Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not in the Mood

I haven't been in the mood to type out my feelings.  I can't put into words how I've felt the past couple of weeks.

Lance's dear mother, Carol, passed away on Thursday, November 15 at about 7:15pm.  It was a long, heartbreaking day.

Tuesday night I skipped out on work to go see her, which I blogged about already.  Wednesday night, Lance went up alone and gave Carol a blessing, a blessing to release her spirit from her frail body.  Thursday morning, Lance was getting ready for work when he got a call from Nicole, his sister.  Carol was making "gargling" or "wheezing" noises. Nicole had already spoken to hospice, and they said that when you are closer to passing away, those are the types of noises you make as you're trying to breathe.

Lance got off the phone, filled me in on the info, and then we embraced each other as we both sobbed.

We spent the entire day up at Nicole's house where Carol had been living.  Carol was in a coma and she slept all day, but we talked to her and we told her we loved her.

Hospice checked in every couple of hours.

The kids (my neices and nephews) had been playing outside all day long, but when the sun went down they all came inside.  It started to get really loud in the small living room space, and Lily was getting overwhelmed.  She was also tired, so I took her upstairs to feed her and put her down for a nap.

Lance came up and told me that his mom was gone.  I did my best to be strong for him.

I'm still in a state of shock.  It has almost been two weeks, and I still can't believe it. 

 Both parents gone.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The election is over. This week at work has been extremely slow, and instead of working through it, I've been taking it easy and leaving early.  It's been nice to be able to recover, spend time with Lance, play with Lily, and to actually be awake and alert during the day.

I sorted my three month build up of laundry. That was fun.  I wiped down our couches, dusted, and vacuumed the downstairs. It was disgusting.  Don't ask about the rest of our house.

We had our first mouse.  Lance went upstairs to get some food for Lily and saw it run from the cupboard to underneath the stove.  Two days later it was caught in a trap we had set in the pantry.  Still not sure if there are more, but we've left the traps up just in case.

I haven't started cooking again yet.  One thing at a time!  I have lots of yummy meal ideas pinned on Pinterest though.  I'm still recovering from my two months of hell.

I'm pretty lazy.  If I have one thing planned for the day, that is the only thing that will happen.  For example, today I went visiting teaching.  So, that's why I'm putting off sweeping and mopping the kitchen floors for another day.  They're so dirty, one more day isn't going to hurt anything.

Lily.  Oh my goodness, that girl!  She crawls all over the place, and she likes to pull herself up onto her feet using the bottom step of the stairs.  She loves to clap and she loves to babble as if she's talking to us.  She still loves to nurse, and she'll cry for it even if she's not hungry.  I don't mind. I enjoy it because it's the only time she'll snuggle with me.  She loves to eat.  If she's full and I'm eating, she needs to be eating as well. She loves feeding herself.  We started giving her little things she can pick up and eat like small pieces of cooked carrots, bits of banana, those yogurt bites you can get at the store, and the rice poof thingies that dissolve quickly.  She gets upset if we try to feed her baby food.  I can just hear her, "Come on, give me some texture here!"  Her favorite toy is still a rattle.  She likes to shake it and throw it.  Of all the toys she has, something so simple makes her happy, and I love it.

I've joked about just getting her wrapping paper for Christmas.  A - She's not going to remember Christmas, and B - she likes interaction with us more than she likes toys.

Lance's mom.  Not good.  I had a strong feeling to see her yesterday instead of working, so we did.  We stayed there for quite a while.  She was asleep until the last 5 minutes.  I could tell she knew we were there.  I smiled at her, and all she could do was raise her eyebrows.

Yesterday Nicole told us that Carol hadn't eaten in two days, and has been sleeping a lot. Carol can't mentally process much. She doesn't really understand what's going on around her, and has called Nicole "mom" a few times.  Today, her hospice nurse said that from her experience, Carol has 3 to 7 days left.

I'm not sure I want to celebrate Thanksgiving.  One part of me thinks we should celebrate Thanksgiving, and give thanks for the lives that Carol and Jerry lived, the amazing children they raised, and the wonderful example of acceptance and love they have shown me. 

The other part of me wants to stay in bed all day and cry. 

If I didn't have Lily, or a job, I would.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Acknowledge the Blessings

While I did not vote for Obama, this quote from President Monson keeps playing over and over in my mind:

Rather than focusing on the negative, take a step back and acknowledge the blessings.

My cousin posted a wonderful way of acknowledging your blessings.  I hope she doesn't mind if I steal it!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


TV shows and movies always over dramatize things.  According to them, mothers in law are supposed to be mean, jealous, accuse you of stealing away her son, not invite you things, resent you, treat you poorly and all other sorts of negative things.

Does anyone really have a mother in law like that?  I don't.

Lance's mom, Carol, is the sweetest, kindest, most soft spoken, gentle, kindhearted, selfless, thoughtful person I have ever known.  I don't think she has ever yelled in her entire life.

I can't remember how long ago, but Carol was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  I want to say this was three years ago.  The solution?  Remove the thyroid.  Done and done.  She went in for her post-checkup and she still had traces of cancer in her throat.  From that point on, she went through round after round of radiation.

I can't say I know all of the details, because Carol and Jerry were very private about their struggles.  They never wanted anyone to know of the pain they were in or the hardships they were going through. However, it seemed like every couple of months, Carol would do another round of radiation.

Then one day, Carol started to cough.  A little cough here and there.  Lily was a newborn and Carol would say, "I'm not sick, it's just the cancer." Cancer had spread to her lungs and the irritation caused her to cough a little. The coughing got worse and worse each week.  Eventually, she was constantly coughing. Sometimes the coughing would get so bad that she would cough up blood.  I can't imagine what that was like.  She told us it was so annoying to cough all the time, and she could hardly sleep.  I felt such sympathy for her, I just want her to be comfortable!

Then we got the news: Carol has stage four lung cancer.  She has 1 to 5 years to live if she does chemotherapy.  6 months to a year without chemotherapy.  Her doctor said he was going to refer her to a cancer specialist.

Let's stop right there.

Carol has been battling cancer for three years, and you are just NOW (three months ago) referring her to cancer specialist?!  I was livid when I found out about this.  I thought we always knew it was cancer.  I thought she was already seeing a cancer doctor!

When Lance told me this, I broke into sobs.  Carol doesn't deserve this.  No one with cancer deserves it.  No one does.  I couldn't believe it had gotten so bad.  And so quickly.  Between when the coughing started and this diagnosis it was about three months.

When we went on our vacation to San Francisco, we got a call from Lance's sister in the middle of the night.  Carol was having "episodes".  She couldn't react or respond to questions if people asked her things.  She parked her car on her sidewalk and left it that way.  There is more, but out of respect for my family, I will not share. We felt so helpless.  We were so far away, we did not know what was going on. We feared for the worst.

I'm not Lance. I can't imagine what he felt like.  I saw him, I was with him, I did my best to be supportive of him, but I can't tell you what he truly felt.  I can tell you that no matter how horrible I felt, he felt worse.

We got another call.  Cancer is now in Carol's brain. 

Brain tumors. 

They put her on some kind of medication and she no longer has "episodes" like she did when we were away.

Carol now lives with Nicole, Lance's sister.  At first she was doing chemotherapy and radiation (I didn't know they were different things), but after each treatment she would get sicker, so she has now refused treatment.  She's lost a ton of weight.  About a month ago she was down to just 118lbs.  It's hard for her to eat, because it hurts her mouth, and nothing tastes good.  It's hard for her to get up, because she is so weak.

It's heartbreaking. 

I'm not an eloquent speaker or writer.  I can't put in words how I feel about this.  The best I can say is that it's incapacitating.  You are watching this happen to someone you love and care about and you have absolute zero control over the outcome.  All I want to do is take away the pain she's in, the frustration she feels. I pray for her, but I know that's not really going to help anything.  That may sound like a bitter statement, and it is.  Maybe praying for her is really supposed to help me.

It's hard. I love Carol.

Lance and I started dating when I was 14.  It's not something I'm proud of, but it's the truth.  I'm not perfect. Carol always accepted me.  Jerry did as well.  I was always welcome at their house.  Carol always made me feel welcome with her daughters.

Lance and I went through a lot of drama during the 5 years we dated before we were married. Shortly after Lance and I were married, Carol told me, "I always knew you'd end up together. I never saw it any other way."

I love you, Carol.  I hate seeing you like this.  The most comforting thing I can think of is that Jerry is excited to see you, and I'm sure you're eager as well.  The best I can do is make the most of this limited time we have left.  I wish I could get over to see you more. Thank you for giving me your son. Thank you for introducing me to scrapbooking. Thank you for welcoming me into your family with open arms.