Thursday, May 27, 2010

We said goodbye..part one.

It has been 8 days since my mom died. Eight days and it seems like I spoke to her 6 months ago, I hate that feeling, where you feel like things just happened yesterday but at the same time it feels like you haven't spoken to the person in ages. I don't know if anyone else feels this way, I just know my mom and I used to talk about it when my dad and my brother died. Like it was a million years since we had heard their voices yet we could mentally and emotionally be taken back to the day we lost them in a heartbeat. It's a sad feeling.
Last night I was looking at an old family picture taken of my me, my brother Mike and my parents. It was taken at my grandparents house. I realized that I am the only person alive that was at that house that day. Wow. That really hit me hard. To be my age and to have already lost so many kind of hit me hard.
Anyway, I am not writing this to explain my loss again, I have explained it enough already. I am writing this to tell the story of how we said goodbye. The reason that this is only part one is because next Saturday we will say goodbye again, this time at the cemetary where she will be laid to rest right next to my dad.
On Monday May 24th, exactly one month after my birthday and just one day shy of one month from the day I called 911 for my mother we all gathered at my home to say goodbye. The weather was perfect. The house looked great and the backyard was ready. We had ordered tables, chairs, umbrellas, a canopy and a podium from a party rental place and they had come and set it all up earlier that day. It was a little strange I have to say to think that this very "party" atmosphere was actually where we were going to have a memorial for my mother. The reason I did it was because as I was planning I couldn't think of anywhere she would rather be. She loved being here with me and the kids. She loved looking out her window at the mountains. I decided that whatever happened, that day was going to be all about her. So I made sure all her favorite foods were here, Allison and I worked hard on the playlist of music, we wanted to make sure that it was just right and all of the songs that she would have loved.
This was a photo board I made the morning of the service. It came out nice, but truth be told I took it apart that night, it made me too sad to look at.
So everything was in place, it all looked wonderful and the guests were arriving. It was then that it hit me...I thought 'oh my gosh, not only am I giving the eulogy but I guess I am going to have to emcee this event also.'
I never thought I would be able to do it. But I did. I thanked everyone for coming, I introduced my mom's cousin who was the minister doing the service. Then I sat down hoping it was going to be a long, drawn out service, that she would reflect on childhood memories with my mom and say about 5 too many prayers, just so I wouldn't have to get back up too soon. But I am not kidding in about 3 minutes flat she was done! Just the way my mom would have like it, short and sweet. But then? It was all me. Here is what I wrote.
First I need to say I am forever grateful for all the love and support shown to me and my family over the last week. The comfort it brought us was immeasurable.

In many ways I have been preparing myself for my mother’s death for a while now. Mentally picturing how I would react, what I would say to my kids and how I would tell people. What I didn’t prepare for? Is how I would feel when I was all alone, when I was upstairs in the bedroom and trying to listen to hear her t.v. coming from her room. Wanting to pick up the phone everytime I had something to tell her. We spoke on the phone so many times a day that I swear I have tried to call her a couple times to tell her about her memorial plans! I wasn’t prepared for the unbelievable emotions that would come over me as I walked through Target or Marshall’s. How I would picture her walking toward me with a smile on her face, so pleased with her purchases. These moments are when I am at my weakest.

For the last several years my mom has led a very simple life and it has been the little things that make her happy. Me remembering to pickup her favorite ice cream or iced tea would thrill her, if I remembered to stop and get the mail too? Sheer elation. All she wanted was to be home and have me and my family around her. She would love it when one of us walked in that door just to sit and visit with her. Unfortunately our lives are busy and the four of us probably didn’t get out there as often as we should.

When I was growing up my mom and dad were very hard on me, they were forever on me about my weight, my lack of enthusiasm and involvement in school. I always felt picked on. Many years ago my mom finally stopped doing that she finally let it go. She was no longer worried about what I was doing or if I was making the right decisions all she cared about was being with me and me being happy. We still argued don’t get me wrong it was just about other stuff. It’s just that she had really started to believe in me. It was as though she was my biggest fan.

Recently a secret was revealed to me about my mom, I found out that she had a son, that I had another brother. My mom had kept this secret for 50 years. She kept it because she didn’t know how to tell me, she was afraid I would hate her, I would lose respect for her. In reality I had the exact opposite reaction. I admired her strength. I knew how much my mom loved us kids and I knew how incredibly hard it had to have been for her to leave him. Finding out about Randy actually brought my mom and I closer together. I had become HER biggest fan.

My mom was a very strong woman. A woman who had so much pain and suffering but persevered through it all. She lived through it because she didn’t want to give up, she felt if she gave up she might miss out on something!

Over the last few years she would often say to me, my kids or really anybody who would listen, “well, I hope I live to see the next holiday” or “well I am not sure if I should buy this, I might not live long enough to use it”. Years later and she was still here. Despite the odds and in spite of what the doctors were saying she was still here. Seeing many more holidays and using her products until the bottle was empty.

She was an amazing lady who was tough and told you what she thought, no holds barred. But you had to respect her for that, although sometimes you could get your feelings hurt. Sometimes I think that is what my dad loved about her most. He wasn’t able to say how he felt because he was so admired and loved, everyone thought he was so nice, he wasn’t about to jeopardize his reputation so instead he let her say how she really felt and just sat back and admired her for it. I am not sure if this is true, it’s just reflective speculation. All I know is that somewhere they are all together, My mom, dad , Mike and the many other relatives that went before her, and that gives me so much peace.

Thank you.

I read the whole thing, I choked up a little a few times, but I didn't break down. I was so proud of myself. I held it together. But then? Both of my girls said that they wanted to speak. Oh boy. That was unbelievable. Here were these two young girls who have lived with their grandma for 5 years and were experiencing their first loss and they were ok sharing their feelings with a crowd of people. I was so proud. They both did so well. Everybody told me how wonderful they did and how proud they were. I know this is a really long post so I will close for now. I am just so glad that so many wonderful people were here to share this day with us, in our home where she loved to be.
I miss her terribly and cry often, but I know that very soon the pain will subside my memories of her suffering will start to fade and things will be better.


  1. It really was a beautiful service - and it was nice to read the words that were so hard to hear - and so beautifully spoken - at the time. Wonderful post Nina, Kristin xo

  2. Hi, Nina~
    I have spent the morning reading your blog and I was shocked to read about this. What a special lady! I have always admired how you and Chris took care of her and allowed her to be independent. I remember helping her catch the dogs when they would escape!!
    My mom is dying. It is a horrible thing to have to watch, and it has been extra sucky because she has a fast progressing dementia and is only 66! I am so glad you were able to sit with your mom and learn so much about her. So, just know that I thought of you today, that I do miss you guys every single day I walk out of my yard, that you all made a difference to this family and that reading your blog really helped me thing about some things in my own life! XXOO


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