Thursday, February 01, 2007

In Memory

Hard to believe that one year ago today was my mother's last day in her earthly body. It was such a normal day. The boys and I went to bible study, had lunch with friends...typical day.

She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2005, we were both taken by surprise, there had been no history of cancer in our family. We even chuckled a little because our family has heart issues, not cancer. I went to Tulsa in January to be with her the weekend of her first chemo treatment. She made it through like a trooper. We had a great weekend. I went alone, the boys stayed here. It was like when I was growing up, just mom and me. I did some grocery shopping for her, cleaned her house, cooked, was her all around maid, even cleaning some small spots that had been on the carpet over a year. We laughed more than we had in years. Her best friend, Tonja, came and took our picture. I was shocked when mom agreed, she hated to have her picture made and when Tonja asked, mom didn't have on make-up or her hair fixed. I am so glad we took those pictures. It was a very blessed weekend.

The next couple of weeks were hectic. Mom had doctor's appointments, good days and bad days. I am so thankful that Tonja was able to be there for mom, she took mom to each and every doctor's appointment, with me living 4 hours away and with three boys it was difficult for me to be there. I spoke with mom every day, many times a day on the phone. We really didn't talk about anything, but I am glad we heard each other's voice.

I remember that I didn't get in touch with mother one Monday. I was a little worried, I had spoken with her every day for months. When I finally got a hold of her, I found out she had gone to a board meeting for the Lions Club, a service organization she proudly supported. She had also gone by the Tulsa Boat of the Lions pet projects. I was thrilled that she felt well enough to go see her friends. The next day, Tuesday, she was going to have a port put in to make treatments easier. She was nervouse about having the procedure done, but knew that it would make things better. She laughed and told me not to worry about her, but she would be out of pocket the next morning.

When I spoke to her Tuesday afternoon she felt great. The procedure to put the port in had been "a piece of cake" and she wished she had done it sooner. She had plans to sew that afternoon and then some of her friends were coming for dinner. Her cousin was going to spend the night, they had an appointment for early Wednesday morning, so Pam was just going to stay with mom. She sounded excited about her agenda. Mom was a planner, she liked to know everything that was going to happen in a day. She also loved to be surrounded by Tuesday was a perfect day for her.

Wednesday, when I got home from bible study, Pam called. She was hysterical, mom was in the emergency room and Pam didn't think mom would make it through the day. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, mom had had a great week, she was feeling good....why was she in the hospital? My first thought was "is Tonja there?" Tonja was calm, unflappable...Pam was prone to hysteria and didn't handle difficult situations well. Tonja was not there yet, so I decided to wait to hear what her take was before I got too worried. That was about 2:00 in the afternoon.

About 4:30 that afternoon, Tonja went by the cancer doctor's office so we could all have a conference call. We found out then that mom's cancer was stage 4 and had spread to the rest of her body. Any hospital visit could be the last one and I needed to make plans to come home. Ironically, the doctor from MICU was sharing the same information with mother at the same time. I was on a plane from Dallas to Tulsa that night, after calls made by the doctor, I didn't know if mother would be alive when I got there. It was very surreal. She was "fine" on Tuesday and then dying on Wednesday.

I was by my mom's side by 10:00 Wednesday night. She was conscious and able to talk. It was such a blessing. I was able to share a few hours with her before she died. I was on her right side and she had three other friends surrounding her. God granted her a peaceful departure from the earth surrounded by love and friends.

My mom died at 2:00 in the morning on February 2. I have gone through quite a bit this past year. I know I would not have made it without the strength supplied by my God and Savior. I have been blessed beyond measure.


Beth said...

What a beautiful, tear provoking testimony to your mother! My heart is with you at this time. I will hold you in prayer and wish you peace.

Tammy said...

Oh Julie, you are in my hugs and prayers as you enter this second year of not having your mom around. I can't imagine what you are going through, but know that you are being prayed for.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me; I found your blog googling "la clase divertida," looking for a review. When I saw the pic of you & your mom, I had to read on - it was so much like a picture I have of my mom & me in the hospital (in Tulsa, no less), June 2005, shortly after her lymphoma diagnosis. My mom left this place for heaven on April 9, 2006. I too, am a busy homeschool mom (3 boys, 3 girls). Our youngest was discovered at the same time we found out about Mom's cancer; he just turned 1. Anyway, reading through your tribute to your mom brought both happy & sad memories of my own, and some tears. Just thought I would send a hello from a kindred spirit, and let you know that perhaps the two of them are sewing up a storm (one of my mom's many talents as well), getting things ready for the rest of us. With my sympathy - Rachael in OK