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. 

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Classy blog today Barry.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts from the heart. My heart is breaking for you my dear amigo. She is in heaven now finally agreeing with your blog for once you know. Take care brother.

Anonymous said...

I will say that you have let many many inappropriate comments through regarding dear loved ones deceased. Especially when there is the death of a child or young adult. Hopefully you going through the bereavement process will give you a different perspective on the amount of hurt you are causing others by continuing to allow your blog to be a tunnel of hatred used by those trolls only wishing to cause more hurt to those that are already devastated. May your beautiful mother rest in peace and may you and your family find the comfort of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

BG,

I only know you through this blog. But I wish you and your family all the best. Know that everything has become absolutely wonderful for your mother. She is having a blast.

Anonymous said...

Barry, life deals many things we would like to not endure, I have lost both parents and a niece that was 18 at the time!!! It is hard to lose any....time will make it easier, but the pain still exists. Bless ur heart and I am willing to talk to u anytime, grief is a hard emotion that only time will help. My mom passed away 28 years ago, I still think of her everday! Please do not share this as its only ment for u, with much love
Becky morrow

David Hooper said...

Peace.

Anonymous said...

Hold the memories in your heart, you will have her close . I will remember you and yours in my prayers. God Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Green, I see my father withering away at a rapid rate (though he is still lucid), and I live in terror of that day that I lose him. It's bound to happen, but I can't deal with the thought. You're right, though; the thought of it being a child or someone whom we were unprepared for is a living nightmare. I've had to deliver death notifications to parents before, and it's terrible.

I'm not a Grateful Dead fan, but the song "Box Of Rain" has lyrics that resonate with me. Bassist Phil Lesh composed a song for his dying father, to express his thoughts and compassion. And it chokes me up. (Read the lyrics, and listen a couple of times through.)

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, sir.

Anonymous said...

I have always told people that when a parent dies and even when you know it is coming...you are never prepared. It is like hitting a brick wall at 80mph. But, it really does get easier over time. I lost my mom to cancer when I was twenty after she fought it for four years. I was ready for her to go. But the finality of death is a sobering reality.

Take care BG.

Anonymous said...

I have been through the same process you described with my mother. Our prayers are with you and there is some comfort in knowing that this is God's plan for this lifetime...He will extend the next to infinity...that is nothing for Him.

Anonymous said...

Berry, God be with you and your family. Your post today was moving. I am truly sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Peace to your heart.

"We" have dealth with a parent with dementia. Even though you know that person is finally at peace, you heart misses the presence. Its difficult & sometimes frustrating to deal with dementia; its the realization of role reversal - the children become the parents and the parents are now the children.

Give hugs every day.

Anonymous said...

Barry, I don't know you but I can see why I have great respect for your way of life and your desire to help people. It is the influence your sweet mother had on you. Deeply sorry she has passed this life; but you will meet again. May the Lord Bless thee and keep thee until that time.

Anonymous said...

Prayers and condolences to you and your family, Barry. I haven't lost a parent yet, but I dread the day. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

While I fully support your decision not to have comments (because I know there would have been at least one troll), just know that there are a ton of good people on here who would have destroyed him. We've got your back.

Anonymous said...

I don't personally know you. I only know you through your blog (which I enjoy). You will always have your memories to cherish. Prayers to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

People are cruel, some never pass up an opportunity to kick you when you are down. Regardless of political beliefs, one thing that is quite obvious to anyone that reads your blog is your love for family. I am truly sorry for your loss, losing my father has been one of the most heart wrenching struggles I have experienced. The one thing I do want to say is that it is ok to continue to live and laugh. Peace to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Having lost my parents, I can say that Time Does Heal the void. I hope you have many happy recollections. I know I do! Loved your Mom video. Pretty Lady and you do favor her!

Anonymous said...

Barry,

I only know you through this little blog, but you have been in our thoughts and prayers over the last few days. I am lucky enough to still have my parents and in-laws with us, but know that there will come a day when I will be facing this myself.

Your mother sounds like such a special lady. I have a relative who lives at Stagecoach. It is such a great place and I would have loved the opportunity to get to meet your mother.

Scott

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the loss of your mother. I only know you by this blog but I know from experience how difficult it is to lose your mother. Mine was 95 and was lucid most of the time but it was very hard. I lost my father at the age of 10 and even though it has been over 62 years, I still wish for him at time. I still miss my mother every day!

Anonymous said...

Barry, so sorry for your loss. I've lost grandparents recently and I know that was difficult.

janneba said...

I thought of your Thanksgiving picture when you posted your mom had passed a lovely table for a loving family, but that is when it will really hit the holidays and birthdays. My thoughts are with your family, and like the other lady said I only know you thru your blog, but we all seem like family at times.

Andrew Kuppinger said...

Great read today buddy

Whitney B. said...

I'm sorry for your loss and will keep you, and your family, in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Barry, When I heard last week about your loss, I felt like one of my friends lost a parent and I only know you through this blog. I almost never agree with you but I've been here every day for many years. I really enjoy what you do on here.
Loving mothers are something we have yet to describe with mere words. I have had to deal with the loss of my mother years before her passing and that was the toughest blow. One thing that might help is that your memories of her won't surround the dementia, they will almost all be of the great times with her and the love from her. God bless you Barry.

Bobby D. Wylie TX

RatherBeSailing said...

I fond in the loss of my mom that with time the pain of grief will become the joy of fond memories.

Anonymous said...

Dear stranger I've never met but have love for, I'm so sorry for your loss. Sounds like you had a great Mom.

Anonymous said...

sorry for your loss

Anonymous said...

I shared the hurt,sympathy.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. My mom died in 1991 and I still have the thought on occasion that I wished I could called her to see how she's doing. Hang in there. A mother's true love sticks with her children forever.

Charles Brandenberg said...

Sorry for your loss, Barry. Charlie Brandenberg

CT said...

Barry, Prayers of comfort and peace going up still for you and your family. Losing a parent must be agonizing. I can't even imagine.

You momma was one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met, and one of the first I met when I married and moved up here. She was an amazing lady.

God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You were raised by such wonderful parents. You and your brother are both examples of men who grew up in a well adjusted home. God bless you and yours. You are in my prayers.

Your friend was right, you do look just like your mother, I do so hope you don't go all Bruce Jenner on us. ; )

Anonymous said...

I HAVE MY 86 YEAR OLD FATHER IN LAW AT STAGECOACH/SENIOR CARE AND HAVING DEALT WITH 3 OTHER REHABS IN 11/2 YEARS. THEY ARE EXCEPYIONAL, CARING,KNOWING ORGANIZATION. THEY MAKE MY JOB AS CHIEF CAREGIVER MUCH EASIER. THANK THEM FOR THIER SERVICE.
CHEF

Steven Washburn said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Families like yours & mine are so close to each other in every kind of way, if something wonderful or something bad happens those are the people that you call first. They are the people we celebrate with & the first ones that hold you & cry with you. May God Bless you and your family during this difficult time.


Steven Washburn

RPM said...

Deepest sympathies for your loss Barry. I first met your Mom when I was a little kid at the Dry Goods. She was always the sweetest lady. You will never "get over" her passing, but time will temper the pain and sweeten the memories.

Anonymous said...

My heart aches for you. I looked for others way to send you a message but figured with time you would open the comment section and let us show you our love. Thank you for sharing the good the bad and ugly and hard times like this with us. Continued prayers for you and yours.
Faithful Reader

Unknown said...

Prayers for your family.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but I know what you are going through. My sincere condolences are offered...

Anonymous said...

Words are just words, but I feel like you are sensitive enough to understand the empathy I have for you when I say:

I'm so sorry about your mom's passing. It really doesn't matter what was wrong at the end, what disease they had, what illness was taking them from their normalcy, what does matter is that she is your mother! Suffering maybe, old and long life maybe, but no child is ready to really say "see you later" to his/her mother. It is just an endurance.

God Bless you and keep you! She's where we all hope to get to and she finished her race is real style and composure!

Blessings to you! Strength to you! Now, carry on as your mother expects you to.

Anonymous said...

A long time blog reader is sending you love and appreciation today.

Anonymous said...

Barry,
I know you have heard countless times, you had a very special mother.
But, do you actually realize how many young lives she touched? She was a Sunday School teacher for years. She was my Sunday school teacher for years. I can honestly say, I have only a few times had the pleasure of being in contact with such a godly woman. She was always so tender and compassionate with all the children. She planted many seeds in her lifetime. I have wanted to post for several days, but couldn't come up with the words to describe what I think she was. She was a teacher, a believer, a friend, and above all a Mom. She mothered alot of us. I lost my Mom at an early age, to complications from diabetes. I want you to know it will get easier, but out of nowhere there will be sad days for years. Be at peace my friend knowing that she is in her heavenly home.
On a totally different note. Can you imagine how it was to go from Nadine Green, Sunday School Teacher, to Steve Leftwich? Just some fuel for thought.

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog daily for as long as I can remember, it brings me laughter and tears. Today it was tears- I too lost my mom recently after a long illness. While I expected her passing, even now it hits me like a brick wall she is no longer here. Cyber hugs your way along with prayers to heal the pain and loss in your heart.

Dawn said...

I am walking in your shoes, several steps behind but I see it. Not sure how long of a journey it may be but its a heartbreaking beginning. I am sorry for you loss but your mom has finally found peace from her mind. God love you and be with you. What a wonderful son you are for being there by her side.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely despise everything you stand for and you...

But, I am sorry for the loss of your Mother