Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Tribute to My Mother

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will notice that my posts have been irregular.  In April my loving mother slipped in our bathroom hitting the toilet paper holder and cracked a rib. The x-ray also showed a spot in her lung. A biopsy was ordered and she was diagnosed with stage 3.5b lung cancer.   In June she went into congestive heart. The solution always comes with its own set of problems. They give her an extra water booster. This usually messes up her electrolytes and dehydrates her.  Then we have issues with her sugar.  This time we spent three weeks on a roller coaster ride with trips every 3 days to the doctor.  At the end of the third week he hospitalized her.  Her oxygen level was 71 and her heart rate while sitting was over 120.  She was very sick.  After ten days she went to a rehab facility for physical and occupational therapy.  They absolutely loved her. She was a strong Christian woman and her love for God and her fellow humans was a natural part of her life.  She seemed to be improving. She tried to do everything she could to improve.

Before she got sick she and her best friend Marie would visit another of their friends in an assisted living facility every Thursday to play Uno.  She was cut-throat when they played. They joked around and accused each other of  cheating when they won. She was very happy during this time.  Before she lost all of her sisters they would get together when she would visit them up north and play games. It was always the same story. The losers always accused the winner of cheating.  They would laugh for hours.  Her pastor's mother-in-law was the lady they visited on Thursdays. His mother-in-law lived with him and his wife before she went into assisted living. They would go to his house to play dominoes or Uno.  He jokingly nicknamed them "The Casino Gals". She loved it as much as she loved her pastor. She always shared with us what jokes he cracked as they sat around playing games. 

Janis often went with them whether it was to drive them or assist them in some way.  My mother loved her like another one of her daughters. Janis and her husband Jason had been there for my mom for quite some time. When hurricane Irma went through last year and we lost our power, they loaded her up along with her mattress and took her to their house until our power was restored. They visited her at the hospital. Most importantly to me and her they visited her at the rehab facility.  When she took a turn for the worse and started filling up with fluid and could no longer lay in a bed they bought a wedge shaped pillow to put behind her and a small footstool to put under her feet. They visited her almost daily. The last few days of her life they gave my husband Brad and I a break so we could eat and take care of a few things.  They were there when the nirse came in to assess my mother for hospice. Once again they stayed with her so we could run errands and eat. We returned and they sat with us until we learned what time they would transport her to a hospice house. We knew it would only be a day or two before we would lose her. We had learned only three days before that the cancer had completely taken over her left lung. Three months before it was a spot the size of a walnut.  My husband and I followed the transport and spent the night in my mother's room. The next morning we contacted Janis and her husband and told them we were leaving to eat and change clothes. They came up and stayed until we returned. They were there with us, and my mom's best friend when my mother passed into glory.

Janis and her husband, and my husband and I were never really close. My mother wanted us to be friends. The newfound relationship the four of us has, the closeness we have found was all because of my mother. It was amazing to watch the therapists, social workers, nurses all come in and out of her room at the rehab facility her last day there to tell her how much they loved her, give her a hug and kiss and walk out crying. They told her how much she had impacted their life and what an inspiration and blessing she had been to them. This shows the effect that one person can have on others when they let God's light and love shine through them.  My mother will be missed. But I am truly blessed to have been able to call her my mother.

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