Monday, February 25, 2008

Needing Strength: An Update

An update to the post 'Needing Strength; Needing Mom,' by Anonymous.

It was really helpful to write this post when my mom was diagnosed and I thought it might help to post an update. My mom passed away the day after Thanksgiving after a torturous 2 1/2 months of "treatment". She opted to try a clinical trial since she had also seen her brother die from pancreatic cancer and wanted to help others. I was so proud of her and of course it was her decision to make, but looking back I really think the drugs expedited her decline. I have so many regrets and such extreme sorrow, it's sometimes hard to keep breathing. I feel bereft and unmoored and yet all I can do is keep moving every day.

My brother and sister and families came in for Thanksgiving and were staying at my house and we were hoping that my mom was going to be able to visit (she was in a care facility to get some IV antibiotics for a blood infection). Thanksgiving morning she was taken to the ER because she had chest pains. My sister, brother and I spent the whole day with her there and she because increasingly disoriented. We didn't know if this was because of the pain medication she was being given, her dehydration or that she was really declining. Our hospice organization sent a nurse and that was the first time someone said that she might not make it through the night. I was in utter shock. Against my better judgement, I was convinced to go home and eat dinner with our spouses. After dinner, I was getting ready to go back down to the hospital to spend the night with my mom. I was in the bathroom on the first floor when I heard screaming and my nephew shouting that Dusty had hurt Lily. Dusty is my sister's dog and Lily is my two year old daughter. I raced out of the bathroom to find that Dusty had bitten my daughter in the face because she was playing with a bone and Lily tried to take it. We called an ambulance and took her to the nearest hospital (not the one my mom was in). She had 6 stitches (luckily the dog had not gotten any of her major facial features, but she had puncture wounds in her cheeks). To say I felt like a horrible mother is an understatement. Of course, I spent that night at home with my daughter and my sister stayed with my mom (the dog went to my mom's house-that's a whole separate story). The next morning, my sister called at 6am and told us that we should get down to the hospital.

My mom died before we got there. I never got to say goodbye. The only thing I am thankful for is that she never knew that her beloved granddaughter had been hurt. I am trying to get back to "normal" becaues I feel like that's what is expected of me, but I feel like the world is incredibly unsafe. Every time I look at my sweet girl's face, I am reminded of everything that happened. She is a resilient and wonderful girl and will likely heal completely, but I still can't believe this happened to her and that my mom is really gone. Thank you for this forum - I am having a hard time sharing these things and feelings with the "real world".

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why Has No-One Invented Sat-Nav* For Moms?

Posted by MummyMania.

After months of hint-dropping – and running empty on present ideas – against my better judgement, I bought my dearly beloved a Satnav* for Christmas. Unable to cycle to work anymore, he’d bought his own car and I thought at least I’ll be blissfully unaware of the new woman in his life. But a bit like Princess Diana said, there are now three people in this relationship. Not content to confine the maddening mumbling map to his own car, he brings it into mine whenever we travel en famille.

Her irritatingly banal BBC news voice enters the vacuum of our car, disallowing any real conversation and coming between us like a filling in a sandwich.

I wouldn’t mind if we genuinely needed directions. I wouldn’t even mind if I was a rubbish map reader. But we don’t. And I’m not. Still, every journey now is delayed for ten minutes while he studiously enters in the digits of our intended destination (which is only 2 miles away down a straight road…), and then we spend the next 40 minutes being dictated to by a disembodied fishwife telling us every .2 of a mile to turn left, turn right, go straight, go here, go there. Go to Hell I want to yell, but I try to accept this new marital relationship with some dignity, even while she is leading us on a merry dance round the most circuitous route known to man (and woman).

The first time we used it, it duly took us to Bridewell Lane. Unfortunately it was Bridewell Lane in a different town to the one we wanted. As I bore into him with that well-perfected, raised-eyebrow look of disgusted condescension, he muttered something about using proper postcodes and cheerily reset the damn machine to start the farce again.

Seriously… under what other possible circumstances would a man enjoy – nay, love – being dictated to by a stern humourless woman he doesn’t know??? Ok, let’s not go there.

So with conversation impossible, and the kids screaming in the back from being strapped into their carseats for an illegal amount of time while Bossyboots in the corner drove us all round the bend, and another, and another… I got to thinking. Why hasn’t someone invented a Satnav for mums? Let’s face it. When you first bring your babe home from hospital, who wouldn’t pay their life’s savings for a kindly voice in the corner telling you when to feed the baby, when to put the baby to sleep. Make a cup of tea. Sit down. Phone your mum to come over and do the ironing. When to pick up the baby. Dress her in warm clothes – no, not that silly, the pink one! Hold her silly, she’s crying. No, not that way – over your shoulder, she needs winding. Do you know nothing???

On second thoughts…. Maybe not.

*Satellite Navigation - like a GPS system, but with a British accent.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dance In Puddles, While You Can

Posted by MummyMania.

Yesterday a close friend of my husband's died.

Just like that.

He was 39, funny, caring, outrageous, and kind. He leaves behind a shattered wife, and the two loves of his life - aged 3 and 18 months. Yesterday, in a moment of freak accident, as his snowboard careered off the edge of a mountain in brilliant sunshine and glorious surroundings, their young lives changed forever. His exuberance for life was only matched by his adoration of his girls - girls that will now grow up without him to hold their hands, to dance in puddles, to shout "Daddy, Daddy" when they find a ladybird in the garden.

I know his wife, his many many friends, and his family will make sure those beautiful girls grow up surrounded by the best memories of their dad they can offer. And despite my lack of religious belief, I know - because it can be no other way - that he will walk beside them every step of their young lives.

Last night my husband broke down as we went in to check on our own girls. so precious. So beautiful. So needing of us. So let's cherish them. Let all of us who have them, cherish them.

Lets make sure we hold their hands, dance in puddles and chase ladybirds in the garden. We must, not only because we can, but because we owe it to those who can't.