Lists and lists and lists

“I am sorry, she has been through enough. I think it’s time we bring Hospice in.” Those words echo in my mind. This is it. I have weeks left with the woman that shaped me, led me, counseled me, and sometimes annoyed the hell out of me. MY MOM IS REALLY GOING TO DIE!! I immediately took leave from my job at the antique store I was failing miserable at managing. Not a hard decision but it put a grave financial burden on my husband and family.

During the eight weeks we were in hospice care, I devoted every thought to Mom. For six of those weeks, I drove a half hour each and every morning to make the most of the time she had left. Once or twice a week I would spend the night to give Gary a good night sleep. It was also a selfish move of mine to gain even a few more hours with her, hoping for a 2 am rally. The middle of the night rallies were spent having a nail party, trying to hammer out the details of the funeral, recording love notes to each of us six kids, talking about both good and bad memories of her past.

2 am parties on the farmMom:
“What if this is all fake?”
Me: “You mean like a bad dream?”
Her: “Yeah…”
Me: “ I would love it. That way, we could wake up from it.” #cancersucks #baddream #cancer #warrior #strength #motherdaughter #bestfriends”

Our days were filled with shopping, car washes, shopping, lunch with friends, shopping. Then there were the lists. Lists upon list were waiting for me each day upon arrival. There was Mom, sitting in her chair by the dining room table, gazing quietly out at their land. Looking at her, you would think she was deep in thought. I would ask, “What are ya thinking, Ma?” Her response was always, “Nothing.” I knew better. Watching her eyes dart, different expressions cross her face, finally, picking up her pen to write something down.

The main thing she had lists for was her funeral.

  • Have a casket built
  • Get the video done
  • Find a funeral home
  • Find a church that would allow the Hospice Chaplain to perform the ceremony.
  • Flowers
  • Decorations
  • Songs
  • Food
  • Order of service
  • Clothes to the dry cleaners
  • Outfits for both she and Gary hung neatly in the closet

Not a detail was left undone. At first, it was devastating to talk about. “How can I do this? How can I plan my mom’s funeral??” It then became my mission. During the 2 am rallies we would scan the internet for the perfect casket, the perfect flower arrangements for kids and grandkids, find a nearby church for the service, a funeral home to organize it all.

(Casket credit: Barn Boards and Salvage)

There were some things she requested that were impossible to accomplish before she passed. We always added those to the “later list”, like her request to the chicken salad done two weeks before she even passed away or to get the flowers ordered. One by one, we crossed items off the “list” and, as we did so, I could see her becoming more and more at peace. I knew the end was near.

Our last shopping trip was to her Mecca, TJ Maxx. She didn’t need anything, we had already bought Christmas decorations, several pairs of pajamas, leggings and a couple sweaters. Her mission this day? “Happy Socks” for Gary. Her Oncologist, Dr. Buroker, always wore happy socks and she wanted Gary to have some. Getting her in and out of the car was not as easy as it had been in prior trips. Her legs were weak and her feet were not communicating with her brain.

The cancer was progressing. Once she willed herself to stand, she would command, “Move feet!” and her foot would turn slightly to allow for her to enter the car. My own arm and hand were used as a sliding board to prevent her from falling. All buckled into the passenger seat, covered in her ever present security blanket, I would pack the wheelchair in the hatch and we were off. Our first stop was always Casey’s for a chocolate donut and French Vanilla Cappuccino.

On the way home, she wanted to do another of our famous car wash videos but she had to pee. It was now a race to the toilet. Keep in mind, the same process to get into the car, now had to be slowly repeated to exit the car. After Gary took care of the bathroom duty, we bundled Mom up to the newly hung porch swing Gary had hung while we were gone. A moment I will never forget. A final date night between soul mates. It was so endearing and beautiful as I watched from the kitchen window, giving them a couple of moments alone.

Then came the fall….


Angry at God

Ugh. What a day

I watched a broken shell of man mourn the loss of his soulmate, I listened to the scripture, the hymns, the accolades. I also saw her sisters, both in wheelchairs and recently discharged from the hospital, both in the vehicle that took Sherry’s life. One was the driver, the other was the front seat passenger. Both will face a lifetime of guilt and grief. All I could think was WHY!!!??

The priest began to talk about the stage of grief we call anger. Being angry AT God specifically. He said, “Take it to God, you give it to him! All of it and with all the anger and emotion behind it.” His reasoning? You are fighting WITH God. Not against him. You are in communication. As with any relationship, communication is key. Right? A starting point to heal.

Sherry was a nurse. While I didn’t know her well, I knew she was good people. She was an EMT for Life Flight. Toward the end, her brother spoke. He spoke of her antics, her compassion. He finished his speech with a tribute to Sherry. “I am going to ask some questions of you. I am going to try to save one more person in her honor.

‘Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God?’

‘Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for you?’

‘Do you believe he ascended into Heaven on the third day?’”

He also asks that we each do an act of random kindness in her name. This post is my first.

What a powerful family!

I also had flashbacks. Some sad, some comforting. I got mad. “WHY MY MOM!!!??”

As the service ended, the congregation began to sing “How Great Though Art.” One of my mom’s and grandfathers favorites. I was absolutely losing it by now. Taken back to that night, five nights before my world collapsed. I felt her. I felt her love. I felt her joy. I felt her happiness. I also felt my loss. But I also her heard her voice, just like in the beginning of the video. “I like this one.”

Sing Mom. Sing it with all you have. See you again one day!


My niece Nicole, singing to Mom from Washington, DC

Little Bird Broke Her Wing

Let me tell you a story of a little bird. This little bird used to like to fly all over, flit really. Landing here and there, wherever the wind may take her. Enjoying everything, and sometimes taking that freedom for granted. One day, Little Bird was faced with a challenge that cost her more than she could have ever imagined. She lost her mom and broke her wing. She spent several weeks recovering, healing the broken wing and taking comfort from friends. She also cried a lot and spent many weeks alone. She didn’t think the broken wing could be ever be repaired.

As the weeks went on, the wing began to heal. Not completely, the wing is never going to be the same as it was before, NOT EVER. Some parts will be stronger, some parts more vulnerable to certain situations. But she continued to be brave and face each day, healing and becoming a stronger little bird than before.

One day, Little Bird had to face the giant that broke her wing in the first place. Knowing she had to face this giant, she was afraid of feeling the pain again. Reliving the day she broke her wing was not going to be easy. She put on her best feathers and her moms perfume and faced that giant! She faced that giant and stared it right in the face. It was so hard and she cried.

Some friends that helped her along the way showed up and gave her a hug. A HUGE, hug your soul kind of hug that can only be shared between birds that deeply care for each other. One was a nurse and one was a bath aide. They all cried and were so happy to see each other again. You see, they hadn’t seen each other since the day little bird broke her wing. LIttle Bird was so happy, she got a crying thing in her throat. She also got to thank the other birds for everything they had done to help and support her. The nurse said, “You look SO much like your mom today!” That made Little Bird feel so strong and happy!

After Little Bird faced the giant, she felt at peace. Kind of like facing that giant had to be done in order to heal. Little Bird hopes that, by facing her giant and the pain of a broken wing, other little birds with broken wings will be free to flit, fly, smile and enjoy life without fear. It doesn’t mean that Little BIrd will be okay every day, but she will be okay. The End
28944236_10156203371419297_1902147335_o (1)

She is just on Florida…

But she isn’t.

There are times the reality of this seems unrealistic. Mom and I talked every day. If we didn’t, I knew the illness had taken a move.


I recently posted about a friend that was struggling with the impending loss of her own mother. She reached out to me because I had been so “strong” on my own journey. Strong isn’t a word I would describe myself through this. Denial? Yes.

There are days, like today, that the loss doesn’t even seem real. Can’t be real. My mom is just in Florida. Not she isn’t.

My first sunrise without her


Levels on Life’s Ladder

I have a friend from school that is struggling right now. Her mother is very ill and has told her she is ready to die. I’m humbled she reached out to me and it brought back a couple memories that are so similar on this journey.

Her: “ I know you have been through a lot, but would you share your devotionals everyday. I love how you express your love and encouragement. My mom isn’t doing well and I need hope.”

1. Remember that picture of Mom and I, sitting on the deck and drinking a Bloody Mary? What you didn’t know about that picture was that was the day Mom told me she was ready to go. Even though we were in Hospice, we knew she had little time left, we kind of pretended it was a day that really wasn’t coming. That we were just LIVING. Completely ignoring the fact that we were dying on the inside. I had to fight back tears to give her my permission. I lied and said everything would be okay. Reality, a piece of me passed with her and life will never be the same. It will be okay, just painful at times, until that day I too shall pass and hug her in Heaven.

2. That night, I took a bath. My bath time was my release. Still is actually. When I stay strong for periods of time, I feel the grief building. When I know I can’t keep it away any longer, I take a bath with my oils, my playlist of songs Mom loved and cry.

There are many levels of reality on this Roller Coaster journey. THIS night, the night I stepped into the next level of reality was especially hard and I reached out to a couple of friends that knew the pain I was feeling. I had to connect to people who would truly understand. I have some of the best friends.

We are all on this journey. Some farther along than others. Each person on a rung of life, pulling the other along. Thanks to those that have gone before and pulled me along. I am doing better and excited about my horizon.

J- as requested. Here is today’s devotional and my hand to pull you along. 💕💜🦋

From the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.

This grieving process though…

I finally decided it was time to see a counselor. Actually, I had wanted someone to talk to for a while, I just have a hard time asking for help. I am a provider of fun, laughs, support and love. I can not burden, nor is it easy to ask for help for me. For others? I can do that and be passionate about it. So passionate, I can become annoying. (Right?) It’s so easy to put others ahead of me, natural in fact. There is no shame in begging for help for people I love.

Lately, I’ve reached out and supported a couple of friends that were going through life’s tragedies. I’ve asked for your support and prayers as well. When it came time to finish the journey, I fell short of what I expected from myself. What they expected from me.

Being a person that was apart of support system for a Hospice patient, Bereavement Care is a part of their program. How awesome is that??


Two weeks ago, I was without my oil. The backup bottle I normally had on hand was given to a friend that was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. Ironically, I also had one of my lowest weeks, emotionally, since Mom died. I didn’t give the correlation between the two much thought, until my order finally arrived. I started dosing right away when it did.

What did I notice? A total change in my positive mentality. I was able to complete tasks, have happy thoughts and have a semi normal day. My depression was not as extreme and my anxiety was in a cage. I was able to go to the store without a huge anxiety attack and was even greeted by an acquaintance with the dreaded question, “How is your Mom?” while there. I will be met be without this again!

What ever you are ailing from, you need this to support your #endocannabinoid system!

Buy now!

Even my dog knows how well it works!

Watch my dog!

Knock, Knock! Who is it?

I had a counseling appointment this week. During the conversation, she pointed out how much I have lost, the fact that I don’t have my mom or a job and a LOT going on in personal matters that takes more emotions. She related it to the Israelites, wandering the desert with no direction. That’s kind of how I have felt, just… LOST. No direction or desire to move forward. Stumbling along, placing distractions in my path to avoid life. You know, like painting.

Today, I had an amazing phone call that could lead to a new direction and provide me with an amazing opportunity. I feel a bit of excitement for the first time in a while. #ThanksMom.