The day was Sept. 23rd. She struggled with COPD for decades. But still, we always joked she wouldn't die, she was too stubborn. But it finally got bad enough, she couldn't recover from it this time.
I struggled with our move from Tx last year. I was positive I did not want to leave Mt Pleasant. I was not a happy camper. My poor husband took the blunt of my discontentment. But in the last few weeks, I realized we were exactly in the place we needed to be. God had this under control all along!
First, when we first moved back to Florida, circumstances caused it so Mom had to live with us. Her health was poor, but living with us was not something she would have done voluntarily. She became my sole job. And I was ok with that.
One of the 1st people who welcomed us in North Port are 2 sets of couples. We met them at church, (another blessing). They had already walked the path of loosing a parent to a long illness. They could really say "I know what you are going through" I have found great support from them.
The hospice house (Tidewell Hospice, Englewood) was amazing. The staff there loved my mom like she was theirs. From the chef coming in, talking to mom and seeing what he could make her. To the nurse who knew mom liked Andrea Bocelli and bringing in a CD for mom to listen to it. (it was playing the night she died) And not only did they care for her, they cared for me and my family. Always asking what they could do to help us.
Lastly, my brother and his family were close. AND Stephany was my support. I couldn't have gone through it without her. She came with me to see mom in the hospital, then at the hospice house. She loved on mom the way I couldn't. She has a heart of gold.
So, maybe it hadn't been in MY plans or MY will. But I clearly see how things absolutely worked out. In the last couple of years, Mom would say 'I don't know why God won't just take me'. Well, maybe she asked Him just that when she arrived. OR maybe she didn't. I am sure she was busy enjoying herself being in the presence of God. :)
I miss Mom. the house is quiet. The first few days, I swear I could hear her shuffle of slippers, the clicking of her walker, even her cough. Funny how some thing you once found annoying are now what you miss.
I hate clutter. I hate disorganization. Mom was a collector/hoarder. She has a LOT of stuff. Fred and I always said we would just load the truck and take it all to Goodwill. I have taken some. But I feel all of the family needs to have something of mom's to remember her by. This is important to me (and to mom). So, I have taken all her stuff and set it out. We have boxes everywhere.
And we aren't even talking about the boxes of papers and pictures. Those we will take our time looking through. Already, the little bit we have found has given us some insight on her that we never knew... It will get done. In time. I want to do it right. The last few days of mom's life, her biggest worry was the pictures and her dolls. I assured her I would guard them with my life.
I am trying to make sure some of mom's things go to people who will truly enjoy/appreciate them. This takes time. And I am ok with that. See, God is teaching me to be ok. To understand I don't need to know all the details. I may have to wait to see the grand picture. Boy, that is not easy for me.
Another thing we have in the papers we have looked at so far. Mom journaled some. But so far, it looks like she mostly did it when she was unhappy. I guess it helped her put her frustrations and heart aches on paper. It was almost too much for me to hear the things she wrote. But I find that I also tend to journal when I am unhappy. I am going to change that. I need to make a concerted effort to write down the good things too. I don't want my family to go through my papers and think I was an unhappy person. I want them to see how blessed I was, how much I loved.
Fred kept saying to me that I needed to prepare for mom's death. He was worried how it was going to affect me. But I am actually doing ok. Much better than I thought. I have my moments. I still can't talk too much about her without getting teary. But for the most part, I am ok. Of course, then I feel guilty that maybe I shouldn't be ok... Oy!
I loved my mother. Maybe there were more things that could have been done. But I truly feel I did the best that I could. Sometimes I get caught in the 'should have, could have, what if' game. But I turn from it quick. It helps no one. Any guilt that creeps in is just a reminder to be better with the present. Love unconditionally to all God allows in our path.
Another lesson He is teaching me.. Always learning.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble Proverbs 17:17
I saw on Facebook that they were celebrating an anniversary and wanted to make today officially 'Friend Day' on Facebook. That got me thinking about how blessed I have been over my MANY years with friends.
That, or the fact I am turning 50 in a couple of months, which has me in a reflective state lately.
I actually used to keep track of the 'angels' God blessed me every year. I have never really considered myself a 'materialistic' person. But all throughout my house are little gifts I have
received from friends. They are a daily reminder of those special ladies. A lot of them, we served
side by side in ministry. A few of them have been who I ran to when life was kicking my butt and
I felt hopeless. Some of them, I haven't seen in years, probably won't see again. What I do know is that each and every one of their lives has touched mine in a way that has shaped/added to the woman I am today.
So, friends, from me to you, much love and gratitude!
I started collecting pictures, but soon realized there was probably not going to be an end to it. So, if I don't have something you think would have been here, please know, it is in my heart. :)
Let's start with my very first BEST Friend. Tammy (Dykes) Miller. On weekends, we would take turns sleeping at each other's house. Saturday mornings, we would listen to the top 40s and write them down. We would take a Stephen King book and take turns reading to each other. I love her!
Church Youth Group. A great place to make friends. I came in a little late, didn't start going to church till I was 16. And that is only thanks to the lady on the left, Jean (Gordon) Wiggins.
She 'bugged' me every Friday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon about going to church with
her until I finally said yes. :)
This is a garbage bag wreath. My friend Katrina Porter and I would get together and make crafty things at Christmas time. And sometimes we included the kids! This wreath is about 20 yrs old.
Our family left the church I accepted Christ, met and married my husband, had all 3 of my kids, and was involved in just about every ministry in the church. Even the janitorial 'ministry'! So going to a new church was not easy, but these ladies welcomed me with open arms. God worked it so, as the Children's Director was leaving in a year, I was able to come in and learn the ropes under her. God's timing is perfect.... why do I always forget that?
The Tale of the Three Trees. This was an adorable Children's program that I had the privilege to work with Vickie Mays on. Let's be real, I loved Children's Choir, but I know nothing about music. So I would always make sure to team up with people who are musically inclined. :)And Vicki is so talented!
I love this. I pretend it is me and the lady who gave it to me, Sheila Cannon. She is SO much like me, it is scary, lol. She and her husband, Claude, were my 'angels' while I was the Children's Director at KABC. Their heart for kids was bigger than the moon. SO many adventures with this couple,
Breakfast with friends. Don't know how it started, wait, I think I know. These 2 ladies,
Cindy and Kim, would have breakfast together. One day I invited myself, and they let me!
Cindy would drop of her kids at school, Kim would take a break from work and we would
meet up at La Cubanita for some cuban coffee and toast. Yum!
I have this framed picture on my desk.
Becky Caddell is one of those ladies that I "ran" to when my world was stinky. But also, when life was good. Things worked out that our families blended well. We did most holidays together. Our kids even dated for a while.. AND we survived that!
Remember the title of this blog? Proverbs 17:17. The Caddells fall under both categories. They are our friends, but they are also our family. Maybe not in the literal sense, but in the HEART sense. :)
(BTW, this is our feet after a tour of IKEA. We found a couple of lounge chairs to rest our feet!)
Another amazing woman and friend. Mike & Linda Stanco are another couple that just 'clicked' with me and Fred. Mike and Fred are very similar. They are both quiet mannered,patient, and Godly men. Linda is all of that, I am NOT. But, still, she puts up with me! She is my Spiritual mentor. Somehow, God always uses her to speak to me when I need it most. She is who I want to be like when I grow up. We don't get to see them much since they live in NC. We try to schedule our vacations in a way that includes them. Hoping to do that this Summer!
You can find friends in family as well. Last year in February, I was in Florida helping Stephany with Keira, when my mom got very sick and was taken to the hospital. She had to be intubated because her breathing got so bad, I was beside myself, so far away. My sister in law Rachel became "ME".
She would go to the hospital every day, check on Mom and give me an update. EVERY DAY.
I don't know what I would have done without her. When we first moved to Tx, I began a love for birds. Rachel knew that and she would periodically give me gifts that reinforced that love. They decorate my little kitchen in Florida now. I look at them and remember what she did for me.
Another family member, who started out as a friend. Johnette Jones is married to Fred's cousin, Jimmy. They got married about a year or so before me and Fred. So they were the 'senior' couple. lol
We were even pregnant at the same time. Our kids are only a week apart. She and I worked in church ministry for upteen years together, mainly in children's ministry.
Those years are packed full of the best of my memories.
This group!! My KidFirst Family. Again, I was new to Tx, didn't have any friends, and by God's perfect timing (again!) I was allowed to be a sub for one of the teachers who went on maternity leave. But then they couldn't get rid of me! And let me tell you, it's not easy to put this many women working together and not have some bickering. But we didn't. Really. We had the same passion
and mission to love on the kids the way God loves us, there was no room for 'squabbles'.
I miss them terribly.
When I was in Florida during Keira's birth and subsequent medical problems with Stephany, I received this picture. Jennifer Tosh, the fearless leader of the group pictured above, sent it to me. Her heart is as big as Texas. I admire her and I am thankful for my time working with her.
These young'uns: Kristen Foley and Daley Warren.
I had the privilege to have these 2 as my work partners for a couple of years.
They are young, energetic, and silly. They made my heart happy.
Now, we are back in Florida. Not where we used to live, further south. So it's a whole new start. Again. I have to remember God's Perfect Timing. He will bring me and 'angel' or two again. I thank God for Facebook. I can sorta connect with my friends, near and far. But it is still not the same, you know?
I struggle with calling her my friend. I mean, she WAS at the time.. I thought... I was 14. She came from a family that was not like any I knew. She had 4 brother, 3 of them had different fathers. Her older 2 half brothers had already been in "Juvee". Drugs... She was 'fun'. I liked how she seemed to know what she wanted and went for it. And the fact that she wanted to be my friend, I felt lucky. But she is the girl your parents would forbid you to spend time with. That is why I would sneak out of the house to go hang at hers. Her mom would be out, partying herself. Debbie's house was stocked in booze and pot and pills, courtesy of her mom and her brothers. It was a 'dangerous' crew, which I guess it's why I found it so great. I was 14...
Then, I found out that she broke into my house with her boyfriend and they made themselves comfortable for an afternoon. That kinda opened my eyes. I needed to stop that friendship. Not long after, she moved back with her dad, out of state. We stayed in touch for a while. But then, nothing.
Have you ever heard the song "Can you reach my friend" by Debbie Boone? (it's a very old song)
You see, I don't think she had it so together. I now see she was SO lost. With reason.
I still think of Debbie and that song comes up. I wish I knew how to contact her. I wonder how her life turned out. I pray God intervened in her life. I would love to share with her how God has blessed mine.