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I was told “You Are My Angel”. I cried.

Last night I received a phone call from a friend from back home.  She is going through a difficult time right now, she lost her dad suddenly just over a month ago.  Her and I are friends on facebook of course and her status updates crush my heart at times because I know exactly what she is going through from her head to her heart.  She contacted me through facebook saying she knew I would know what she is going through and if I had any advice for her.  I was touched.  I told her to call me or the message would be a novel.  She did.  We talked for over an hour about her struggles, her emotions, her anger, her heart.  I told her it would get better.  When you lose someone like a parent that is the last thing you want to hear.  I know this from experience.  Someone would tell me that I wanted to punch them in the face.  I told her I know how it makes you feel when you hear this but to know it is the truth.  It won’t be better tomorrow, it won’t be better next month, it might not even be better in a year but eventually it does.  It took me 2 years after my mom passed for it “to be better”.  I reassured her that I did not want to scare her with this information because her time will be different than mine, but it will happen.  You must be strong but you must let yourself grieve…deeply.  That is why it took me so long because although I did grieve I didn’t let myself grieve deeply for almost 2 years.  I was too busy being strong for everyone else, being a mother and wife to look into myself and deal with the pain.  I look back and the 2 years that I was a walking robot, numb and just going through the motions and it is a blur.  A complete blur.  That is not healthy.  You must dig deep within yourself and let it out, let it go.  Not let go of the person, the memories, and the love but let go of the anger, the hurt, the pain of your loss.  That is what gets in you and eats you up inside, it’s what makes you numb.  Everyone has their own timeline when dealing with a loss, for some it’s easy to get through and for some it crushes them down to where they can’t function.  You have to find a balance.  You have to take care of yourself, you have to deal with what is inside of you to move on.

She has been struggling with the fact that no one knows what she is going through.  They say they can assume but really, unless you have been through it yourself, you don’t know.  What makes her and I’s stories unique is that we lost our parents when they were still young and very suddenly.  It’s not that our grandmas passed away after a full life of 80 years.  No, our parents were in their 50’s with grandbabies, with their own kids that still needed them.  People don’t understand the hole that is created in your heart when this happens.

Through the entire phone call I could relate to every single word she said.  I had been there, I had felt the pain, I had felt the anger.  I have been through wanting to shut the world out because you don’t want to hear what they have to say from it’s going to get better to everyday comments in a conversation about other people’s parents who are still with them.  You can become very bitter towards people.  It’s a hard thing to do at the time but you have to learn how to turn a cheek and smile and nod.  It’s easier said than done when you are grieving but you have to learn how to do it.

As we were getting off the phone I told her to call me anytime, whether it was to just talk about everyday life, to vent, to cry  or to scream, my phone was always on.  I told her to take care of herself, to make sure to let herself grieve. I reassured her that it is ok to cry, it’s ok to scream and hate the world but just not to let the hate consume her.  I told her that still after 6 years I still cry on random days, I still cry on her birthday, on certain holidays.  It’s ok to do that and not to ever let herself think differently.

She said to me “I’m putting your number in my phone as ‘My Angel’ because you truly are my angel”.

I got goose bumps and cried.

In Your Honor – Always Say I Love You.

This past Sunday, the 29th of May it had been 6 years since I had lost my mom.  I remembered her on Sunday not with tears and sadness but with memories and smiles.  This is the story of how I lost my mom.  I want to share this with you not to make you sad but to let you see how quickly our loved ones can be taken away from us.
This was written Wednesday, December 6, 2006

You must always say I love you. Life is too short not to. You never know when someone will be leaving your life. I have a story for you and I hope it will open your eyes to two things. On May 26, 2005 I got a phone call from my step father. He told me that my mom was not feeling well. She had been having severe headaches for awhile now and she had been to the doctor to get a couple of lumps under the skin removed. She told my sister and I that it was “nothing”. He told me that he had called an ambulance to take mom to the hospital. My sister and I live in Nashville Tennessee and my mom lives in Aurora Indiana. I hung up the phone not knowing what to think. My husband told me to pack my bags and my sister also and head up home because it could be nothing and then again it could be something big. As my sister was walking down the driveway with my 3 year old son I was shaking. She came in and I told her what was going on. We packed up and the kids too ( a 3 year old and a 5 week old) and headed for Indiana. We pulled up out front of my mom’s house around 4 am and my stepdad was waiting for us he had not been asleep. They took her to the local hospital and had ran a CT scan and found 4 spots on her brain. While trying to take this news in I took the kids upstairs and put them to bed and tried to get some sleep myself. In the morning (Friday) I took the kids to my sister-n-law’s house and my sister and I headed to Cincinnati. By this time they had sent her to Good Sam in Cincinnati for further tests. We get to the hospital and she is in the ICU. My sister and I are pretty much freaking out to say the least. My mom god love her says what on earth are you two doing here and where are the kids? I love my mom always worried about my kids. They ran some tests in the morning and before lunch we got news that my mom had 7 brain tumors. This was a total shock because before yesterday there was nothing (that we knew of) wrong with my mom except for the headaches which she covered up nicely. The doctor said that they were NON life threatening and they could be taken care of with surgery and radiation. My sister and I left for lunch feeling a little relieved thinking in the long run she was going to be ok. We got back from lunch and they were wheeling her out for her first radiation treatment and they told us to go along. The three of us went down with her. When we got there the radiologist took my step dad back to talk to him and we stayed out with mom. She was even joking about her tan going away. My step dad came out and told us to come back with him. My heart dropped. The three of us sat down with the doctor and he proceeded to tell us that our mother was covered with cancer from head to toe. She had melanoma. Every organ in her body was ate up. He told us that we had a decision to make. We could go ahead with the treatments but the end result was all the same. Mom could stay with us for two days or with a miracle two months. But it didn’t look good. We made the decision to not do the treatments and put her through any unnecessary pain. We would only be keeping her around for our selfish reasons. That was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life, my mother’s fate was put in our hands pretty much. We made the decision to get her home as soon as we could so she could spend her last days in her own home with her own things. I can’t explain to you what was going on in my head. I became numb and stayed that way for about a month. We went home that night to try to get some rest and was called back to the hospital around 12:15 in the morning. The nurse said her pupils weren’t responding and that is one of the first signs that they are going. We all had just got to bed and hopped right back up and I took the keys to drive us up. It was the weirdest drive I have ever made. It was barely raining but there was a very eery silent calm in the air. In the distance I saw lightning and all I could think was that was mom fighting for us. We got there and she wouldn’t even respond to us. No movement but she was still there. We slept on the floor all around her that night. I got up about 8 in the morning and walked in her room from the restroom and she opened those eyes and like nothing happened said what on earth are you doing here this early. She didn’t skip a beat. The nurses said they can’t explain how this happened. They’ve never seen someone start to slip away the way she did and come back like nothing happened. That Saturday was one of the best days. Mom sat up in her bed she ate all day she laughed and cut up with us like nothing in the last two days happened. She just kept saying she wants to go home and that she is so happy that Lindsey (my sister) and I have each other. We had made arrangements for her to come home at 12:30 the next day, Sunday. We had hospice coming to the house to set everything up. Mom was coming home. We left her that night eating her Mentos and watching HGTV her favorite channel. That woman would watch it 24/7 if she could. We told her that we loved her and she was coming home in the morning. We got up Sunday morning and headed up early. When we got there mom was in pain, bad pain. Her head was hurting so bad. We sat there with her for a couple of hours and the nurse gave her some pain medicine and mom wanted to take a nap. We left her at 10:30 to come home and meet with the hospice people. We told her we would see her in a couple of hours. I held her hand and told her that I loved her and she said it back to me and she squeezed my hand. We were at home when we got a phone call at 11:30 saying mom’s vitals weren’t good. Five minutes later they called back and said her breathing was slowing. My sister and stepdad headed up to the hospital and I stayed behind waiting for my grandma and my husband. I called back up to the hospital at 11:46 and she had already passed away at 11:45. The nurses were all in there with her so she wasn’t alone. We were too late. She never made it home.

You never know how much time you have. Always say I love you, even if you are just running to the store and will be back in 10 minutes even if you fighting say it. You never know when its the last time.

Please do not be sad from my story. Just remember…Always say I love you.

Thank you for taking the time to read it.

My mom loved the sun.  She always had a tan.  We were always outside during the summer growing up whether we were on the boat for the weekend or at the pool. Hell, we grew up with a tanning bed in our home.  My mom has psoriasis and the tanning bed helped with that.  With summer upon us and the outdoors being our favorite place to be I ask of you this, please wear your sunscreen, wear your sunhat, protect yours skin.  I suggest against tanning beds now but if you feel you must please do it in moderation.  Melanoma is a deadly cancer when undetected it can consume you, it’s one of the quickest spreading cancers.  I still love the sun but I am smart about it now.  I hope you will be too.  If you see a mole that is suspicious don’t hesitate to get it looked at.  Get your skin checked once a year to be safe.  Melanoma is nothing to be messed around with or ignored.