was of me for going back to school and the way i was raising the kids.

he leaves behind his wife, children, grandchildren, many friends and neighbors like myself who will greatly greatly miss him. goodbye Mr. Stone. i hope you knew how much you were loved

Saturday, June 2, 2007

it's been a long long week

it started out fabulous: my sweetie and i packed up our monkeys and headed out to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for the Memorial Day weekend. the drive is long about 12 hours but the kids are great travelers and even without a DVD player to keep them entertained we made it there without whining, crying, or arguing! i love those kids and are so proud of them when they figure out ways to get along. the best part of the trip besides it being our first family vacation together was that we were able to make the trip with my sweethearts parents and brother.

the weekend was amazing! it is just incredible beautiful out there in the desert, away from the noise, traffic, and congestion of the city. the weather was perfect and the chance to just get away from the business of my everyday life was truly a blessing. i appreciated the extra time with my love and with the monkeys and the chance to get to meet my new family! everyone was so welcoming and incredibly generous, i felt truly welcomed and honored to be part of such a loving family.

so where does the long part of the week come in? monday, early afternoon. we were on our way home. still in arizona and headed to laughlin for the night when my cell phone rang. it was my mom and she began the call with the words "i'm afraid i'm not calling with very good news." my heart just dropped. my grandmother had taken a terrible fall during the night, was in the hospital, non responsive and the prognosis from the doctors was that she very well may not make it thru the night. and i am about 10 hours away from home!

instead of driving to laughlin for the night and getting home on tuesday we just drove straight home. i didn't really even have to ask jerry or explain to him that i wanted to come home early. he just asked me once what i wanted, i asked 'can we go home?' he said yes, spoke to his parents briefly and we were on our way! i am so thankful for his understanding and willingness to support me and the kids and so thankful for his love. i am thankful for the understanding, love and support of his family as well. although we were all sad to have our play time together cut short, they all just wanted me to let me come home to my family. i won't ever be able to put into words properly what that meant to me.

we arrived home late monday night and i was able to get to my parents tueday morning. i had tried to call but was unable to get a hold of anyone and so i was terrified of what the news would be. i arrive at the hospital at 11 to find my mother with my grandma. she was doing better than the previous day and while although still detached from reality, she was having moments of clarity. she was extremely weak and coming in and out of consciousness. since she had no broken bones or serious injuries from her fall, the doctor's were looking to send her to a rehab facility to hopefully get her back in her wheelchair and back to her own apartment. i spent the rest of that day with my mom, gathering things for my grandmother and looking at local rehab nursing facilities. we found one in town, just a few blocks from my home in fact.

i returned to school on wednesday but have spent most of my free day time with my grandmother and helping my mom with arrangements and continuing to take care of arrangements for my grandmother. we have cleaned the floors in her apartment and cleaned out the fridge and gathered clothing items for her to wear in the rehab facility. in between i have tried to read and study for my summer classes, hug my kids and spend time with jerr. it's been hard and overwhelming.

mostly, my heart hurts to see my grandmother compromised, in pain, scared, and mentally unstable. i do not know how well she will recover from her fall and if she will be able to return home nor if she will even be with us much longer. while she is making some progress, she is not at the same time. she is currently not eating and has only gotten out of bed and into her chair once this week no matter how much coaxing and in some cases, pleading, has been done. i will be forever grateful to have the moments of her mental clarity to let her know how much she means to me and how many valuable life lessons she has taught me.

for now, i will end with the most significant advice she gave me during a particularly rough time in my life. i will never forget her words and i think of them each day:

faith, hope, strength and love
have faith in yourself and in god
keep hope that things will be as they should be
be strong and believe in your strength
always love with all your heart and know you are loved that way in return.