The Campaign For DA

9.20.2015

Random Monday Morning Thoughts: Mom's Passing -- Final Thoughts Before Moving On



  • I want to say this first and foremost. I've cried a great deal over the last four days, but it has almost always been triggered by the outpouring of love expressed to me and my family. I don't care if it was a Facebook "like" or an email or a personal visit or flowers or attendance at the service or helping with food or just giving me a knowing glance. Those expressions of love have created joyous tears. And for those who I haven't even heard from, I feel your love. (Explained below).
  • The obvious finally dawned on me: What I was going through was not unique. Many of you have lost a parent. If not, you will. Every human on the face of this Earth will experience this. But I am ashamed of myself for not realizing the emotions others have felt even when the death was expected. 
  • I can't count the times that I've seen a notice in the Update about the death of the parent of a friend of mine. I'll be honest: I normally didn't send a card or message on most occasions. But my heart broke for them. I assumed they knew I loved them. And you know, I was right. I feel that love.
  • For those of you I hugged (and there were many), I apologize for holding on too long and too tightly. 
  • As I've said, my mom had a long and wonderful life. I knew the end was near. But for those of you who have had someone taken suddenly and/or at a young age, what you experienced is exponentially more heartbreaking than the passing of an elderly parent. There were many times over the last few days where I sat in silence and thought about what it would be like to have the person in the casket be your child or any close loved one who was taken away without warning. 
  • It is no secret that my mother suffered from dementia. I was slow to acknowledge it. And this is a warning to those who are dealing with or will deal with it: The closer you are, the slower you will be able to see it. 
  • And this is a promise: If you have to deal with the issue of dementia and are frightened out of your mind by what you are seeing, contact me. I will meet with you to talk about it any where and at any time -- on your terms. And that is exactly what my mom would want me to do. 
  • THIS is important: My mom spent time at Stagecoach Rehabilitation in Bridgeport and at the Willow Bend Memory Care Unit in Denton. I cannot express enough love and appreciation for every nurse  or attendant in both of those places. You do a job not for the money but because you love the elderly.  I watched every step you took and listened to every word you said, and all of you were fantastic.
  • Here's a snapshot of what I mean by that: Mom had been moved into Stagecoach and, as we were getting her settled in, she swore she had seen two people kidnapping two children at the airport about an hour earlier. (Sound crazy? That was just another day for us.) She was so upset and wanted us to do something. The pleas were nonstop. We had to help the children, she said! I had no idea what to say other than, "It will be all right and I'll check on it." But she wouldn't calm down. A cute little attendant at Stagecoach saw what was going on and told mom, "Don't you worry, honey! I'm leaving right now to track those people down and I'll beat the crap out of them!" And, with that, mom was calm. If I didn't tell her, "Girl, I love you and you are a genius!" I'm doing so now.
  • But I'll also admit there were bizarre moments even in the best of facilities: For example, I watched a wonderful volunteer folk band put on a concert to thirty Alzheimer's/Dementia patients. They were great and I was loving it. So was mom. Then they actually played a song named, "Time Is Not Your Friend." As I looked around the room, I realized I might be the only one shocked and horrified. 
  • No one wants to talk about the process of death as it is ongoing. And once it is over, no one wants to remember it and talk about it either. It's a sledgehammer that everyone refuses to acknowledge. 
  • Shout out to Hawkins Funeral Home. Good job. (But I did have scenes from Six Feet Under passing through my mind from time to time.)  My brother and I dealt with Brant. I've known him since we were  both children and he knew mom all his life. That was a comfort that most people don't have. 
  • If you want to know how pricing of a funeral works, I'll be happy to tell you. It was what I expected but didn't know how it worked. I have no complaints. 
  • As Mrs. LL was on the way to the funeral on 287, she passed a truck carrying the vault that my mom would eventually reside in. Have you ever seen a vault being transported? Me neither. 
  • Shout out to BagOfNothing on Friday for turning into Liberally Lean for the moment. 
  • Liberally Lean was mentioned during mom's funeral service. That will probably be the only time it is referenced again in a House of Worship. I fear mom turned to God at that moment, threw her hands up, and said, "Can't you do something about that boy?"
  • One thing I will never forget on Wednesday morning after receiving the call that something may be horribly wrong: As I was quickly walking towards the ER at Denton Regional, expecting to receive confirmation of my mom's death, I looked over to my left and saw my  brother walking just as fast from a different direction. We walked in together and were met by the chaplain. 
  • Maybe the oddest moment after I learned something may be wrong on Wednesday morning occurred right before I was about to rush to Denton. I saw Judge Cude walking around the courthouse square to pick up "steps"  for exercise. I had a simple plea hearing that morning and wanted to tell him I needed it rescheduled. (That was dumb. His staff would figure everything out in the next thirty minutes if I hadn't said a word.)  I stopped him and tried to say, "I think my mom has died . . . " but got choked up. Instinctively, I held up two fingers which is what I do for the Family Pups and my Family Members to give the signal of "Hang on for a second".  Judge Cude looked at me confused and asked, "Two?" A moment of humor that was desperately needed. 
  • I've kept the comments off for two reasons on the previous posts: (1) I don't want to be perceived as wanting sympathy, and (2) I did not want to find out there might be a troll out there that would dare say a hateful thing.  I didn't have the energy to go all Karl Childers on someone. I do now. 
  • I'll end with this: A dear friend emailed me in the late night hours after mom's funeral. She, too, had lost her mother recently. She wrote a loving note to me and then told me she wanted to end with some comedy.  After looking at photos of my beautiful mom in her younger days, she noticed that I looked exactly like her. So she mentioned that if I ever wanted to go "all Bruce Jenner" that I'd make a good looking woman. And with that, I laughed and went to sleep with a smile on my face.  That is a friend.
  • I will probably add/edit this post over the coming hours. And I have one more post coming right out of The Notebook. And then it will be time to move on.