Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moving Forward

On August 1, 2009, I sat in my Gram's nursing home room with my husband, sister, mom, and aunt. We had driven home for the weekend because I knew my Gram was very sick. I watched my mom holding her hand telling my Gram it was ok to go even though she wasn't ready to let her mom go. My Gram died the next morning.

I remember hoping that I could be that strong if we were ever faced with a situation like that with my mom. Just a few weeks after Gram died, mom was diagnosed with cancer. And not even one year later I was holding my mom's hand, telling her it was ok even though I was anything but ready to let go. That was now three years ago. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, sometimes like its been forever.

But here's the thing: good things can come of such sadness if you let them. I still get sad. Sometimes it seems harder with Grant because I want so much to tell my parents about the things Grant is up to. Or send them pictures. Or ask about the things I did when I was his age. Or watch them play with him.

But when I look back on the three weeks I spent at home while Mom was on hospice care and then passed away, rather than seeing the things that frustrated me (and there was a lot of that) I'm seeing more of the wonderful ways people helped us and the people in my life that continue to do so.

Hehehe...I love this one!
One day after my mom "got bad" as I refer to it, I was in the living room with mom and my aunts and we saw a car pull up that wasn't familiar. I stared out the window because I knew the car but couldn't believe it was in the driveway. My dear friend Elizabeth (accompanied by her brother - I'm so glad she didn't go alone) had driven all the way from NC to my parents house in NY (an 800 some mile/14 hour trip one way) just to be there for me and my family. She will never ever know how much it helped to have her there with me and there is no way I'll ever be able to thank her.

Or my cousin AJ's wife, Melanie, who is a teacher and was still in school while all this was going on. She came over every evening after she was done at work and always made sure we had something yummy to eat for dinner. I remember once while I was sitting with my mom by myself she came in and sat with me and just talked. I don't remember what we talked about but I do remember that it was just nice at that moment to have company. 

My boss here in NC was on vacation in Massachusetts and drove up to NY to go to my Mom's funeral. I had no idea he was going. It shocked the hell out of me as I was standing in line greeting people to see him there. He decided to drive back that afternoon and got a speeding ticket on the way back to MA (you know what they say about good deeds...)

One of the best things to have happened in all this, is that my sister and I have developed a relationship with my Dad's brother [Uncle] Kevin. He called often while Mom was home those two weeks and my sister and I talked to him a lot. At the gathering after her funeral, he asked for my phone number and asked if it was ok that he check in on me (we've never been super close to my Dad's side of the fam). Since then, we talk relatively often (usually on a Sunday night and the conversation is never less than an hour long) and I send him pictures of Grant so he can see how he's growing. It's nice to have him to talk to and sometimes it's a lot like talking to my Dad. I'm so glad that we've kept in touch.

There's more, of course. Lots more. My Aunt Bonnie and Aunt Betty who were always with my Mom. My cousin AJ who was always at the house with us and who spoke at both Mom & Dad's funerals. All the friends, neighbors, and family who sent cards, flowers and brought meals (and coffee!) to us. My hubby who never once said a word about how much coffee I was drinking even thought I was 6 months pregnant and shouldn't have been drinking it. My Mother-in-Law who took care of our dog and house for three weeks while we were gone. The Hospice staff that came were, of course, wonderful women who were very honest with us and sincere. 

There were so many people who helped us through that rough time and so many people in our lives who are still so supportive and helpful. Because of that I've been able to keep moving forward and that I am able to see how lucky I am inspite of everything.

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