Milestones

It’s Been A Year

It’s been a year since I got the midday call from my dad on a Monday, that Mum was on her way back to the hospital.  This time for trouble breathing and subsequent low blood pressure and low heart  rate.

It’s been a year since the last time we laughed together. Watching Wheel of Fortune in the ICU, and laughing over her insistence that Nurse Steve was Doctor Steve, but if you asked him, he would say that he usually cleans the floors.  I went to the hospital after work, like I usually would do when she was admitted. Didn’t matter if it was Lawrence General or Brigham and Womens,  I would head in after work.  It got to be the norm, even if it was just for a half hour.  The plan was to get her temporary pace maker put in until they could stabilize her for the permanent pace maker the next day.

It’s been a year since my mother had to have her temporary pace maker put in . I went to the hospital after work as usual.  She was sedated when I got there from the surgery and the nurse said he was going to make sure she was comfortable .  We thought things were good, so we left for the night.

Its been a year since my sister Rachel and I went to dinner  after the hospital.  We went to Burtons in North Andover. We both got some sort of Thai bowl and substituted chicken instead of some sort of Tofu type product.  It was quite delish.  We ate, dinner was uneventful and we said our goodbyes for the evening .

It’s been a year since I got the call on rt 93 south right before the 128 split.  Rach said we needed to get back to the hospital now.  I flew off the highway and turned around and drove like a madwoman back to the hospital.  I remember I kept telling myself = ” As long as I am not there yet, she is still alive” Like it was a Schrodingers cat situation.  I just kept repeating it.

It’s been a year since I arrived at the hospital and found my dad in the parking lot.  We made our way inside to the ER since that was the only door that was open.  I was greeted by our friend/sister Andrea .  I will never forget the hug she gave me.  She wrapped herself around me and we held hands as we were escorted to the ICU.

It’s been a year since I felt the stinging of my tears as I walked the hall to the ICU to find my mother in shock.  I cannot shake the memory of it.  I remember her face and the events like it happened 10 minutes ago. I remember crouching down at the foot of her bed and sobbing and thinking how can this be real?

It’s been a year since the family assembled , rallied in hopes of a positive out come.  It is a real testament to my mother and what an amazing family we have .   Sitting together outside the cardiac cath lab as they tried to save her.

It’s been a year since the doctor came out and told us our only hope is to send her to Boston since she coded for 10 minutes and there was not much else they could do for her there. My dad would of moved mountains if it meant for a chance for Mum to live.

It’s been a year since the group of us held each other as we waited for her to be returned to her room so we could see her.  Our group was 11 strong so we could not all wait in the ICU, we were relegated to the waiting room outside of ICU.

It’s been almost a year since the nurse came down to get my dad and inform us that she keeps coding.

It’s been almost a year since we made the decision that she had had enough.  And the next time she coded we would let her rest.

It’s been almost a year since we told her it was okay to go .  And that we would be okay. It was  the hardest thing my heart has had to do , telling her it was okay to go when all I wanted was for her to stay.

It’s been almost a year since I held her hand and kissed her head and told her how much I love her.

It’s been almost a year since it was August 2nd, 2017 at 12:15 am , when she left that body that jailed her for over 30 years , and became the best guardian angel any of us could ever hope for.

It’s been almost a year since my heart was immeasurably broken .

Not a day goes by that I do not think of her and all the joy she brought to our lives.  My heart hurts and I miss her so terribly.  I only hope I made her proud and she knew how much we loved her.

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Hug your loved ones tight and make every day count.

As Mum lived by =Don’t Stop Believing !!!

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Things to Think About

Pieces of Her

Good night world and all who inhabit it,

I am gearing up for my weight loss surgery. It will be taking place mid June. Some of you may know that there is a process to this weight loss surgery, the process isn’t bad.  It is interesting .  I have done my first 2 nutrition appointments and met with the surgeon.  Next week I have , nutrition, psychiatrist and endoscopy.  Since I started , I have been trying to make changes so that once I have the surgery its not so bad adjusting.

First up -no bubbles.  Not supposed to have carbonated beverages so I cut out soda.  I was drinking sparkling water to get the bubbles thinking it would help me, but  I had to cut it.  I have been drinking my 64 oz of water each day .

Protein – I am going to start getting some protein shakes since day 2- day 9 after surgery will be all shakes.

Anyways, I have been trying to get moving more and this week I have been really thinking about my Mum. Probably the impending Mother’s Day holiday.

I was driving along this weekend and I started squeezing my butt to the beat .  I can hear my Mum now, her proudly proclaiming how she would do her butt squeezes to the beat of what ever song was on… Maybe if I keep it up, I will have ” Buns of Steel” lol.

I was cooking dinner the other night dancing around the kitchen, and all I could do was think of  Mum.  Dancing around to One Direction, no less.  Ridiculous I know, but have you listened to them? So damn catchy! Current obsession is ” Steal my Girl” and “Perfect” .  I ain’t too proud to admit I am a grown ass woman dancing around to a boy band that’s not NKOTB or Backstreet Boys. ( for the record, saw NKOTBSB in concert at Fenway Park – UNBELIEVABLE Show!)

Its these little things that I feel Mum shines through.    I know I am probably searching for signs and finding them in places, but its comforting to an extent, like there are pieces of her here with us .

Like tonight, I was taking a ride to go see her, her headstone is in.  I needed to see it in person. So I am driving along and ” Beast of Burden”  by the Rolling Stones comes on .   I don’t remember downloading it, could of been the hubs or maybe the kids, but in any case, there it was blaring out.  My mother and I had this running joke – I was forever singing ” I’ll never be your BIG SUBURBAN ….” instead of Beast of Burden.  So there I was crying my eyes out on the way to my mothers grave singing at the top of my lungs

” I’LL NEVER BE YOUR BIG SUBURBAN !!!”

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I know she is always here with me, I just like when she reminds me in funny ways.

 

Back to my weight loss stuff – I am currently down 5 lbs! I am looking forward to the surgery . I know I have the best Guardian Angel on my side 🙂

 

Don’t Stop Believing !!!

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Daily Rants and Raves

Surprised on a Sunday

Today started like any other day. Woke up , sore as hell.  Exhausted even though I went to bed early.  Hubs got me a coffee, which was wonderful.

I had the thought that I wanted to go see Mum today . I haven’t been to see her in a while, which I feel terrible about. So I figured ,its warmer today than it has been, so today is the day to take a ride over to the cemetery.  I did some tidying up and asked Maddie if she wanted to go for a ride with me.

I called my dad to see if he would be around, figuring that I would stop by to see him after we stopped over to see Mum.  He told me he was on his way to Salisbury to look for some snowy owls.  You see, my parents have been birders my whole life.  When we were kids we would all reluctantly be packed into the car to go look for birds.  My parents , bribed us in their own way.  To keep us interested, different birds were worth different amounts of money.  Hawks got you $.25, Owls were $.50 and eagles, well eagles were $1.00!!  I got blessed with really good eyesight.  While,my parents and sisters have all had to wear glasses, my vision is still very good.  In fact, I acquired the nickname ” Eagle Eyes” when I was a kid.

Maddie loves animals, loves owls .  We keep talking about how Papa will take her to find some owls.  So,my dad suggested that we meet him to go see if we could see some owls or anything else we could see.  We are on our way and he calls me to say he has found a snowy owl.  Not sure if it will be there when we arrive, but we are going to try .  Maddie and I drive over to the Salisbury reservation and meet my dad.  We pull up and I can see his telescope all set up next to his car, facing the marsh.

He tells us where the owl is , its pretty far out, but he tells me where to look, and I can see the little white spot without the binoculars or telescope. I look with the binoculars and there he is, a snowy owl sitting on top of a wooden structure in the marsh.  I show Maddie where to look and it takes a little bit, but finally she sees her first Snowy Owl. The look on her face was so precious. It was exciting for me too, when I was a kid, I had only seen 1 snowy owl.

Its low tide and we decide to check out the seals.  The seals are always on these rocks in the mouth of the river right before it goes out to the ocean.  You can usually catch them lying around with their big fat bellies . Excited due to low tide and the fact we have not only binoculars , but the telescope, its going to be awesome to see all the seals.

The seals were my favorite part of the birding trips when I was a kid.  I wanted to be a marine biologist . I wanted to be the person swimming with the killer whales at SeaWorld.  I gave up that dream a long time ago, but I was horrified to learn of the gruesome conditions the whales were subjected to at SeaWorld. Check out the Blackfish documentary if you don’t know what I am referring to .  However, my boys have reminded me that I could still be a marine biologist , I could still go back to school.

We head over to see the seals, and what the hell -there are NO fricken seals!!!  Never had I gone in the winter to see the seals and there has been none. It was such a let down.  Honestly, it was very strange.

We then traveled over to the Parker River Refuge on Plum Island to see if we might be able to see some more birds.    One of the tell tale signs of something to see is when you see a bunch of cars and they are not in a parking lot.  Sometimes they are lined up on the side of the road or parked in a weird way.  We find one of these spots.  We pull up and ask a man with binoculars if there is something to see.  He says there are 2 snowy owls.  One on a post near us and one on an Osprey post further away.  The closer one was pretty easy to see .  Maddie was able to see it.

 

Maddie checking out the owl
Maddie checking out the owl

We then went to see the other owl we were told about and lo and behold, sitting atop of the Osprey post was the owl.  It was pretty cool.  We decide to drive to the end of the island and see if there is anything else.  My dad spys a little white spot in the marsh, I take a look and to me it looks a blob of snow.Dad takes a look and says yup its an owl, I can see it eyes. I couldn’t.  But when it started to fly that kinda sealed the deal that it was an owl, lol.

We saw a total of 4 Snowy Owls today.  It was really special for me and I know it was for Maddie.   After we left Salisbury we stopped at Dunkins before heading to Plum Island.  While waiting, my dad turned and said to me ” you said you wanted to see Mum today, and you did”  I hadn’t looked at it like that but he is totally right.  My whole life looking for birds, I have only ever seen 1 Snowy Owl, and today we see 4.  Call it what you want, but I think it was a sign from her. A really great surprise today .

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Daily Rants and Raves

The Last First Thanksgiving

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We are on the cusp of the Holidays.

I am dreading this. How do I do the holidays without my mom? I know , I know, people lose people every second of every day, I am no different. I have lost before. It royally sucked when my sweet Gram passed in 2015.  And that year the Holidays were hard, but how do I do this?

For God’s sake, I can’t even write about how I am even going to begin to deal with this and I need to figure it out asap.  I just don’t know.

My daughter and I watch the Voice every week.  Our favorite is Janice Freeman, if you have watched it this season – you need to discover the absolute powerhouse that is Janice Freeman.  That being said, Janice was last to perform last night, well after my daughters bed time.  Right before Janice was about to come on, my daughter walks out of her room in tears, clutching her bunny she made with Nana, crying about how much she misses Nana.  Breaks my heart every time.  I kinda think it was Mum this time making sure she got to see the person she wanted.  I know its a stretch, but hey,I will cling onto anything I can , lol.

I am terrible at this. I really am . I need to be the one there for my kids when they are upset, especially when it is about Nana, and instead I am joining in the cry . Or crying everyday.  Like, when does this get better? When does the pain subside? I want to make my mom proud .  I feel like I was such a let down in her life.

I gotta find my way in this world and I don’t know how to take that first step.

I love writing this blog, It is such a release for me.  I think its time for a revamp, hopefully in the coming year, I can give it a fresh makeover.

Hope you will stay along for the swim.

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Things to Think About

The Bittersweet Dance

I have been working on this one for over a week, forgive me for the past tenses.


 

 

After my mother passed away, my sisters and I decided to enroll all our girls in dance class.  The same dance studio that my mother went to , the same dance studio that we went to.  For years on Wednesday afternoons, we would make the half hour drive to Amesbury for our tap, ballet and jazz lessons. As I sat there waiting during my daughters class, so many memories flooded back. It didn’t  help that literally amongst the picture collages on the wall were some pictures of my mom.  Looking at her pictures, she was so full of life!  She was so happy. She loved dancing, she loved dancing school, she loved the family that owned the studio.  Its funny, so many people at her services commented on what a great dancer she was and how much she loved to dance, but honestly, I can’t remember when she was well enough in recent years to actually dance.  I bet it had been 10 years or more.

It was so bittersweet,  heartbreaking actually.

It seems like this week everything has been crappy.  I am still dealing with armpit issue.  They hurt so darn bad. Still.  I went to the doctors on Monday. More blood work.  If my levels were high, then Pet scan would be ordered.  My levels are elevated by not high enough I guess.  My doctor is also trying to get me on a different medication that may help me better.

In the meantime, I am still in pain and I am still sore.

I am struggling with my disease, that’s what the doctor is calling it.  Though the whole thing isn’t fully named, I am really having  a hard time.  I don’t know even how to explain it.  Just being is difficult.  It is hard getting out of bed, getting dressed, all my daily activities.  I have faith that I  will get an answer eventually  and that I will have a regimen that works for me. In the meantime though, Things suck.

I want to feel better, more than anything.  I am terrified that I am cursed with my moms poor health and that I am doomed to follow her path. And I know, I know, situations are entirely different , and yes, I am most likely being dramatic, but  I don’t want that. I don’t want to deal with this crap the rest of my life. I want to live the best life possible.  I just don’t know how to do this.

I am wrestling with my emotions and reality.  What am I supposed to be or do ?

I need to lose this weight. I need to be better and I need to move. But I can’t while I feel this awful on a regular basis . I need just need to have faith that answers and treatment plan will come soon .  Its hard .

My mother always saw the light through the dark.  The positive through the negative.  The love above loss.   I wish so much I could be like that , and I swear I am trying .  I just at a loss on how to execute it.

Hopefully one day I will rise above and be able to live this life the best way I can .

Until then, I will just keep swimming.

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Things to Think About

You May Say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one …. 

Momma was too . 


My mother was probably the biggest dreamer I know . Always having hope that her dreams would come true . I’d like to think that all her dreams came true , but I’m sure they didn’t . I mean if her dream was to be the bestest momma ever and the bestest nana ever and just the greatest human to ever live – then mission accomplished! 

Sunday we started the process of going through Mums things . Gut wrenching doesn’t even describe it . It was fucking awful . It would of been no matter if it was a month since she has been gone or 10 years . I hated it . 

As long as I can remember my mother was always dreaming of a better way , dreaming of her own business so she could contribute. She did the usual , you know the home party route , Princess House , Party Lites , she did Avon . In fact , it was when my mother was canvassing the neighborhood selling Avon that friendships were forged with our neighbors . Now , 34 years later , we are still friends . That’s magic . 

My mother had a cross stitch business for a large part of my life as her health would allow . She would sew these amazing samplers and then she would stain them to look antique. I would go with her to craft fairs . She was so talented , it blows my mind . She had done an after school program that I helped her with . She made cross stitch kits for these kids . They all loved it . Honestly I had forgotten about it until I was looking for a cross stitch kit for my daughter and I to do together . I , myself haven’t done it for probably 20-25 years, but I want to give it a whirl . And my daughter wants too a lot . So the search continues for a kit . 

Amongst my mothers things were a plethora of crafting items . From frames to jewelry making tools and beads to jewelry she wanted to sell , and as I think of it , it makes me so sad . She had all these ideas , probably thousands of ideas and she never really got to see them through .  

It just breaks my heart that her body would  not allow her to fulfill her dreams . I hope she didn’t look at it that way , but I can’t help but think of it like that . 

All of this has me really thinking about my dreams and what I want out of my life . What am I passionate about ? What do I want to do in my life ? I mean I got very lucky with 3 healthy kids , but what do I want ? For me ? To fulfill me ? I think as parents we get so caught up in our kids that we forget about ourselves and what made us who we are to begin with . 

So , for me , I want to get back into writing . I have story ideas that I need to bring to life.


I love writing . I always have and it’s something I have been going over and over . In another moment when Mum sent me a sign , I was watching the Simpson’s last night ( yes , I watch the Simpson’s , don’t be hatin’) and it was the episode where Moe becomes a writer and gets to go to Word Loaf . Check it out below : 

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I looked at it as it’s an episode about writing . And I have been searching to find myself and how I honor my mother . So , I took it as a sign . 

I think the way to honor her the best is to just be me and not stop dreaming . 

And now that I’ve got some star power up there , maybe some of these dreams will come true . 

Don’t stop dreaming 

Don’t stop Believing 

Don’t stop Swimming 

Things to Think About

Signs on a Saturday

Hi everyone. How’s the weekend treating you ?  I had a very busy Saturday . Which I am already paying for . My body is screaming today . And I slept pretty darn awful . But let’s focus on the positives of yesterday . 

I made what is becoming my weekly pilgrimage to see Mum . This week my daughter picked out a red heart balloon that says ” I Love You” and we picked out a bouquet of various colored roses .  It’s hard for me to go to the cemetery. I guess it’s the part where I leave her there . All alone . I feel like putting in a couch there for us to go sit and talk to her , lol. I think though I want to get her some of those solar lights so it’s not so dark for her . 

I’m trying to deal with my mothers death in a healthy way , but really , how fucked up is that ? A healthy way ? What does that even mean ? How is any of this healthy or right ? Healthy should of been what she was . And right is definitely , what this is not . 

I also trying to get my emotions under control because the more upset I am, the more prone to flares I am.  I seem to be in a flare state since my mother died and I am in a lot of pain , physically and emotionally. I am hopeful my recent change in meds will help with this, but so far no . 

So ,back to my day . We go see Mum , then head for a quick visit with my dad . Then we head to get our hair done . My desperate need for cut and color and my daughters back to school cut . We get there early so we  walk around hunting Pokémon . Lots of walking around . We get our hair done , head to pick up my oldest from work and head home . The hubs and I went out for the night to celebrate our 18 year anniversary. 

We get home late and I am so exhausted. I’m trying to get to sleep when my daughter comes in upset about Nana. She is crying and inconsolable.  She’s clutching her bunny Pinky which her and Nana made together at Build a Bear . Seeing her like this just breaks me . I’m trying to comfort her and myself at the same time . So I tell her about the Signs . Signs that Nana will show her that she is there and with her . I tell her a story about how a cardinal came in the yard the other night while I was talking with my dad . How I know it was Nana . I tell her how even though she can’t hear her say “Hi Maddie , I am here ” she will let her know that she is there with her . I give her a blanket of my mothers for her to sleep with and I head to her room to tuck her in . When I get to her room she holds up 2 Beanie Babies . 

Wouldn’t you know ? ONE WAS A CARDINAL ! I burst into tears again . I told her that Nana was letting you know she was here already! I don’t know who it comforted more , me or her . 

Even in death, Mum is still looking out for us and giving us what we need . Absolutely incredible. 

One of my most favorite movies is The Crow. We even named our dog , Draven , when I was a teenager after the main character, Eric Draven. Mum loved that dog .  This is one of my favorite quotes from that film :

” If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.”


Real love . Real love extends beyond a significant other . Real love extends beyond our children , our parents . Real love is love we have for those in our life we would do anything for . Regardless of blood . 

Signs are real . Weather or not it originates in your head , if it comforts you , it’s real . For now it’s what I will believe in .