Monday, August 17, 2015

I Should Just Go To Bed

I really should just go to bed. Instead I want to process and make sense of things. I woke up with a sick headache that kept me in bed an extra hour and obliterated all my plans of morning routines and running and other productive things.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Tangential Association

Some weeks ago, my mother had a bad fall down some stairs. In the aftermath of that, it was discovered that she has breast cancer. There are masses in her breast as well as in her lymph nodes. She's still being tested to find out any other places it might be. Next week she gets an infusion port installed and thereafter will begin both chemo and radiation therapies to shrink the masses. In a few months, it's likely that she will have surgery to remove what is left.

As this unfolds, I can really only say what I'm experiencing, and for that, the title of this post is apt. I live 2200 miles away from my mom. My dad is still able to care for her, plus 2 sisters live very nearby, and three other siblings within hours. Right now, a sister-in-law is living with her until my brother's military orders get sorted out, and she has taken on the running of the household. I'm not particularly needed at this moment, nor has my life changed in any practical ways.

As I catalog what I've thought about and felt in the week or so since I found out, it's still pretty abstract and general. Mostly I was and am sad that my mom has to go through this. She's had so many health problems. At this point, I just want Mom to be comfortable, feel listened to, empowered, and respected. I wish she could have some peace from doctors and medicines and IV's and infusions. But of course, I'm grateful for all the knowledge and treatments that have extended her life and preserved her abilities.

My recent foray into meditation and mindfulness has been incredibly helpful in these last few days. I really have been able to better be in the moment. I haven't thought much about things that haven't happened yet, nor have I let my thoughts turn toward fears of things I can neither predict nor control. I do understand that it's early days, though, and hope I can continue, for her sake, to remain present.

My mom is not prone to drama. She's been fighting disease for 40 years (rheumatoid arthritis), and has been using chemo-caliber drugs such as Methotrexate for nearly that long, so frankly this all has, in her words, a sense of the routine. In this moment, she is fine. She is well-cared for and surrounded by people who love her. She has a treatment plan. Her sense of humor is intact and her own personal plan is to collect funny, uplifting t-shirts to wear to appointments. She already has a Spamalot "I'm Not Dead Yet" shirt that she wears with relish. If she loses her hair, she is seriously considering borrowing the bright pink pageboy wig from my brother's photobooth props. She also mentioned an old-school Hollywood-style turban. I can totally picture that. This is a 71-year old woman with Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" as her ringtone. She will rock that pink wig and everything else. She is determined not to give in to despair.  She already knows what it's like to have drugs and disease render her too tired to function and too grumpy to care. As we talked last night, we talked about other things besides the cancer. She's enjoying having 3 of her young grandkids living with her. She's concerned about the poisonous frogs in the backyard that come out during monsoon time (yay, Arizona!) that the dog won't leave alone.

In the end, for me, the hardest part is being away so that I can't always see her face or her body language or that of my other family members. I don't like not being able to try and alleviate stress and help bear burdens for her or those who are driving, waiting, and collecting then disseminating information. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stand that part before I need to get inside the circle and be there. Now isn't the time, plus I have things in my own family to help with in the coming weeks, but I'll probably go out at some point.

Right now, we wait and choose hope and make the days good. That's what we should always do, but there is nothing like that capital C to provide some focus.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sometimes, Big Things

Most things I write about are little things. No, really, they are. I say that in plainspoken earnestness, not as a martyr or moper. They are important to me, my family, and a few others. They will never affect the outcomes of global events, nor will my little words influence ideological trends. I'm totally fine with that. I promise I am not trying to be dramatic or silly. I have little ambition for big things. But sometimes they happen anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2015

One of Those Weeks

Yay Monday because last week was one of those weeks. I know it's inevitable that it will happen, but this was a convergence to be sure. What the heck happened, you may ask? Here is the rundown:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

4 am

As a mother, there seem to be certain reflexes that haven't had long enough to slow in the scant year since my youngest left home.

When I heard someone stirring in the wee hours, I woke up immediately to full alertness. It wasn't a big noise, just steps and a door opening, and those sounds came through my closed door and covers over my head. I marvel that I yet have that ability to instantly be aware that something is not right and feel the need to investigate.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Johnathan's Birth Story

Every so often, I get the urge to tell one of my kids' birth stories. Today is Johnathan's turn. I scanned some photos of his Birth Day and became quite emotional looking at our younger selves, his and mine.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Westward, Ho!

It's my last day in Utah. I am presented with an emotional dichotomy, to be sure, because leaving Utah means I bid farewell to mountains and endless skies and lots of my family and friends, but it also means going home to sheltering trees and fireflies and my family and friends waiting there. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


Last night I drove home from Ohio through the hills and valleys of the Allegheny range of the Appalachians.  I kind of love exploring with the WAZE app, and it navigated me home from Columbus a different way than I originally went and it was perfect. The distance wasn't any longer, the time was shorter, and there were long stretches with almost no other cars on the road but me. As I got closer to home I slowed down for some giant storms and watched dramatic lightning race across the entire sky. By 9:45, when I drove up to my little house with the red door, the rain had passed by, my family was waiting for me, and all seemed well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Celebrate Good Times!

Friday night, we started our celebrations of our third child's marriage. We hosted a small, family party at our home. We borrowed tables and chairs, put up some fun bistro lights, and set out the candles and flowers. Friends and family made food, everybody helped prepare the yard and it was really fun. It was important to me that we have time together as a family to mark the fact that in some ways, we are now all part of the same family.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wedding Times

It's still sort of everything, all the time, but mostly, it's the wedding times. Jeff and Ashlyn are here, along with the cutest baby girl I currently know. The guest space I carved out of the basement is working well. There's still more to do in terms of clearing things out, but I'm really pleased at what we made. I actually feel like I have a legitimate offer to make when people come to visit; an area where they can have some privacy and peace. There's a real bed, a comfy chair and light to read by. It's the best I could do right now, and I think it's enough.