Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why I am planning The Pink Gala

I am going to share with you the story of why I wanted to have a New Year's Eve event.

January 2010

It is with a great deal of emotion that I start this New Year. I lost my mother on Christmas Eve after her 22 year battle with breast cancer. The past week has been a blur.....well really the past 2 months. This holiday season was a very difficult one for my family. I wasn't able to do the special things I normally do with my children during the month of December and never really finished decorating my house.

The week before Christmas was spent at the hospital hoping my mom would get enough strength back to be able to spend Christmas at home. She fought a hard fight but the cancer just wouldn't let go. On Christmas Eve morning I made the difficult decision to bring my mother to my home to spend her last hours surrounded by her family. I sat my children down at the dining room table and told them that "Binky" wasn't going to make it through the day and that I wanted to bring her home. I made sure they understood that she would die here and if that was something that they would be okay with. Each sweet child (ages 8 thru 15) said it would be very sad but they wanted her here too.

So with the Doctor's help we made the arrangements for her to be transported by ambulance with the help of hospice when we arrived. Once she was settled, she opened her eyes for the first time in over 24 hours. I told her where she was and all the grandchildren came in to talk to her. Each one handled it differently but my sweet Tanner was overwhelmed with emotion. He held her hand and cried while he told her how much he loved her. She was able to slowly say in a muffled voice "I love you too" Those were the last words my mom spoke.

We took turns sitting by her bed and holding her hand. I continued to prepare for Christmas morning and tried to finish up wrapping the gifts that I had hidden all over the house. It was just about seven o'clock and my brother called my name in a panic. The hospice night nurse had just arrived and I hurried downstairs. Mom was gone...wow I knew it was coming but nothing prepares you for that moment. I had to call my dad down and tell him she had passed and then we had to tell the children.

I can't tell you how blessed we were. It was the most difficult moment of my life and one of the most precious. As we started handling the business end of everything, we had the support of a wonderful nurse who promised to stay with us until everything was taken care of and she was so comforting and sympatheic, I don't know what we would have done without her.

The first call was to the funeral home back home in Kentucky. They took care of contacting a local funeral home to come and pick up my mom until they could get her the next day. Once that was arranged, we waited for the hospice RN to come by and pronouce her dead. The men from the funeral home arrived and were so thoughtful and caring. They assured us they would take very good care of her. It was so hard to watch them take her.

Okay now what....I took a deep breath and told everyone to get their Christmas PJs on and head to the living room. The annual Christmas Eve tradition of watching Christmas Vacation wasn't going to be missed. Mom wouldn't have had it any other way. We decided to wait to start calling family and friends until after we opened our gifts on Christmas morning. We wanted that night just to ourselves.

As difficult as the next few days were, I have never felt so blessed to have the support of family and close friends to ease the pain. Somehow we made it through and life is slowly getting back to normal. As the New Year rolled around I decided that no huge resolutions were in order this year. I just wanted to say "I love you" more and "I'm sorry" less. I also decided to live honestly. No more agreeing to things I don't want to do out of obligation or guilt. I want to be authentic in my life and in my relationships. I am going to simplify and find joy in the small things that happen during my day. I will be grateful for the many blessing I recieve and say thank you every chance I get.
Over the next few weeks I will tell you about my mom's journey with breast cancer.  It is a story of hope and I am happy to share it with you.

It's perfectly pink,

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