Sunday, October 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Momma

Dear Mom, today you would have been 62. It breaks my heart to not be able to call you this year and have Hayden sing Happy Birthday to you over the phone! Last year on your birthday at this time, Hayden and I were getting ready to come over to your house to spend the day with you. We laughed and chatted while you finished getting ready, and Miss Stella White was there with us too. Hayden gave

you the birthday cards she had made you, and you enjoyed you firstborn granchild for the last time on your birthday. We then took you shopping for the Ipad you were determined to get and learn how to use. We got your Ipad, your signature purple case, and as we were picking them out, Miss Stella had an emergency, and had to go. Ben came to the rescue, and picked us all up, and took us to the Olive Garden, where we met Dad after he got off work. Andy and Stacy, who was pregnant with Mason, at the time, joined us for what would be our last family dinner all together. We ate, and you opened your presents, and posed for pictures. After you had gotten in the car, Hayden wanted to snuggle, so she sat on your lap for more hugs and kisses. I am so very glad that I took those pictures of you kissing her, and those last family pictures. Those and all my precious and memories are all I have left of you now. I know you will always be with me, and all around me. I see the sunsets, the rainbows, and everyday little things that make me think of you. It's just not the same, and never will be again mom. I miss your sweet smile, your infectious laughter, your ornry sense of humor, being able to talk to you, visit you, hug you, and kiss you. I miss your voice and the way you smell. I miss your kind and generous spirit. Today on your birthday, I miss you. So much it hurts. I know your having a grand old time up in heaven, but we all, Nana, Daddy, Hayden and I, miss you so down here. It's been ten and a half months, and this is the last milestone of the first year without you. I have kept my promises to you, and I am taking care of things down here! I miss you like crazy and love you forever! Happy 62nd birthday Mommy! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Adjustment Process

Until you have been through losing your mother, you cannot possibly fathom what it is like. Life changes. What you have known your whole life, is suddenly a cherished memory. One that you find yourself wishing you were back inside of. Some holiday traditions change and some remain the same.  But they are never actually the same ever again.  The focal point of the family will now forever be missing from the picture.  The one who married my father, gave birth to me and my brother, raised me, taught me everything I know, the one who became my best friend early on, the one I shared everything with no matter how big or how small, and the one who was my biggest cheerleader.  The woman who loved me no matter what and loved me like no one else ever could. She was my shoulder to cry on, and the one who held me when times got tough. She was my sounding board and constant source of advice and wisdom.  She was the one who shaped me and my personality.  She taught me to be kind, gentle and forgiving.  She is the one who taught me acceptance of everyone, no matter the differences.  She was was the one who instilled in me my morals, values and love of God. She was the strongest woman I have ever known.  No matter how much pain she was in, she always had a good attitude, and her sense of humor. Grace under pressure.  She had a blessed life, but her cross to bear was her health.  Few people know what she actually went through, besides our family and the doctors.  But that is a whole seperate series of blogs!
   So this Easter, I really missed my mother.  It was the first holiday, that my family has not spent together. My dad had to work, and my brother and sister in law took their almost three week old son to church.  We had planned to go to church with my husband grandparents, but plans changed.  We discovered the easter basket with the three year old, and ate breakfast.  Then it hit me.  The overwhelming grief.  The lump in my throat, biting my lip, so my three year old will not see me cry on easter morning, empty aching hole in my chest, missing my mother on this first Easter without her, pain and sorrow that we call grief.  Easter was her favorite holiday.  When she was a state level president of a fraternal social service organization, her year's entire theme was based on the Easter story.  Her fun symbols were bunnies and crosses.  She loved Easter.
   This is the first Easter when I did not spend time with my mother. This was the first year that I couldnt shop with her for the toddler's easter dress.  The first year I couldn't see mom's excitement at taking my baby for Easter pictures, and at opening granny and grandpa's easter basket. My mother absolutely loved buying my daughter dresses and dressing her up.  She loved my baby so very much.  She spoiled her rotten.  That is the way it is suppose to be. The way of grandmothers and granddaughters.  My baby was her pride and joy.  My baby will never again get to experience that love firsthand.  That breaks my heart.
   My mother's mother, Nana, and I have always been close.  My Nana and Pawpaw always called me their third daughter.  My mom shared an extremely close best friend relationship with her mother, and I with both of them.  These relationships are some of my most treasured things.  My baby will never have that with my mother and I as she grows up.  We were all very lucky in that we got to share these once in a lifetime relationships.  I am heartbroken.  My mother died too early.  Daily life had been a struggle for her for a long time. I know that she is in no more pain, no more suffering, and that she is rejoicing in heaven with her God. People tell me different ways to deal and cope with my grief, with this adjustment process, but I can only deal with it my own way.  My husband always knows what I need.  He had a daddy daughter morning while mommy "napped."  In reality, I sobbed my eyes out for a good hour.  I finally calmed down, only to start leaking again.  I then fell asleep for a little while before we had to go to my huisband's family shindig.
   So I decided, in the vein of being exactly like my mother, that we were taking my daddy Easter dinner, a card, and a chocolate bunny from my daughter to her grandpa. So boy was he suprised when he woke up to dinner in the fridge!  I crept in and watched him sleep for a quick minute.  I cannot begin to fathom his pain and suffering at the loss of his soul mate.  They did everything together.  They were one of the few married couples that actually enjy each other, and took care of each other.  Like I said, I cannot begin to fathom the depths, from his side.
   At bedtime that night, I started crying again.  So I went to bed, put the baby to bed, and had another good cry.  I miss my mother so much.  I am great at dealing and at compartmentalizing.  Some days I just cannot avoid the inevitable breakdowns.  No one can.  Everything I have known and been able to depend on my entire life, is now forever changed. Every day I miss my mother, and think of her all throughout the day. 
   I was raised in one of those familys where my Nana and Pawpaw's house was the gathering place for all big huge family holiday celebrations.  Everyone came, brought their kids, and it was a very loud, loving atmosphere.  Everyone was welcome.  My family has always had the attitude of the more the merrier.  Everyone caught up, watched sports, the kids played, and my grandmother had to be dragged out of the kitchen.  It was a family affair.   My husband's family is the same way.  I am glad.  I miss our big family shindigs.  After my grandfather passed, the celebrations moved to my parents house.  A year after his death, my grandmother moved in with my parents.  Some other family came and went over the years, most were now doing their own family celebrations, and were too busy to all get together.  My aunt and her kids moved to Charlotte, NC.  My uncle and his family kept expanding and they had their own family celebrations.  My mom and dad and nana became our holiday celebration.  A year and a half before my mother left this earth, she moved to Charlotte with my aunt and uncle.  She could not take care of my mother anymore.  It was time for someone to take care of her.  My poor mother could not.  My father was busy taking care of my mother and working.  My aunt now takes great care of my Nana.  I miss her everyday too.  My mother always said she did not think she would ever survive the loss of her mother.  I always agreed with her.  She had to deal with that loss to an extent, when my Nana moved to Charlotte.  But thank goodness she never had to deal with her dying.  It seems like my whole life, my mother was training me to be strong enough to live without her.  She made me strong enough to endure what she feared the most, losing her mother.
    I am, without a doubt, just like my mother.  A fierce lover, fighter, strong, emotional woman who takes care of those around her, with a strong sense of family.   I will raise my daughter the same way my mother raised me.  I will never let my baby forget my mother.  I promised her that I would never let her forget her Granny.
   So holidays come one at a time.  I am taking one at a time, surviving one at a time. It is rather unnerving and quite saddening to look back over the disassembly of our family holiday traditions.  Again, there is change happening as we speak, set in motion by my mother's passing.  Everything changes.  That is the one constant in life.  I just wish I still had my mother here with me now.  I wish that had not changed.  But it did, so now I find myself in a constant everyday adjustment process.  I think everyday for the rest of my life will be an adjustment.  It seems sometimes like it gets worse over the time span of the first year, not better.  It has been four and a half months now, since she was with me.  I think the shock has worn off.  I still find myself in days of disbelief.  I know she is gone but I cannot believe it.  I was there with her every step of the way, and it's still a crazy concept to me to be without my mother.  So it goes. Until next time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hold On Forever

Dear Mom, hello it's me again.  Today I decided on a way to constructively express my grief over losing you.  I have started this blog to get it all out, and to chronicle my journey as I navigate this life without you. I had a good cry today, as today marks three months since you  went to be with your lord and savior. I know you are rejoicing in heaven, but I miss you so very badly.  Not a day goes by that you are not in my thoughts.  I miss you every single day. This is the third monthly anniversary of your passing.  It is on this day , the twenty second of every month, that it is the hardest. Hayden talks about you almost every day.  I have made and will keep making sure that she never forgets you, as I promised. The other day I wished I could pick up the phone and call you.  I just wanted to hear your voice on the phone for one of our almost daily conversations.  Dad is taking us all to Disney on Ice, as you wanted to do this year.  I wish you could go with us.  I wish you could see your beautiful granddaughter.  In certain faces and expressions Hayden makes, she reminds me of you. I wish you were not gone.  I wish you had not been so sick, so that you could have done all the things you wanted to with Hayden.  I frequently look at pictures of you, us, and the family.  I look and I look, but they are no substitution for you. Having to go through this sucks.  It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  I don't think the pain ever goes away.  I think you just learn how to deal with the grief better.  You learn to hide the pain, so you can figure out a new funtioning normal.  I wish you were here, so that I could help you wash you hair, so I could help put your favorite fuzzy socks on, so I could blow dry and style your hair, and so that I could hug you and hold on forever. Hayden is singing to cheer me up...ok enough crying for today.  On to dancing and chocolate bunnies!  I love you momma!

Hardest Day Yet

Today marks 2 months since I last spent the day with you, last held your hand, last run my fingers through your hair, last spoke with you, last time I gazed into your beautiful green eyes, last time I wiped your tears, last handed you kleenex, last tucked you in, and the last time I gazed upon the face that I loved most in all the world, my mothers. I am heartbroken without you. Today I cannot stop the tears that run unchecked down my face, for I miss you so very badly. I just want to call or drop by and tell you all about Andy and Stacy's baby shower, and my surgery, and cute lil things that Hayden does, but I cannot. We've all been doing alright, but we all have our days where the grief is overwhelming. Today is my hardest day so far. I am, as Andy said, in pieces without you. It's the first 2 months in my life that I haven't talked to my mother, seen my mother, or helped my mother. You will always be my mother, my best friend. There are no more words to express my grief over losing you....I love you mommy!


Today I have found the words...I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the best friends and family a girl could ask for. Thank you to Julie Cochran for driving from Beckley to babysit so we could make funeral arrangments. Thank you to Libby Salyers for listening on my first Thanksgiving without my mother. Thank you to Amy Farley for being there everyday, for midnight Black Friday Walmart shopping, for along with your husband Jeff Farley, kidnapping Ben and I from all the sadness and madness, to escape for a little while. Amy you have been my lifeline. Who else would understand the need to honor my moms request, and insist on going with me, and then having Libby and Chad join us to make it a rainbow party? Thank you Amy for dinner and my fishbowl, and Libby and Chad Salyers for accompanying us for our lil Carla celebration dinner! Thank you to Angie Miles, Debbie Michael for my first threeway breakdown, and to you and the girls for the food. Thank you to Melissa and Teresa Cisco, and Amy for the food and paper products. Thank you to Erin Hutchinson for the food, sharing the preview,and our little girls playdate. Thank you Linda for the food and my daddies favorite cake. Thank you Libby for the Angel to remember my mommies green eyes. Thank you to all the Rainbow girls for the beautiful memorial service for my momma, she was smiling down from heaven, it meant so very much. You all meant so very much to her. Thank you to my mommies grand family for all being there for her Eastern Star service. Thank you to my daddies co workers for supporting him, and for the food Jessica. Thank you to Comer, Goof, Jessica, Jeremy and Means for being there for my brother. Thank you to Vickie and Jim Wannall, Jean and Tom Reedy, Alex and Thomas Harris(and AJ)for just being there for me. Thank you to Stacy Wright for being my brothers rock, his soul mate, and for taking care of my daddy. That lil one sure is a lucky lil guy to have you for his mommy. Thank you to my daddy for being here for me too. Thank you to everyone for any little thing you may have done, a kind word, food, flowers, hugs, shoulders to cry on, from my family and I. We are forever in your debt. Lastly, thank you to my wonderful husband, Benjamin Harris. Thank you for always knowing what I need, always taking such good care of me, of my family, for cooking Thanksgiving dinner as mom and I had planned, for making our house the gathering place, for Dad and Andys first WVU tailgate party without mom, for doing the dishes, the laundry, for taking care of Hayden, for giving me space when I needed a little, for cleaning, for arranging babysitters, for being my soul mate and my rock, all without a word. I love you more than words and would be lost without you. I am a lucky girl!


One moment, one memory, one day at a time...please keep my family, and all those who have lost someone dear to them recently, in your prayers this holiday season. Everything is a first without her...first hospital trip without my mommy by my side, dads first night, and every night in a big ol empty house alone filled with her memories, Andy's joy for his unborn son that she will never know, christmas shopping without her, decorating without her...this season is filled with laughter and tears for our family. Christmas was her favorite holiday. Please lord, let there be more laughter than tears and help us through this difficult time!

5 Days,, Last Request, and A Holiday...

Dear Mom, I have honored your last requests. I have led our broken family through our first Thanksgiving together without you, Ben cooked the menu you and I planned on the phone together. There were lots of tears, sadness, love, laughter, and togetherness. Amy took me to do you makeup, like only I knew how. We laughed, giggled, reminisced, and remembered you. We had a last girls party with you! Libby and Chad came as well. It was like old times, except you were looking down on us from heaven laughing with us, as I did your makeup, as promised. You look gorgeous. We then had dinner together in memory of you. Thank you for my sunrise of purple and gold streaming through my window this morning, in answer to my prayer. I took lots of pictures. The purple clouds above my house were beautiful. Were getting through this mommy, together. Its hard not to rejoice over your wonderful life and legacy ,as you are sending peace to me. I am so very proud of Daddy and Andy. They are so strong and they don't even know it. That's you in them. You were the strongest woman I have ever know, and you taught us all how to be strong by your example. I was blessed to be you daughter! Thank you!

32 Hours After

Dear God, I am thankful for my mother and every minute that I had her. I am thankful for the three voicemails I still have from her. I am thankful for you choosing me to be this great ladies cherished daughter. I am thankful that we were so close and that we were best friends. I am thankful for the cold cold air outside that is helping me breathe at the moment. I am thankful that I held her hand the last two days of her human life here on earth, and maybe helped her a little. I am thankful for the strength to be the strong one, and make the calls, and make the decisions. I am thankful that we all made it through the first day without her, together. I am so thankful for my husband. Shock is starting to wear off, and the hole is getting like Hayden says dear lord, I need a little bit of help today. Help me to find that peace I have had the last three days, that has run away overnight. A mere 24 hours after you took her home to be with her, is Thanksgiving day, and I have to lead my grieving, heartbroken family through it. Her last request was planning turkey day menu with me at my house, so Ben is cooking her menu, we are honoring that request. Thankful for all the best friends, family, extended family I have pulling me through this...dear god I just need a lil bit o help right now. Amen! ...