Monday, May 26, 2014

A different memorial day

As I was falling asleep last night, I prayed that somehow I would wake up before the rest of the household this morning as, you see, most mornings, my alarm clock is a little head poking over the side of my bed whispering "mama".  I have little hope of a few moments of silence to my self ever in the mornings. Waking at 4:45am wasn't exactly what I was thinking, but my prayer was answered. My body is manifesting stress, even though I am trying to subdue it, in ways like sleeplessness. A huge chapter of my life is closing, and although I am beyond ready to move onto the next, my heart is heavy to say goodbye.

I know this move wouldn't be happening if she was still here.

That knowledge brings its own wave of feelings. A greater trust in God's ultimate plan, but also a deep sorrow that in a sense, I am leaving her behind here. I have been asking the boys what they remember about their Mimi, and its getting harder and harder for them to think of actual things about her. They remember her house, or the things she got them. And I knew, being just 4 when she passed, that there wouldn't be much memories as they grew. It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that Fiona won't remember her at all, and that my future nieces and nephews, if my sister has kids, will never know her. My mom suffered a lot and didn't find joy in much. But her daughters, her grand kids and her nieces and nephews were her sunshine. We were the thing that brought out a true genuine smile of joy from her.

 I watched depression do some horrible things to my mother. I endured much emotional abuse from her as she tried to handle her problems her self. No matter what I did, it was never enough. It was heart-wrenching to be pushed away so often, and then to be told that I wasn't there for her. Depression blinds people from seeing love. The last few weeks I had with her, as her mind began slipping away, there were precious brief moments of clarity where that veil of depression lifted and she saw how much she was loved. Everything she had blamed me for, blamed my father for, she saw the true culprit. It was wrecking to see in her eyes the sadness that it was too late now. But a gift to finally know she knows that I loved her. In the end, that's all we wanted. For her to know we love her.

When I woke, at 4:45am this morning, I checked Instagram as I normally do because I am a social media addict. There was the announcement that a friend has gone into labor! I couldn't think of better news to wake up to. There is a much bigger plan to this world then my spec of a life and as I mourn a loss, I am eager to welcome a new life.  Actually many new lives coming just in our circle this year. This is a year of change. Moves, weddings, babies, and deaths. Life is happening. And I am excited to see what God has in store for our family and friends. He has taught me that His Will is good and trust worthy. Even in sorrow, His Will brings comfort. There is nothing I cannot face, nothing too wrecking, that leaning into Him can't get me through. And not just through, but with joy.

They say the first year is the hardest. The first Christmas without her, the first birthday without her, the first mothers day without her. Many tears were shed this year. But I am so thankful for the community God has surrounded me with, near and far, that continues to bless my life and honor my mothers memory with me. This Memorial Day is for you, Mom.

Judith Ann Tryon
8.25.1962 - 5.26.2013

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


This will be the first mothers day without Mom.

Last year, around this time, I was walking into The Family Christian book store in search of a book, and saw a mug sitting on a table specially put together for Mother's Day gifts. It was a simple soft pink coffee mug that simply said Mom with the reference Philippians 1:7 below it. Along the inner rim the maker of the mug took a piece of that scripture out of context to write ... for you have a special place in my heart. Its actually a very odd verse to put on a mug for a mother if you read the whole verse in context, but the phrase stolen from it grabbed me. Because it was exactly what I wanted my mom to know.

Prior to the phone call that my mom was in the hospital, I hadn't talked to her in over a month. Her drinking had gotten so bad and she was associating her self with people we did not want in ours or our children's lives, so at the request of my husband, I put up boundaries. She couldn't be a part of our lives until she sought help. Those few months of trying to get her help and then shutting her out of my life were emotionally wrecking. It was by far one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I wanted to save her. I wanted to force her into help. I wanted to overlook it all and just deal with it later. I wanted her in my life.

And then I got the call that she was in the hospital. She was yellow, like pee. Her eyes were sunken in and yellow too. There were plans and options but I knew. I just knew she wasn't going to get better. I blamed her. And then myself. If only I had held her hand and made her seek help. She was coherent for a few days and so I barely left her side. When she was awake, I had her tell me about her childhood, and her relationship with my dad. Anything to know her better. My whole life she had been a secret. Mad at everyone for not understanding her but never truly opening up to anyone. Abuse had left her with no self esteem or self worth. But a deep desire to have both.

She was in so much pain. Her nervous system sent sensations all over her body that felt like pins sticking her and she lost her appitite. All she could get down was tea but she hated drinking it out of the disposable plastic hospital cups, which is why I knew that mug was the perfect Mothers Day gift for her. She was too afraid she was going to drop it and break it because she was so weak so she refused to use it. It sat next to her bedside beside the plastic hospital mug that she still complained about. That's when she had hope that she would be able to use it someday.

I learned more about my mom in those few days then my entire life with her. I watched her fade away as the poisons her liver could not longer cleanse from her body seeped into her brain. We couldn't talk any more because nothing she said was making sense. She was denied to be put on the liver transplant list because of her drinking history. A few of my cousins stepped up and offered to donated to her, but the odds didn't make sense for them to risk it. There were no more plans, no more options.

I prayed every minute of every hour we were at hospice with her that God would take her. I just wanted her to be at peace. 5 days later, she finally was.

My sister and I were both holding her hands as she took her last breath. I will never never ever forget that second in time. She was gone and I could feel it. Her body was just this shell of her laying there. And through the tears and the pain, there was overwhelming peace. She was finally free. From the pain, from her demons, from her addictions. For the first time ever, my mom was experiencing true joy. And its that belief that has kept me going all year.

Every once and a while, I allow my self to relive this experience in my thoughts and I mourn what I have lost. Even more so as of lately with us nearing Mothers Day, the year mark of her passing and us moving out of state, away from the last memories I have of my mom. The emotions are overwhelming but yet good to feel. Its like I am communicating with her somehow through the tears.

I kept that mug that I gave her. I think of how she so lovingly refused to use it, cherishing it as a precious gift. It was a $10 mug. But to her it was me being in her life again. I wish it could have been longer then 2 weeks. I love you mom. I cannot wait to hug you again someday.
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