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Posts posted by glo

  1. So sorry, Katie. I'm sure it hurts immensely.

    Tomorrow will be one year since my mother's death, and I want to go back to my hometown for a couple weeks this year, but dread it because I won't be able to stay with her. No house involved - she had an apartment. I can stay with any of my 4 sisters, or all of them for a few days, but home was always where Mom was and it hurts.


  2. So true - we really do all second-guess - can't seem to help it. I'm sure you did the best you could with the situation as it was and the information you had. Yes, the cancer can definitely move that quickly. My husband was diagnosed with NSCLC at the end of July and was gone on Sept. 1 - he was willing to do whatever treatments were recommended for him, but didn't even make it to the first radiation treatment. So it definitely was the cancer and not the cure in his case.

    Try not to think about what was or wasn't done - coulda, shoulda, mighta been, - but remember how much love you gave her, and know that with time - probably a lot of time - your brain will revisit the events after diagnosis less frequently and focus more frequently on all the pleasant memories from before that time. What you are feeling is normal and happens to most of us.

    Grief is very hard.

    Wishing you the best.

  3. Katie, I'm so sorry. I understand that one grief can be so different from another.

    When my son died, I had my husband to lean on. He quietly picked up so many of the things I would normally do, and he took a much bigger role with our daughter, allowing me to "just be" or just exist until I could very slowly come back to life. When he died, it was a very different grief. I had to find new ways to cope without his support.

    My grief for my mother (she died 10 months ago) is still different yet. I guess no matter how proud we are of the progress we've made with one grief, it doesn't stop another from knocking us off our feet again.

    I'm so sorry about the sibling issues. I do know you can be proud of your role as a daughter and a sister, and that's really all you have control over. Your parents were very sure of your devotion every day of their lives, and that's a huge accomplishment.

    Wishing you peace and a tiny bit more happiness each day.

  4. Katie - my heart goes out to you and your whole family. Just do what feels right. Both when my son died and when my husband died, hospital staff encouraged me to start talking to funeral directors - neither of them had anything pre-arranged, but I refused to leave their room. Both times I found no difficulties in making funeral arrangements after their death. Especially since your mother has arrangements, ignore the talk of funerals and concentrate on what I know you're doing. Showing her love every moment that you're able. I totally agree with you that while she breathes on her own and responds in any way, the decision is up to her and God.


  5. Merry Christmas Eve, Katie. I'm so glad you feel better today.

    I so know what you mean. Some days the world just feels so hopeless and I'm so lost - I try to remember during those times that it's just the same as it was yesterday when I was relatively happy and will be the same tomorrow, and I'll probably feel better then. Hard to concentrate on that, though, when the tears come, and the fear grips in your stomach. Strange thing about it -- often after those intense grieving spells, I then experience almost a euphoria - content just with being me as I am and the world as it is! Curled on the same couch with the same blanket, but now feeling content and warm, rather than cold and lost and bleak. I guess the human spirit really is resiliant.

    And Katie, you do so much for so many - you're entitled to let it all go once in a while. You also have a special spot in my heart. Your Dad and my husband sound so much alike. Even though we don't receive signs from them, I'm convinced they are with us still.

    So we will concentrate on doing what they would be doing if they were here - make Christmas warm and loving for those they loved. Hug Rick and Hunter and Kennedy and your mom close, say a prayer for your brother and all those in the world who are suffering, and just go on with who you are and what you do.

    I'm going to go now and fulfill a request of my daughter's and her best friend's - make some enchiladas for them to have when they get back from their traditional Christmas Eve movie date. Hopefully the friend has arrived safely from New York. My friend and I are blessed because our daughters are six months apart in age (mine younger) and they have been best friends from the time of birth to now at 32! They refer to each other as sisters. They stay close even though they are now separated by the entire US - one in NY; one in CA.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Katie.

  6. Good timing on your part, Katie. As you know, I'm right there in the same grieving timeframe as your mom. After Chuck died, I couldn't face the same Christmas routine - didn't really want Christmas at all - but I have a wonderful daughter like you are, and I didn't want her to walk into a house with no Christmas, so I had her go with me to buy an artificial tree - we'd always had a live one. We were both very quiet when we got back with it, but I put it up and got out some of the bigger Christmas items. That was 2003. In 2004 and 2005, I've decorated minimally, but made sure there were presents under the tree for her - she comes to my house once or twice every week! and always sleeps here Christmas Eve and spends Christmas morning with me!

    This year I had some remodeling stuff done to the house and have given away a lot of old stuff that isn't used anymore. Decided to clean out all the closets and organize - especially wanted to get Christmas stuff down from those spots where I have to climb to get it. I intended to give a LOT of Christmas decorations away, but once they were all out on the floor, I got more in the spirit and decided to just put them all out this year. Woohoo - 40 years worth of stuff. It now looks like Christmas erupted in my house.

    So I think you picked the perfect time to give your mom a push - my spirit is lighter this year and I'm more able to find joy in the season - it just takes a long time. You're so intuitive, Katie. How could anybody not respond to such a terrific gesture. It probably also made her realize that her kids and grandkids miss the Christmas atmosphere at Grandma's house, even though they do have their own. And your getting the tree and decorations took away the feeling of "it's all just too much to do."

    Have a good Christmas, Katie.

  7. Oh, Don - yes, it is so hard to accept that the world now thinks of you as "single" and worse yet the awful word "widow" - in your case "widower" when you've been part of a couple for so long.

    It still startles me to fill out papers that require marital status and it's been three years. And to refer to "my late husband" is absolutely horrid - I avoid that in every way I can. Whoever started that ridiculous expression anyway?? What does "late" have to do with it? There's no good way - "my deceased husband" is only slightly better. The best I can hope for in a conversation that calls for me to refer to my husband is to say "I'm a widow. My husband installed these sprinklers, (or built this shed)" or whatever they're asking me. Still not good, but the best I can come up with.

    I still wear my wedding rings, because it feels too naked without them. :)

    Things do become easier in time, but many memories and habits will be with us for life. After about a year, I found I was no longer dreading opening the front door to an empty house, and gradually I've changed many things in the house to reflect the things I do, rather than what "we" did. Perhaps one day I'll think in terms of "I" rather than "we" but I'm not trying to force it. We all heal in different ways at different times.

    You've understood the importance of taking care of yourself while you were taking care of Lucy, so I know you will continue to do that now.

    ((((Don)))) I understand, as do all the spouses who have lost their other half.

  8. Hugs to you, Katie. Kinda there with you, girl - Sept. 1 was three years since my husband died, and I think it was harder this year than I remember it being last year. And I also am in the midst of lots of household projects that prompt purging of "old" stuff. Just knowing that Chuck wouldn't want me to hang onto anything that I'm not using and that doesn't fit with the renovations, doesn't make it easier to part with. But I'm in one of those female "if you don't really like it or use it, get rid of it" phases.

    Although the newness and cleanness of rooms I'm redoing lifts my spirits, there is also a sadness that so much of my husband and son have been erased from the house. I'm sure that feeling is even stronger for you in changing houses and jobs. There's that little quirky inside the head voice that says "he wouldn't even recognize my surroundings now".

    My mother's death on May 1, of course, adds to the sorrow, also.

    And oh, boy, reading back through the old posts - guaranteed heartbreaker - but sometimes we can't help it. In clearing out the room I use as a home office, I came across the leather zippered funeral home envelopes with the guest book, cards, etc. for both my husband and son. Quick as I could, I shoved the two envelopes together, zipped it up, and literally threw it into the top of the closet. I knew if I took even one peek in there, I'd be gone for days. And I have to finish painting this room before the furniture is delivered. :lol:

    I do so hope for the best for your brother, Katie. I know you said earlier that he didn't want anybody to advocate for him and that must be hard for you, but I'm glad your mom has been able to go and be with him. Prayers for all of you.

  9. TeeTaa is right, Carleen. Just hold on. Just do whatever automatic robot actions come to you and just go through the motions and don't feel bad about anything you're thinking or doing - you're still in shock and whatever you think or feel is ok -- people aren't alike and people don't react the same.

    It is sooo much harder than anything I've ever faced in life, but you are still precious to others in your life and you know Keith would want happiness for you - it just will take a lot of time and many ups and downs. It will never be the same and you will never stop missing him, but eventually it does become bearable. Don't expect too much of yourself right now - just get through each day. Just hold on.

    About the pregnancy - I don't know. The timing is incredibly hard. Just take care of yourself the best you can and whatever works out you will know you did all you could. It really is outside your control.

    Just know we all care, and many of us realize how much pain you are going through.


  10. Beautiful and touching, Katie. What a big-hearted man.

    We had a similar example across the street from us. And I agree that it's rare for blended families to accomplish it so well that it isn't even an issue.

    Your dad was even more remarkable for conquering the cultural barriers as well, without a thought. It really is all about love and obviously his was unconditional. I think it's kinda cute that he did such a good job that your mom didn't even identify with the adoption issue until you reminded her.

    Happy adoption/anniversary ((hugs))

  11. My recent experience with hospice was very positive. My mother who was 91 and had been relatively healthy had to go in the hospital because of some confusion and difficulty expressing her thoughts. No positive diagnosis, but possibly a slight stroke. She was discharged and I flew to MD and spent two weeks with her in her apartment - my four sisters and two brothers were in and out a lot during that two weeks and we all had a great visit.

    Within two days after I flew back to CA, she was again in the hospital. Still no clear diagnosis, despite extensive tests, but then she came down with an antibiotic resistant uterine tract infection - a form of staph. Because of the IV meds, she wasn't able to go home at discharge, but had to enter a skilled nursing home temporarily. After only a few days there, she developed extreme shortness of breath and harsh breathing - the nursing home took her to ER and she was now diagnosed with congestive heart disease and admitted to the hospital.

    Within just a few days, the cardiac doctors told us that her kidneys were shutting down and she was dying. By the time I got a flight back there, she was already unresponsive. The next day they moved her to the Hospice unit of the hospital. I was amazed!

    There were four patient rooms in the hospice wing - large rooms - mom's room had a huge comfy recliner chair, a table and three or four chairs, two other armchairs, and they brought in a cot - and of course the standard hospital room TV. This all was wonderful, but then we discovered the two rooms at the end of the hall. Luckily for us, my mom's room was next to them. One room had a refrigerator, microwave, large table and chairs, and a table with a phone. The other room had a sofa that was actually three joined recliners, a love seat that was two recliners, and a separate recliner chair, plus a TV, a desk, and oh, joy, a computer with internet access. All of this was furnished for the family's comfort. Plus they sent up food a couple of times a day for however many people were there at the time. And my mom was on medicare! Wow! We didn't get billed a penny for any of those services.

    For the three days until she died, there were never less than two of us in her room or next door. Many, many times there were as many as eight of us there. We took turns going home to shower - that was about it. Nurses did whatever we as the family wanted. If we said don't take vitals, they didn't - if we asked for her to be repositioned or cleaned up, they did that. They showed up at least every three hours and asked what we wanted or needed. Plus, of course, they administered the morphine and Ativan she was on. We could never have been as much together as a family if we had taken her home, because her apartment was too small. Plus being in the hospital meant that the professionals were always on call.

    I realize this isn't very helpful as far as shopping for a hospice because it just happened to be available at the hospital she was already in. But I just wanted to say that it was a service that we very much appreciated. Having gone through a vigil twice before at hospitals offering only hard waiting room chairs, this place was a dream come true.

    I'll definitely be donating money to the unit that provided the service.

  12. My 91-year old mother is in the hospital for the second time in a month, in Maryland. She's been living alone; called my sister because she felt there was something wrong. Sister found her confused and unable to express her thoughts. Admitted to hospital for about a week. CT scan, EKG, MRI, ultrasound and all tests found nothing wrong - with the exception of blood pressure elevated but not dangerously. Confusion lasted only one day. Perhaps a mini-stroke. No paralysis, or other physical signs, and her mind returned to her former stage of alertness very quickly.

    I flew back and stayed two weeks with her in her apartment. Luckily I have four sisters in my hometown and they all take turns helping her, but I was the one who could actually stay 24/7 with her. They all have husbands and obligations that make overnight away from home difficult.

    Home health nurse and therapists have been coming two or three times a week and were pleased with her progress. I flew home on Sunday morning, and this morning got a call that she's back in the hospital. Same thing -- confusion -- she dropped the phone while talking to one of my sisters and was still sitting with it in her lap when they got to her house. This time her blood pressure was outrageously high. 193 over 120! ER gave her blood pressure meds and within hours it was back to a normal range. They're keeping her a few days for observation. Pretty sure this will mean the end of her living alone (she's in a senior housing building with a panic button and handicap access for walkers, etc.)

    Please pray for her recovery and for a good solution to her living situation. I dread the thought of a nursing home, but she really resists living with any of her children because she doesn't want to be a burden.

    All positive vibes appreciated.

  13. OMG, Peggy. That is too funny. Sure glad you weren't in too big a hurry to read it over. But I'm also a little sad that it won't get read in court. lol

    I've done stuff like that, and it can be really scary, especially when you've just hit SEND on an e-mail and suddenly aren't sure what you just pasted in -- like wrong name in the To field. And it's a personal note. Oooh.

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