Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Today was really hard. I didn't feel well at all, yesterday or today. I slept most of the time. I think it is a combination of everything going on.

I did not make it up to the hospital to see my mother today, as a result. And I am feeling badly for that. I did call her when I woke this evening.

My mother is the oldest daughter, third child of six. She went to nursing school in Milwaukee, and had to take time off for her own illness, and also time off for her own Mother's illness and death from cancer. When she returned, the nun in charge scheduled her for only part-time work on the units. Mom had three months left to graduate. At some point, she asked about this...and was told by the nun that 'she had no idea' when Mom would be scheduled full time again, but in the mean time, this part-time was not counting toward graduation... was only paying for her room and board.

Mom stood up for herself by leaving. Something she regretted doing for the rest of her life, as she worked most of that time as a nursing assistant, instead of as an RN. In the days when she could 'challenge' the LPN test... she tried a few times, but each time she either began the process or began to write to do so, she found that she was pregnant again. She gave up the final time when, at age 43, it happened again... Mom had my youngest sister when she was 44 years old.

I am the oldest, nineteen and a half years older than her youngest. Six girls, four boys.

We had one girl, three boys, then two more girls were born. My brothers began to pray for another boy when Mom was pregnant with Number seven... then again with number eight. They got girls each time, and began to pray immediately that the NEXT one would be a boy. In 1963, our baby brother (now the tallest of the family) was born, and Mom told them that they could stop praying!

When baby brother (born the largest of her children at nearly ten pounds, and again, now the tallest of her children) was about four or so, he told Mom that what he REALLY wanted for Christmas was ... a baby brother or sister... with Mom attempting to place her hand over his mouth quickly so that no one would hear...

The following Christmas, as he looked at all the gifts under the tree that were for our latest addition, born in October of that year... he wistfully said that he wished he'd never asked for her, cuz then all those gifts would be his.... lol.

She was born in 1968. She has been Mom's lifeline, has kept Mom young. Graduated from College with High or Highest Honors in three years, with a French major. (I cannot remember if Summa or Magna Cum Laude). Married with six children of her own now.

Mom raised us all while working most of her married life. Seldom did she go to the doctor for anthing other than her pregnancies. She has had two kidney stones in the later years, and one day said she would GLADLY take any or all of her posterior labors again rather than ONE more kidney stone, because at least there was a break in the pain with the labor...

Mom and Dad did not have it easy, raising ten children. Financially, or any other way. There was a point when they were married 20 and 25 yrs that Mom was angry enough to write a letter to Dad. The first one was hidden in her drawer under the liner while she 'thought about it'. Five years later, she'd 'thought about it long enough', wrote another one, and remembered the first one. When reading it, she decided to deliver both, as they said almost the same things.

Later, Dad read them, and called to her to come to their room. She was afraid of the response. Dad's words... 'I read your letters. You're right. I'm sorry. I will save them and read them over again, and again to remind me. I love you".... were much better than what she'd anticipated all day long.

The two of them then began to fall in love all over again. They had never really had any time to themselves. Children born in 49, 50, 51, 54, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63, and 68 with two miscarriages... did not leave them much time to BE alone. They carried on. They did what they promised to do. They raised their children in the best way that they could. They made mistakes. One of them was to lose touch with each other.

They found each other again. They learned to golf together, and traveled with golfing friends to distant golf courses. Dad dreamed of retiring, selling the house, getting a 'rollahome' and traveling all the good golf courses... Mom did not want to sell. She wanted a home base to return to... Dad backed down on the selling idea, but kept the rest of it.

Jan 3, 1987 changed everything for them. Dad 'threw a clot' and lost the use of his left arm. A few days, or weeks later, he lost half the vision in his left eye. In Mar of that year, his blood pressure went sky high, and he was admitted to the hospital. His kidneys were failing. He ended up on dialysis, and hated every moment of it. Dad was a strong man, not one to sit around being ill. He'd worked his way up from a broom pusher mill worker to a middle management position at the local paper mill in under 25 years... on salary, due to the amount of overtime he'd been working, he joked.

On April 3, 1987, Dad turned 62, on disability. Not able to retire as he'd dreamed of doing that birthday. On June 3, 1987, my father died. There is a lot more to those last months to tell, but that is not important right now.

I watched my mother at the funeral home the night of Dad's wake... she was reluctant to leave. Several sibs said ... Mom.. let's go. I told them to leave her alone for awhile. She was saying good bye to her husband. Though he'd spent many nights apart from her in the hospital, it was not the same. This time, when she left him, it was forever.

Now, she is the one who is ill. Her memory is not good for short term things. And she has been in pain for a long time. It all came to a head one day a few weeks ago, and they took an xray. 'Something' showed up at the bottom of her spine. They wanted her in that night for an MRI.
The next day, they did a biopsy of that 'something', and cleaned out the 'infection' that they thought was there...and then called in an infectious disease specialist, who suspected TB of the bone. Another 'biopsy'. And now, weeks later, STILL no definite results to tell us what this 'something' is.

It is hard not knowing. It is even harder when so many other things are pressing and cannot be changed. One realizes very quickly that one has no control.

"I can't. He Can. So I will let Him..." runs through my head all the time lately. But it is so hard not to try to take back that control that I don't have!

Mom has ten adult children with their spouses, and there are a total of 31 grandchildren (one deceased) and six great-grandchildren, soon to be nine. All of her siblings are still alive, though three of them have lost their life's partners now.

She has helped out each of her kids at different times in their lives, as it was needed. We are trying very hard to find a way to help her out, to keep her in her own home--the one she did not want to sell so long ago. She is a strong lady, and still denies the amount of pain she has, though the medications she has been being given speak for themselves! IV morphine, for awhile. Now, Oxycontin.... and a 'patch' for continuous pain control.

And there is nothing that any of us can do to ease this pain for her.... even with those kidney stones, she did not have MS to help control it.

Mom, I love you. I wish that it was possible to tell you how much.

There is a possibility that her pain will prevent her from coming to my son's wedding on Friday. If so, my son has already agreed to bring the wedding party to her, at the hosptial, so that she can see the Bride and Groom.

But we are still hoping that she will be there, at the Church, and at the supper. Please pray with us.

God bless you, Mom! Happy Mother's Day, and Grandmother's Day... and Great-Grandmother's Day!

Addendum written on May 2o, 2006:

Mom did not make it to Kev's wedding. My sister called sometime before 9 AM to say Mom just did not feel well enough to go, especially to ride in the car.

Kev, as promised, took most of his wedding party to the hospital, along with his wonderful two photographers, who took several of Mom with the Bridal Couple, of Kev, me, and Mom together. They will replace the background digitally, to make it just a little prettier picture.

We missed her...and she missed the supper. But she was the IRISH part of me, as Kev's Grandpa Gordon was the IRISH part of Kev's Dad... so she was there, regardless.

God bless you!

Update June 27, 2006 The Wedding

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Blogger ablondeblogger said...

Aww, your mom sounds like an amazing woman!!! (Weird how I keep hearing about kidney stones everywhere!)

I hope you feel better soon and can get there to see her. When you do, tell her I wish her a Happy Mother's Day, too! (and you also!)

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 3:56:00 PM CDT  

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