One year..

One year.. 

It’s been one year & I’ve still had a hard time processing all that is or that isn’t.  I’ve kinda dropped off of blogging & maintaining my social media pages.  I lost a bit of interest, I couldn’t focus, it overwhelmed me.  I won't apologize, but simply give you a glimpse as to why.

Last year I went through a rollercoaster of a ride & I barely made it off that rickety, shaking beast of a ride.  In a matter of a few short months I lost 6 people.  The first one was hard, but then the next one came floating in, then the next..and so on.  It took a big toll on me, on my mind, my heart, my soul.  It was a lot to understand.  In fact I couldn’t wrap my head around it even though I pretended to.

I’ve always been able to fall, get up brush the dirt off my britches, doctor my wounds and carry on.  It’s the toughness or probably more like the stubborn in me.  This year has been tough.  Ya wanna know why?  I did just that, fell, got up and dusted off the dirt and moved on.  Problem is I didn’t properly doctor those wounds.  I covered them with a Band-Aid and pretended they didn’t hurt or even exist some days.  For a year I’ve just continued to change out the Band-Aid, not giving proper care to the wounds.  They became infected, and now I am forced to care for them properly or they will make me sick or maybe they already have a bit.

So here goes the first step to my proper care –

1.     being honest.  I hurt. I’ve been hurting.  I haven't been completely forthcoming with the hurt my hearts felt, disappointment or the what-if's  Why?  I don't know maybe out of fear to show vulnerability. But, I am going to open up & be honest and tell you the story in just a bit. 

2.     being more vulnerable.  I read this recently.  It struck a nerve & had me thinking all day about what it means. “It’s almost human nature to associate vulnerabilities with weaknesses. After all, being vulnerable is defined as being “defenseless” and “open to attack.” And sure, that’s not ideal for things like your home security or bank account. But when it comes to matters of the heart, being vulnerable is not only good—it’s necessary.”

3.     taking more care of me.  This isn’t a selfish “take care of me”, this is I am going to be more open and less closed.  Allowing for those close to me in.  I tend to be of that mindset “I can do all things for myself, let me also help take care of you”.  While I still want to take care of those I love, I also need to allow them to take care of me when they offer, and not afraid to ask when in need. Isn’t that what loved ones, friends & family are for & want to do?

All THREE are extremely important in what I am getting ready to lay out on the line & allow for my wounds to properly heal. goes my heart.

Please know that good, bad, or indifferent she's still my mom. I've never stopped loving or caring about her. Things happened the way they did & we can’t look back & feel regret. We truly did what we felt we could do for her at the time. Unfortunately, her state of mind didn't allow for her to make good choices. But, it's not my place to judge.  I now know she was incapable of making sound decisions or listening to reason.

OUR story.  I grew up close to both of my parents.  Despite any differences or flaws, I loved being with them, talking to them & just knowing they were my parents.  We have tons of fun memories that I often find myself telling stories that bring laughter, grins from ear to ear that'll make your cheeks hurt, and even sometimes tears.  We camped, rode horses, traveled to rodeos together, shopped, cried together, went on some cool vacations, brought home strays, cooked & ate dinner together, and if I am honest we partied together.  

Once I moved to New York, I would have long phone conversations with both, but I literally would spend hours on the phone chatting with my mom.  I drove from Texas to NY with a U-Haul and my mom by my side.  We mapped out the route accordingly, making impromptu stops along the way.  Many times, I would be anxious with thoughts of losing them, I just couldn’t imagine life without them.  Knowing age & health wasn’t always on their side.  My mom’s health was a struggle and was taking a toll on my dad.  We all talked about options, and at the time we all agreed a change needed to happen.  Kacey & I gave them the option to move up here. We would do anything to help take care of them.  Once up here in July 2012 we began the process.  At first it was good, a change that at times was hard, but we worked through them, together.  Mom was in the best health she’d been in for months, weight was good, heart was good, she was just doing good.  But that was only on the surface.  Until we realized something deeper was going on with my mom.  Something inside was rumbling, and since I was present at all doctor appointments I became aware.  I don’t want to get into all of the deep details, but during this time was when we realized she was and most likely had for many years been dealing with demons.  I say demons because they were hidden and they were very dark.  Living far enough away she could hide them from me, not that I think she was purposely hiding them.  It's just the way it was.  She struggled with depression, I had no idea until we sat in a doctor appointment one morning, and she told the doctor she’d been on antidepressants, I had no clue.  She admitted that she was struggling.  She couldn't figure out why she wasn't happy But, as my mind goes into survival mode trying to help, I realize as I dig deep this had been going on for a long time.  I guess hindsight’s 20/20… many of our hours upon hours of conversations she would talk about not being happy among other trigger words, but I didn't know then.  I relived many of our conversations in my head, just searching for answers of what could I have done to help her more. I wish I would’ve recognized the signs then.

In the midst of all this, there was a frightful night.  Again, the story is long & details are great.  It was a night that forever changed the direction of our relationship.  I only wanted to help her get better.  The person within, not my mom, wanted no part of it.  It was a dark time & watching her fade brought on a lot of heartache.

Through this my dad & I tried with my husband’s help to do what we could to help her.  Nothing worked.  We tried loving her, we tried tough love, we tried having conversation upon conversation, we asked doctors for help.. nothing!  The government failed us in a big way.  We couldn’t get the help we needed to get her.  The doctor’s hands were tied, our hands were tied.  She left and went back to Texas in May 2013.  

Over the next few years her health continued to deteriorate.  Mental illness is real & the reality of it set deep in my mind.    

Things happened before she left here that ripped our family apart.  It was one of the hardest times in my life, hands down, I was very angry when she left here.  I still feel gut wrenching pain from watching the person that I spent my life so close to turn into someone I didn’t even know.  Dementia was partially to blame, but depression was also a factor. Being sheltered from that throughout my life, I wanted to pretend it would all just work itself out.  It didn’t!  

July 4th, 2017 I received a phone call, but was sitting in the ER with my father all day with him ending up admitted into the hospital that night.  I was preparing for a surgery for myself the next day.  I was numbed by emotional and physical exhaustion.  And, then again by mid-day July 5 numbed with pain medicine.  I remember the recovery room and telling the recovery nurse my story…every detail (poor thing) as I drifted in & out of consciousness.  Amazing how vulnerable we become under the influence.  I cried & she, the nurse, consoled me as if we’d been besties forever.  It was the only tears anyone has seen me shed over this yet in private I’ve had full on meltdowns.  Remember 1, 2 & 3 up there?  Honesty, Vulnerability and Taking Care of Myself!

Here is what I wrote while sitting in the ER on July 4 with my father, it’s still sitting in my draft folder of my emails.

Today has been tough.  My mom passed away early this morning. I always imagined I'd be with her, but I wasn't.  The last couple of years have been a true struggle, & one thing I struggled with is knowing she struggled & there was nothing any of us could do.  All I wanted was for her to find joy & happiness and ultimately be pain free.  

After dinner last night we all took a walk. Not far from our house in the quiet & peaceful woods is this meditation circle. I never knew it was there.  The girls insisted they show me on this particular night even though we've walked this same area multiple times before. As you walk up to the circle the sign posted encourages you to pray, say a poem, let out your anger, cry, meditate.  I took the moment to pray as I walked the circle. 

My prayers were simple. First, for the Lord to tell mom I never stopped loving & caring about her.  I needed her to know that. That no matter the demons that were, she is my mom & I will hold our memories close to my heart & will continue to share them with my girls!  I will never let them forget who she was.  Second, I asked that He relieve her of her pain & suffering, for her to find joy, peace & true happiness. To let her go peacefully & in comfort.  

I believe she's in a much better place. 

Rest In Peace mom & know you're always in our hearts! 

The after dinner part was July 3, 2017, my mom passed at 3:30 am July 4, 2017.  I think of that walk often.  That was the most peace I’d felt since she left here.  

Yesterday was hard.  I struggled desperately to just get through the day. 

It’s been one year… I love her.  I miss her, every single day.  I still have voicemails on my phone, I can’t bear to listen to them even though I’d give anything to hear her voice.  To have just one more 3 hour phone conversation with her only to hang up to call right back because I forgot to tell her something, to take one more cross country trip with her, to have her hug my girls just one more time.

One more time.. just one more time!  

 I have so many photos..but just a few memories to share..

She was so excited that we came to San Antonio & I'd be dress shopping.  You can see her in the mirror taking pictures.  She took about 500 pictures that day. 

She loved the ocean.  She loved sitting out there with Kaitlyn.

For Katie's 3rd Birthday I took her & mom to see the Lion King. 

Her & Katie coloring

Best buds - Mom & Shea

She loved going apple picking

My mom & Kacey share a birthday.  My dad and I threw a surprise casino party for their 40th & 70th birthday (Nov 9, 2012).

Birthday kids

The parents!

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