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A Year Ago-Mom

A Year…It seems like such a short time…unless you have had heartache and pain intermixed throughout.   And..if you are with out your mother whom you loved deaply. I can hardly believe I have survived a year living, growing, laughing, loving with out my mother to share it with.  This Sunday at church we had a speaker and I heard something that made so much sense to me about loss.  He said that when you lose someone, you not only lose their presence and influence on your life, but you lose some of the person that you are because of them.  I have never heard it said that way before.  It is true.  As much as I carry the person of mom around with me…I have lost a little of the Tiffany.  The person that I was because of my mom.  There are plenty of great people that still influence my life, but I have lost the greatest influencer on my life thus far in my life and it is hard.  I miss her!

Showing her the photo slide show for her funeral. Sad, but she wanted to see them.

I have had so many people say that I was lucky to have such a great relationship with my mom.  I WAS NOT ONLY BLESSED BY GOD, BUT I WAS HONORED BY BEING HER DAUGHTER!!  And I knew it.  From the time I was very little- I had a great deal of respect, admiration, and intense love for my mom.  I don’t know if it was because she was the only family that I had (we had great aunts, uncles and cousins that lived far away), but she was there day in and day out.  Even when I knew she was tired and worn out from working two and three jobs…there was still a joy, a pride and a love that said she was happy to do it all for us.  A look that said we were more than worth it.  I know now as a parent that it is this love that drives us and keeps us going on those tough days.  But still, when I think of my mom…she did it well.  She did it better than most of us.  I think not having a husband or really anyone to help for as long as I can remember made her more dependent on the Lord.  It was His help and His strength that kept her going.

This week I have been a little bitter in the fact that we signed our boys up for baseball for the first time.  (They are both fairly good athletes and although we have taught them just about every sport in our front yard, we thought it was time to get them on a team for real competition.) I am not frustrated because they play baseball, but rather because we are gone all the time. We have baseball almost every night this week!  GRRR!!! Now I know that our lives are a bit different from others in light of having Rachel…but I am so tired.  I have help this week from Paul (compared to last week), but all I can think about is…how in the world did my mom do this????

EVERY DAY

EVERY YEAR

ALL BY

HERSELF???
I can’t even start to grasp how hard it was for her.   I guess that is why at times I cry for joy that God called her home as well.  I am so sad without her here. I wish I could talk to her, ask her for wisdom and advise, get encouragement that only  a mother can give.  BUT I know she is in glory.

On Sunday we were singing a hymn about heaven and wearing the crown on our heads.  The tears began to roll.  I was sad, but at the same time so very happy.  I envisioned mom standing before our Lord singing praises.  She loved to sing and I sure can imagine the joy in her heart as she is currently singing before our King!!  As much as I would love to have her here with us…I could not ask it even if it were possible.  But oh how I long to hear my mother’s voice again and the joy that came so easily with just her presence.  She was faithful to the Lord, devoted to her family, helpful to others, encouraging, funny, silly, and incredibly loving.

A year ago today…. I was working to convince her that she should come back to our house for her final moments here on earth.  She was so unsure.  I had been saying this for several days.  Her response each time was, “It will be too much for you.”  She was always so concerned that she would be a burden on others.  She had a hard time understanding just what an amazing woman/mother she was, and that the gift of this very small sacrifice from my sister and me would be the last one that she would be able to give us.  A gift of allowing us to serve her.  At about 11am finally she said, “If you think you can handle it, I would like to come home.”  God’s timing was perfect.    By 1pm the plans were in motion to get her home the next day.  It still amazes me.  God knew.

The final 24 hours of her awake time I wish I could have back.  Much of it was spent in preparation for her arrival to our house ect.  We needed to get a bed, the medicines for comfort, and a few other things for her last moments here on earth.  I sometimes lament on how I wish I would have just spent that time talking to her, holding her hand and singing to her.  Who cared if the house was clean, or if we had the right food…in the end it really didn’t matter.  Sometimes I think that was one of her final lessons that she taught me.  I am usually so concerned with the (never possible) house being clean, or the yard looking nice, or making sure things are a certain way.  She used to say to me, “Stuffaruie (her nickname for me), all of that really doesn’t matter. Loving Jesus and loving your family is all that counts.”   The day she came home, she had a glorious smile on her face.  She was so happy.  (Unfortunately I missed some of the time with her earlier that morning, cleaning and getting a nursing station ready for all of her supplies.  I was planning on getting it all done so that I could spend every minute that she was at our house with her, until she left this world.)  Little did I know that I in turn missed 2 of those precious hours with her.  She arrived home with great celebration and while still getting the nursing instructions and paperwork filed she went to sleep and never woke.  She was at our home less than an hour.  I didn’t get to have those last minute conversations, or actually the saying, “See ya in Heaven”.  We never said goodbye, just see ya later because we are certain of that fact.  However, my last see ya’s were with her body.  The dr’s and nurses say that they can hear you still, and I pray that is true.  We were able to have a short talk just before her passing.  She lightly squeezed my hand, but it was not at all like I had envisioned it.  It still brings tears to my eyes.  We worked to get her comfortable, exchange a few joyful expressions about what the next few days would bring (Caleb’s sweet 6th birthday), home movies of past memories…instead we had a full 24 hours of her body present with out her being able to communicate with us.

While Kim and I were blessed to be able to care for her completely during that short time, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.  To see, know that our efforts were just helping her to leave this world with the grace and peace was unyielding.  Kim was great at administering the medicine that was helping her to experience no pain. We had to constantly swab her mouth to help the saliva from draining into her lungs making it more difficult to breath.  It was an amazing experience.  And it was also one of the longest day/all night of my life.  Listening, counting respirations checking the fingers for the color.  (It was odd in that I have often done these very things with our sweet Rachel when she has been ill.)  However…the intensity of it was immense.  26 hours from the time my precious mother was wheeled in our house, she was escorted into the heavenly gates!

So, it has almost been a year ago that I have had the joy of talking to my precious mother. To hear her voice, her gentle assurances, and know of her love.  It seems an eternity, but oh how sweet eternity will be when I get to see my devoted Savior and my beloved mother!  Today I rejoice through the tears and reflection.  I am reminded to live today as though it is your last, because it certainly could be…and if not for you, someone that you deeply love. Take a moment to reflect on the things that you do and say to others, those  you love and even those you just encounter.  God has a plan and a purpose for you.

Seek Him, trust Him, and love like Him.

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