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My mom died

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  • I am so sorry Betheny

    (((((((((Hugs and Prayers)))))
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown


    • My mom's eulogy

      The minister asked me to write a sort of obit for Mom's service. I felt the need to give her life story, for ppl that didn't know it. Somebody here might be interested; she had quite a life.

      Times were rough in 1935, especially if you were a little girl raised in the heart of the Dustbowl. My mom's parents rolled the dice and risked their family's support and comfort in El Dorado, KS, to seek their fortune in the TX Panhandle....and they paid for that decision. Mom remembered my grandmother Minnie stuffing rags in the cracks of the house when she saw the dust storms approaching. The dust got in anyway, and Mom's baby brother Billy died of dustbowl pneumonia. Like many a father during the Depression, Mom's father hit the road in search of work. Unlike most fathers, he forgot to come home when Mom was only 6. Grandma Minnie got a position operating the Post Office in Roxana TX, but she had to ship my Uncle Jim back to KS to stay with her parents. Mom was only 16 when her mother died of "female cancer".

      Mom told me recently that the pivotal decision of her life was choosing to join Grandma Williams and Uncle Jim in El Dorado; she was a Kansan from that time forth.

      Mom and Dad married in 1954. She bore him 3 children, spaced 5 years apart. Their marriage was one of extremes-It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. They divorced in 1973.

      All this background is meant to explain a letter Bill and I opened this week. It was in an envelope labeled "Read this if Barbara has died". It was dated 1981. I had always been superstitious about that letter, but this week the time came to read it.

      It was a letter meant to comfort us. That is exactly what it did.

      Mom said she hoped we would miss her, but she didn't want us to grieve. She said when she passed, she looked forward to reuniting with her mother and grandmother. Most of all, she looked forward to laying all bitterness and anger down at last. She longed to be free of the anger at the father that abandoned her, just a little girl, almost 70 years ago.

      When she wrote the letter, Mom had no idea she would be preceded in death by both her eldest son and her little brother. I find great solace in knowing they are all together at last. In the letter, Mom also told us not to fear our own passing. When the time came for us to transition, she would be there to ease our way. We're so fortunate to know she laid those plans 28 years ago!

      And these past 28 years weren't easy ones. Sometimes I think we should find Mom's photo in the dictionary, under "Injustice". She had a horrible stroke, just as she was planning to marry her high school sweetheart, the man she felt was the true love of her life. She worked so hard at any job, keeping her options open, working as a substitute mail carrier, planning to be a permanent rural mail carrier-a position that came open 3 months after her stroke. Mom had 3 troublesome kids, and the pain of losing her eldest and her brother within 2 weeks nearly tore her apart.

      But Mom also had her blessings. She had loyal, steadfast friends, many of whom I see here today. She had her family, priceless to her always-many of you are here today as well. She was firm in her belief that the family and friends that passed away first would be waiting to welcome her home. She knew her kids loved her, and had a gift for being satisfied with simple things. Above all, her faith in Jesus never faltered.

      Jesus must have had a part in the events of the past few weeks. Bill and I were summoned by the nursing home management-We needed to pack some stuff for Mom RIGHT NOW. It was darned inconvenient! As we worked, Mom filled us in on her last wishes and her feelings about cremation, life support, Do Not Resuscitate orders. We knew her desires about all those things that can torment loved ones for a lifetime. Her plans were clear.

      Just last Sunday, Bill visited Mom at the hospital. I had spoken to her earlier, we'd laughed and said "I love yous". All at once, Mom was dying. The doctor said "I need decisions, quick." But those decisions has been made during our inconvenient visit a few weeks prior. Bill and I knew what to do, and Bill carried through. I'm so proud if my brother for being the strong one. It takes a good man to do the right thing, when that thing is the hardest thing you've ever had to do.

      So today, we say goodbye to Mom. I've dreaded this day my whole life. I know that she was looking forward to the end of all anger and suffering, though. I figure she's even made peace with her father by now...and her work here on Earth was done. She's with Del, her mother, Grandma Williams, Aunt Margie, and the countless losses she mourned here on earth are now behind her.

      I'm happy to know that we can all anticipate the same serenity, when our time comes. And if we should fear our own time of transition, be assured-Barbara Gaines promised to help us over the hurdle, back in 1981.
      Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


      • Of Burials, Bulls, and Speeding Tickets

        I think I'm doing ok!

        Mom's service went beautifully. Mom's best friend, Sydney, spoke of her before and after her stroke. She broke down halfway, said "I have backup", and her daughter Jill finished. The preacher read the sort of cross eulogy-obit I wrote, we listened to a beautiful Amazing Grace, a man that Mom sort of adopted, back in Augusta when he was a self-destructive teen (Ray) talked of her impact on him thru the decades. A young man from Eureka, that was Mom's self-appointed weekly ride to church, called her Gainesy. Everyone talked about how Mom kept us honest, how even before her stroke you could count on her for the truth. After the stroke, she couldn't help but tell it!

        I'd selected "The Lord is my shepherd" for the programs. The preacher talked about how Mom rode cheerfully through the Valley of the shadow of death-All those years!-As indeed, do we all. That preacher is wonderful, and what a rare gift to hear a service by a minister that KNEW the person he spoke of!

        He said "Basically, if Barbara wasn't quarantined, she was in church on Sunday." So true.

        Everybody laughed when he said "I have to paraphrase...but Barbara said that when she passed on, her Doodoo List was hereby revoked. So if you were on it, don't worry!"

        (Mom's letter said Shit List, actually. )

        At the end, we all sang "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."

        Everyone was invited up to scatter her ashes, but it's a long, rough, muddy road up to E Hill, where we scattered Del's ashes 5 years ago. It wound up me, Jill, Jake, Steve, Bill, Deana and Ray. Jake carried me to the water's edge so I could scatter a handful of ashes, which we all did, as Mom wanted. It was peaceful and beautiful, with some comic relief when I looked up to the road where I'd left my van, and we saw my wheelchair being inspected by about 20 huge black Angus cows and one bull. Bill goes "Oh shit!", and ran up and put my chair in my van, so it wasn't destroyed by curious cattle. Boy, did that bull give us the stinkeye! He was in the middle of the road, and gave us no quarter. We had to back up to get out!

        I think there was someone there from every town she ever lived in, and every family she ever belonged to. Bud said he felt good knowing she'd been happy those last years in Eureka. Mack couldn't come b/c he's in the hospital.

        My cousin Jason, a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, called yesterday to say the service was spiritually enriching. He was raised agnostic from birth, so that's pretty darned good.

        Miraculously, Bill stayed sober throughout. Mom is pleased, I have no doubt of that. He looked so handsome in his new suit!

        We had photos of Mom from all her eras. I think I so grieved her after her stroke, OMG that was a huge loss. Now I feel like she's back intact, even though I don't have her any more. Her body gave her hell, and it's not any more. I see a lot of beauty in that.

        You know how you try to get past that official part, so you can get on with the grieving? I just don't think I'm going to suffer like I did w/ Del, a huge relief. Mom didn't die prematurely, we knew her wishes and carried them out to the letter, we didn't have to borrow $$ from Dad, we didn't prolong her pain for selfish reasons or anything, Bill and I worked together (but he was kind of snippy that Mom gave me her silverware 30 years ago, a fact I had completely forgotten. Bill's keeping score, that's for sure)

        I'm proud of us right now. It's a good thing, and even Dad couldn't ruin it (although I give him an E for effort. As Mom said at my wedding "Good to see you're still an asshole, Frank!")

        LOL, wouldn't have it any other way.

        I came home yesterday. I think I'll go to NM tomorrow, just need a little break, for once I've visited all my parents and in-laws within the past week or so, so I'm guilt-free. I need to copy all Mom's photos and distribute copies to cousins etc. It's too much responsibility, to be the only one that has them.

        I messed up the name of the church when Mom first died and I emailed. My cousin and her flowers went to the Methodist church, not the Baptist. I wonder how many others did? Oops, my bad. Hell, I also lost 2 days in Independence, they vanished. It's all good. Except for the $170.00 speeding ticket I got between Independence and Eureka! WTF, Hi Patrol? My mom was in a box on the floorboard!

        So Yeah, I think I'm ok
        Last edited by betheny; 10-28-2009, 06:12 PM.
        Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


        • That's beautiful Betheny. She sounds like a remarkable woman. How wonderful that she left you that letter and made her wishes clear to you. It sounds like she was a very wise woman as well.

          Hopefully the small things and memories will comfort you when you are missing her.


          • You write such meaningful and verdant letters Beth, your mom's like mine, it was "the shit list' you horses petute. gotta love the farm gals, my mom's been gon for 30 yrs, I can still remember the pain, it doesn't get easier the older they get. You wrote a loving eulogy, job well done, Bill couldn't have done it.


            • Thanks for sharing Beth it was beautiful, moving, spiritual and yes very interesting.

              I hope that when the time comes for me to say goodbye to my parents I can muster the same fortitude as you.

              Now take a break and enjoy NM.


              • What was unbelievable to me was my Dad. He called while I waited for her to be cremated, and suggested we didn't really NEED to have a service for her.

                WTF? He did the same with my brother!

                My cousin said I should have said "I'm almost 50, I think we can manage the funeral of our mother, Dad."

                Wish I would have...but I'm The Peacekeeper. So I stuttered around, said of course we were having a service.

                Then he said "If you guys need help financially, you'll have to come out here and discuss it." I felt he was quite disappointed to learn there would be no groveling.

                They got divorced in 1973. That is 36 years ago...hell, half of CC wasn't born yet. The eternal feud SUCKED, and I really hope Mom forgave him when she declared the Shit List Amnesty. Now if he could only do the same.

                I swear, those 2 never heard of water under the bridge or letting bygones be bygones. Mom was brain injured, but I'm damned if I know what Dad's excuse is!
                Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


                • Beautiful, thanks for sharing your wonderful Mom with us.


                  • Thank you for the insight into your mother. She was quite a woman by the sound of it. Some lives are a hard struggle, but I believe that there is peace and love in the afterlife. She deserves to be home with her family and the lord.

                    This is going to sound mean perhaps...
                    What I wonder is, are your dad's plans for his own funeral when the time comes. If he thinks it is right just to skip any services, or if he plans a fancy to-do? Some people can be terribly insensitive. It makes me wonder if he just didn't want to have to spend any money on them. My stepfather was kind of like that. He would pick fights with people right around christmas time so he could justify not buying any presents for anyone
                    Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess


                    • A beautiful christian lady that loved God.
                      A real nice letter you wrote. I know it made your mom happy.


                      • skippy13-I wonder that myself! I guarantee Dad's will be a big do. He still has tons of family, even more employees, was a political figure for decades. I think maybe that is why he doesn't want me to do services. He didn't want one for my brother b/c he knew he'd have to either go or look bad. Kind of the same w/ Mom, actually-it would have looked better had he gone to support his kids.

                        When my brother died, Dad said "The only people that will go will attend b/c they want to look at ME." WTF? There were 180 ppl there, none to look at Dad. Del had many friends!

                        He said nobody would go to Mom's, as well, since she had v. little family. But she had a large church family and a large number of people she influenced over the yrs., usually by acts of kindness.

                        In his mind, she withered at the nursing home except when we kids visited. He didn't realize she had built a circle of friends, despite the difficulties. He didn't know her classmates still visited. (She recently asked me for a tea set, that she might entertain guests. She used it, too!)

                        I think Dad believes poor ppl have no friends? Not true, obvs. She was a good Christian, as Mona said. She knew ways to be kind that involved no $$.

                        I can just hear her greeting my brother..."Hiiii, honeyyy!" It's hard to believe I'll only hear that in my mind from this point forward.

                        Again, thanks, all. You are all proof that one needn't have $$ to have friends!
                        Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


                        • Very sorry to just being seeing this--You have my deepest condolences, Betheny
                          "I'm lost. I'm no guide, but I'm by your side." - Pearl Jam

                          "It decomposes, mendicant, therefore, truly, one calls this the world." -- Loka Sutta


                          • You, my friend, are rich beyond all standards,


                            • My condolences Bethany. I hope you are staying strong. Your mom would want you to.


                              • hey friend...good to hear from you, your letter brought tears and a decision to write my own letter to my family...glad to see you making the trip to NM...I know how you love it there and find healing...have a safe trip...hugs, judy