Monday, May 5, 2014

A Mother's Day Tribute #mothersday #tribute

Many of my readers may have noticed that I didn't post much for a while a few weeks back.  In February, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal cancer.  I learned just exactly what doctor's meant when they say, "weeks to months."  I learned that sometimes, you don't know where the cancer originated but that it is there and expansive.  My mom lived just six weeks after her diagnosis.  That six week period was stressful, busy and heartbreaking.

I still remember the first weekend I saw her after her diagnosis.  I had seen her just 3 weeks prior and she had been fine.  At 86, we had seen some slight decline with her heart problems, but the first weekend in February, she was as she had been over the past year or so.  Saturday following her diagnosis, when we were there, Mom took a turn for the worse.  I cared for her in ways that I never dreamed.  She was apologetic.  I was honored.  I reminded her that I had a diaper blow out down her leg when I was a baby.

She did improve somewhat and was doing okay for the next week or so, then ended up in the hospital in her hometown.  Her specialist at the Cancer Institute wanted her at the instiute but they had to wait for a bed.  All in all, she was in the hospital for nearly 2 weeks and was sent home to home hospice where she died the following week.

It was a difficult time for all of us.  My husband considers my family his family.  My Mom was a mom to him.  My girls, just 7 and 10 were brave little girls.  My mother looked awful for the last few weeks, yet they still went to her side, read her the bible, held her hand and kissed her.  All while being scared to death.  Love trumped their fear.  

The most heartbreaking part was watching my father weep at her side.  While their marriage wasn't perfect, it was something they both believed in.  At her death, they had been married for almost 58 years.  They were each other's lives.

My Dad, siblings and my oldest niece, nephew and I were all with her when she passed.  We all said goodbye and it was silent in the room.  As she was a devout Catholic who prayed the Rosary daily, I began to say the Hail Mary.  As I recited the word "death" in the last line, now and at the hour of our death, she passed.  It was the end of a legacy.

Here are some of my favorite pictures.  The first is of me and mom and my girls.  When my children were born, I had a prayer each time--that my children would get to know my parents.  With such a huge age difference, I knew at any time I could lose either of my parents.  Mom is 39 years older than me, Dad is 42 years older than me.  I was 39 when I had my youngest, so there is nearly an 80 year difference in my youngest daughter's age and my mom's age.

Grandchildren were always important to her.  She did special things for each of them.  My oldest loved her egg casserole and even when she was blind, Mom would still make that for her.  She tried to connect with each of her 10 grandchildren in some way, always finding the best in them.  She loved all of her son-in-laws, taking time to get to know them and their interests.

This photo was taken from my wedding, nearly 13 years ago.  She was 73.  Within a year or so, she began losing her vision.  She had many challenges with her vision, but she didn't let it keep her down.  She learned to accept it and cope.  She read her bible daily, exercised and cooked and cleaned despite.

My mom taught me how to make Italian Easter Bread.  She learned the recipe from her mother-in-law.  My mom was a great cook and a great baker.  She knew how to do just about anything in the kitchen.

My mother could also sew.  When I was little, she knew my favorite color was purple and made me this cute purple outfit.  Not only could she sew clothes, she also sew window treatments and could alter just about anything!

My mother had great faith.  She was a very devout Catholic and never missed Sunday mass.  She prayed the rosary daily--a decade for each of her five children.  My husband and I had this crucifix dedicated to her honor years ago at a church were we belonged.

This is the last photo I have with my mom.  It was taken in December when we were visiting her and Dad..  

This is Mom with my dog.  Mom always loved dogs.  
When I look back at her childhood photos, there are so many with her holding a dog.  

At Mom's funeral, the children released balloons to the heavens with messages for Mom.

My dear friend sent me a Blue Spruce tree to plant in honor of Mom.  She couldn't possibly have known that growing up, my brother and I planted a Blue Spruce tree for Mom one Mother's Day.  She loved watching that tree grow.  And now, we will watch it grow and think fondly of her.

My blessings through this were many.  I was blessed to have so much time with my mother.  I was blessed to be able to care for her.  I was blessed to be by her side as she passed.  Most of all, I was blessed to have such a wonderful mother.  I just hope I can compare.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom--I know you are celebrating in heaven!

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