Yakima Mom

All Things Mom

Mama 2

My house is a mess. I am remodeling the kitchen with the money left to me from Mom. Of all things to spend it on, I know she would be very pleased with this, as we plotted and planned for years what I might someday do with the space. She is happy.


I have watched two people leave this place followed by their families who look drained and hollow. I thought yesterday would be the day. She is tough.

 There was a ladybug in a hospital window earlier this week. I don’t think the window could even be opened, and I wondered how she found herself there, in a CCU conference room. I watched her for a bit before I got her to crawl onto my hand and then took her down the stairs and outside. It took a few seconds to get her to leave me and climb onto some flowers I offered. And I thought… This is something.


I have just about finished the obituary. There are a few early details I just don’t know, like when my parents moved from new York to Alaska, where they settled in Alaska, and what my deseaced brother’s middle name was.  

Here are some new things I do know: The human body can go a week without any calories. Eye drops in your mouth can help prevent the formation of saliva. Seasickness patches behind the ear can too. When people have a head injury, or even Parkinson’s or Alzheimers, they can appear very close to death and then sort of improve a little bit. Apparently it may have something to do with the mental part of letting go. Mom is going with this last on a lot.





Mama 1

I won’t even begin with the apology for not writing here in so long. Or the promise that I will do a better job of in in 2014.

But I am. And I will.

Without a doubt, the biggest event of 2013 was the unexpected death of my mother. She had a stroke and fell. Or fell and had a stroke. It was more than a day and a night before she was found.

The stroke was huge. “Devastating” was the word used by the doctors that came into the ER, and then later to her room. I didn’t know it at the time, but “devastphoto(17)ating” means no chance of recovery; nothing we can do. I learned that, and a lot more, during the next week.

I began writing while we were in hospice. I thought maybe there was something to be said in the jumble of grief and sorrow and tears that filled the days and nights of waiting, something worth saving. Lessons learned.

Friday September 6

Two weeks ago, I was having  “slumber party” with one of my favorite nieces on the eve of her wedding. Tonight, I am in hospice with my mother. Another slumber party of sort, but with too many tears, and the counting of decreasing breaths.

I should be working on the obituary, which I have started, but then I stopped when I realized how much I need to ask of my brothers to really tell the tale. I am a writer. Why didn’t I record all of this years ago?

 In spite of the agony of this, there is so much to be thankful for.  There is a 12 day old baby own the hall. Zellwegers* . The second for this family… I cannot imagine.

 My own mama was found last Tuesday in her retirement apartment. I am afraid she had this “massive stroke” on the Sunday afternoon prior… leaving her lying on the floor, all alone, for well over 24 hours before she was found and the nightmare for me began.

 I thank God that two weeks prior we were all at the wonderful wedding of my niece. She will be in wedding pictures. She was with six of her grand children all together. She met her most recent great granddaughter. It was a celebration, and we were all happy and TOGETHER.

 And now she is at 8 breaths per minute. Her feet are getting cool. There are signs that the end is coming. And after spending the last couple years thinking, “Hurry up!” whenever I took her somewhere, now I am realizing this is the end. I am stroking her cheek. Touching her hair. Tracing the bones in her hand. I feel guilty that I want this to be over.

 There is a fountain right outside our door, and it sounds as if we are beside a bubbling brook. The door is wide open, and a group of geese has just passed, calling to one another in the coming darkness. She loved geese. I told her they were calling for her and she could go. That I would be okay.

* http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/gard/7917/zellweger-syndrome/resources/1

Random Act of Humanity

shoesI ran my farthest training run yesterday… eight whole miles. And I’m pleased to say I wasn’t dying by the end.  It gives me faith that perhaps I can indeed do this half marathon thing for which I’m training.

At about mile five, I saw an old woman in her yard, struggling to push a lawn mower. She was easily 80, and couldn’t have weighed 100 pounds. Coiffed hair, slacks and a sweater, a string of beads looped around her frail throat.

It took no conscious thought to stop running. I took out my headphones, and realized the mower wasn’t even running. In fact, the yard had just been mowed. I asked if she needed help, and for the next two minutes, she shared how earlier she had been struggling to start the mower, and a man had stopped, started it, and proceeded to mow her front yard. She was trying to push the mower to put it away when I saw her.

“Sometimes people are so nice,” she said.

“Well, we’re supposed to be,” I answered.

She proceeded to tell me how her husband used to do the yard, but he died eleven years ago. And though she had wanted a family, she had none.

“Well, I have a 14 year old son who would be happy to mow your yard for you,” I told her. “We’ll keep an eye on your grass, and I’ll bring him by when it needs mowing.”

We spoke for another minute, and I pushed her mower where she wanted it, and I made a note of her address. The yard is small. It’ll take Jack less than 15 minutes to mow it.

I mentally subtracted 2 minutes from my time, and continued on my run. The last three miles flew by–ok, they didn’t actually fly by. I’m not very fast–but I was re-energized by my chance meeting with the sweet little lady.

While she considered my stopping to be a kind gesture on my part, it was simply a response. What I got from her… a reminder of why I–why we–are here, was the true gift.

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