Wednesday, January 2, 2019

IWSG: In Appreciation of Mom

      


                                                    


It's time for the first 2019 edition of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group Be sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh  and the rest of the talented bloggers who are always willing to lend a helping hand.


                                            In Appreciation of Mom

                                             
                                              


As I sat by my mom's bedside, I told her how she helped me in ways she hadn't realized.  I explained that it wasn't until I started writing about her humorous adventures that I developed a small but loyal following of bloggers which led to giving me the confidence to put together the anthology, Old Broads Waxing Poetic with Susan Flett Swiderski and a host of gifted writers/poets.

A few years later, I accumulated enough diverse stories to include in a modest portfolio, thus enabling me to get hired as a reporter for a local news website and newspaper - my dream job. But none of this would've been possible without my mom's help.

After I thanked her, Mom replied, "And in all that time I was never a burden."

And my mom kept her word. Even after she endured endless pain from spinal fusion surgery about 10 years ago, I was the cause of my mom's only complaint.

She lived in the multi-level home that my brother and I grew up in, while our home had a first floor bedroom and bathroom, So I insisted that she move in with us for almost a year. But my mom wanted to live on the edge instead of being in my overprotective custody.

She said, "I can't live with you, because you're too nervous that I'll fall every minute. How am I supposed to have any fun?" Mom was about 74 at the time.

Mom's health took a turn for the worse a few months ago. Some of her symptoms included: pneumonia, low hemoglobin which required a blood transfusion, and loss of appetite. She also has Parkinson's Disease.

She was admitted to the hospital on November 18th, but discharged after a few days against our wishes. Though at first she seemed to be doing better, on the day before Thanksgiving she was very weak and didn't recognize my brother. She also was barely eating.

My brother pleaded with the head hospitalist, head nurse and head of patient care to let her stay in the hospital and have more tests to find out why her health wasn't improving, but they insisted on discharging her.

Unfortunately, these strangers who had never met my mom before told him that she had dementia and there was nothing more that they could do for her. He tried to explain that she had all of her faculties before she had taken ill, but they wouldn't listen.

Nine days later  my brother and I agreed to have Mom readmitted to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a collapsed lung and stage 4 lung cancer. Apparently, the hospital hadn't done a CT scan during her prior visit.

She is now in hospice at the nursing home where she's resided for the last three years.Though my mom lost her ability to walk years ago, she never lost her  positive outlook. True to form, she is handling her recent prognosis with grace and dignity.

When I told her she doesn't have to be so brave, she explained that she's grateful to have lived a long life.

My brother and I have tried to spend as much time with our mom as possible. He has been a tremendous help to both of us. Though I tell him not to, he often visits me at the dialysis clinic before heading over to Mom's.

I'm also grateful to my husband and our boys. While my mom was in and out of the hospital, I never once had to ask our grown sons to visit her. They continue to see their beloved Nana frequently which is her greatest joy.

My mom has good days and bad days, but through it all she has never lost her sense of humor. Recently, when my brother asked her to tell me where she'd like to go, she thought for a minute and said, "To the mortician."

But she had talked about wanting to attend the Academy Awards. She always enjoyed the glitz and glamour and would've easily fit in during her heyday.

The other day, Mom noticed that my concealer wasn't blended in properly under my left eye and wanted to fix it. She couldn't believe that I didn't have an emergency supply of Q-tips with me, so she decided to make her own by attaching a cotton ball to a pen. So what if I risked getting poked in the eye, as it was more important to look good than to feel good.

This experience has definitely brought us all closer. My brother and I have spent many nights with our mom, reminiscing, singing her favorite songs and telling her how much we love her.

Growing up we fought about sitting next to our mom on the couch while watching our favorite TV shows. Ever the genius, my brother would always find ways to trick me into leaving the room, so he could steal my seat.

Now we politely take turns sitting next to our mom. Though on some days, Mom could barely speak above a whisper, she said she loves when we fuss over her.

On New Year's Eve, Mom's favorite nurse's aid announced she was going on vacation for a week.  We were all sad, because she's gone above and beyond for our mom and we think of her as a member of the family. Then she told me that my mom asked her to take care of me when she's gone.

In second grade we were asked to write about our best friend. While others were writing about their neighbors or classmates, I wrote about my mom.

I hope to continue writing about my courageous mom and all of her witticisms, Fortunately, she hasn't tried to throw me out of her room yet.


                                                  

32 comments:

  1. This is especially lovely to read as I'm sat on my Mum in-law's sofa while she takes a big nap. I'm staying with her for a few days, she needs constant care - and well deserves it too. She's survived five strokes. She has an immense sense of humour though needing care can get her down. To be independent is her only self-centred thought. Tomorrow we're getting our nails done :-) xx

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  2. Sorry to hear of these developments. Sending you all my best wishes, especially your feisty Mom.

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  3. Julie, through your stories, I have become very fond of your mom and I am so sad to read of her illness. Although the stories were very funny, your deep love for her always came through. I know how difficult these days are, but you are surrounded by the love of family and that is such a gift. Take care of yourself, dear Julie for that is what your mom and all your friends, including me, want for you.

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  4. Sorry to hear that your mom's health is declining so much. But it is great that she's kept her sense of humor and how dedicated your family is to her. Enjoy your time with her.

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  5. Oh, this made me tear up. I'm so fond of your mom thanks to your wonderful stories about her. Such a special lady and I'm so sorry to read this. I hope the two of you will enjoy the time you have left together. Many hugs to you and your whole family.

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  6. I'm sorry about your mother's health. It's wonderful you are all growing even closer and she still has her spirit. Hang on to that spirit and let it continue to guide and comfort you.

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  7. I had spinal fusion surgery when I was a teen. I couldn't imagine having it now or at a later age.

    I'm so sorry to hear her health is declining. Reading of how you have grown closer is lovely, though. Sending you big hugs.

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  8. Your mom sounds a bit like my grandma: feisty no matter what.

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  9. Lisa - I’m so sorry that your MIL has had 5 strokes. She’s so lucky to have you taking care of her. You don’t hear many stories about such devoted DILs. Enjoy your manis & I wish you both good health in the New Year! Thanks Lisa!

    Debra - Yes, I will pass this along to my “ feisty” mom! She’ll love it! All the best to you and yours in the New Year. Thank you, Debra!

    Arleen - I can always count on you to say the right words for any situation. Yes, my family is a gift and I cherish them all. I will read your wise words to my mom today. Thank you and Happy & Healthy New Year to you and your family! Julie

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  10. Oh Julie, I am so sorry to read this. I am glad you and your brothers seem to be doing well, and that your spunky mom still has her awesome sense of humor. Don't forget to take care of yourself.

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  11. Natalie - Thank you so much for the kind words. Wishing you and your family all the best in the New Year!

    Julie - Thanks for always being one of my mom’s biggest fans. I will share this with her today. Have a happy & healthy New Year, Julie!

    Julie

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  12. Alex - Yes, we’re grateful that our mom still has plenty of spirit. Thanks for all you do! Happy & Healthy New Year to you and your wife!

    Chrys - I didn’t realize that you underwent spinal fusion surgery. It had to be difficult at any age. Thank you and sending hugs back to you! All the best in 2019!

    Patricia Lynne - Sounds like you have a wonderful grandma! Enjoy every precious moment together! Thanks & Happy New Year!

    Rhonda - Though my mom inspired me, you led me to A to Z. Though I’ve said this before, I’ll always be grateful to you. Thanks for the kind words. Happy & Healthy New Year to you and your wonderful family! Julie

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  13. Sorry to hear about the recent developments. So glad she has her whole family around who are so supportive.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Nick. I know you’ve had to overcome a lot of sadness in your life and you’ve certainly handled it with strength and dignity. Wishing you and your family all the best in the New Year!

      Julie

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  14. GEM JULIE ~

    >>... Apparently, the hospital hadn't done a CT scan during her prior visit.

    I have so little faith in the medical establishment already. Don't even get me started!

    I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom's condition! You are so close, and I can only imagine that hurting feeling.

    But like good troopers, you deal with everything so gracefully. I am so glad, however, that you've all been given plenty of time to prepare for things, and you have been given the opportunity to say anything one might want to say. All loose ends (if there are any) can be tied up. I always feel bad for people who lose loved ones without any notice and must live with whatever the last interaction was.

    I'll remember you and your Mom in my prayers, Julie.

    ~ D-FensDogG @ STMcC Presents 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS'

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    1. Stephen - I still believe that there are many good doctors out there; unfortunately my mom has been through several incompetent doctors beginning several years ago with a neurologist. She was using a walker at the time and I asked him, “What if Mom woke up one morning and couldn’t walk at all?” He said that would NEVER happen. But it did happen about a month later and we never went back to him. I agree that it’s important to be able to say goodbye to your loved ones. Though it does not take away the sadness, It’s comforting for everyone involved to share their feelings. I wish that I had the opportunity to say goodbye to my dad over 40 years ago. Thanks for always being so intuitive and understanding, Stephen. I know how much you miss your “Ma.” Happy & Healthy New Year!

      Julie

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  15. Mothers are our cornerstone of courage aren’t they? I love what you wrote here and it sounds like she is just as feisty as my mom was. I still laugh at the things my mom said and smile at the sweet things she said. I think you and your brother are wonderful kids and she should be proud since so many nurses have told me how many kids just d7mp their parent off and leave never visiting. Hospitals are horrible and I would want to give them a piece of my mind...and I have in the past. Sometimes one has to jus5 dig in one’s heels when dealing with these people at the hospitals. Regardless, this is a tough time for you but you are blessed

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    1. Birgit - I’m glad that you find comfort in the funny & sweet things your mom said. It shows that your mom left behind a wonderful legacy. Yes, it’s true that many patients rarely have family members that visit which is heartbreaking. Thanks for the encouraging words and wishing you and yours a happy & healthy 2019, Birgit! Julie

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  16. I've always loved reading about your mom adventures. They were funny and witty and honest. You and she are so lucky to have the relationship you do. How special to share life with someone you love and admire.

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  17. Julie -- Your Mom sounds like quite a lady. Beyond that, you and your family are the support team so many Elder Orphans long for. As one who casts dementia, stroke, balky hearts, and other October/November speed bumps as major players in my relationship stories I can appreciate the way her spirit and spunk can serve as a tonic for everyone in her shrinking world.

    Obviously there are a lot folks wishing you the best possible 2019.

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  18. Lee - I know that you were also very close to your mom, so this means a lot coming from you. Yes, we are very lucky to have each other. Thank you and have a happy & healthy New Year!

    Gilguy - “Spirit & Spunk” describes my mom perfectly! I just saw a TV show that talked about how nursing homes were like orphanages for the elderly, so you are right on target with that too. It’s sad but true. I really appreciate your thoughtful insights and wish you all the best in 2019.

    Julie

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  19. Julie, I am so sorry to hear these new developments about your Mom. My heart is with you. You are both blessed to have each other. Thinking of you.

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    1. Connie - Thank you so much for the kind words. Yes, I am blessed to have my mom and I’ll remind her when I see her tomorrow. Happy & healthy New Year to you and yours!

      Julie

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  20. I'm so sorry to read about your mom's illness. Like your other readers, I feel like I know her, and to know her is to love her.

    "People are like stain-glassed windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." [Elisabeth Kubler-Ross]

    The light within you is showing, sweet lady. Matter of fact, your whole family is a-glow with love and caring. Cherish this time. Hang in there. I'm sending lots of thoughts and love your way.

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  21. Hi Susan - Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I took a college course that was based on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ research (I was a very cheerful kid), but I don’t remember this insightful quote. I will share it along with your kind words with my mom. I miss you!

    Julie

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  22. Your Mom sounds as great as mine was. I miss mine as do the rest of our family. We always had so much fun when we were all together. Things just aren't the same though they are still good--just different. Good mothers are like glue that holds the family together.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Lee - It’s good to see you! I remember how close you were with your mom and I know how devastating it was when you lost her. It seems that dads can also be “the glue that holds the family together” and you’re doing a great job following your mom”s lead. Thank you, Lee.

      Julie

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  23. Sorry to hear about your mom's health. Hope everything goes well.

    www.ficklemillennial.blogspot.com

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  24. Lol, your mom sounds great. I'm sorry to hear about her health. To say it's not good is a bit of an understatement, but her reaction to it inspires me. Thank you for sharing. I hope she recovers soon.

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  25. Hi Julie - gosh you do write well ... and I can totally relate having been with my mother til her end - she never did say she'd like to see the mortician though! We did have loads of laughs ... even the nursing staff came to see what the shindig was about ... and then burst out laughing too - total giggles.

    Just difficult for you with the dialysis ... but the family (all) sound like you're all working together ... it's been a pleasure reading - and long may you have lots of stories to tell us ... just being there is the best - with thoughts for 2019 - cheers to life and family - Hilary

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  26. I love your mom and everything she stands for, thanks to seeing her through your eyes.

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