This is the last picture I have of us as a family! I remember the day this photo was taken, out to dinner to celebrate my dad's birthday, it was somewhere around August 25. My parents where visiting from Florida for 2 weeks! This was the last time we would have our party of three!
Not long after this I began dating my husband, and we found ourselves going to Florida for a visit to 'meet' the parents, felt kinda weird after two failed marriages and almost 10 years single. YES in the above picture I was 35, and had been divorced since I was 27 from the second attempt at the whole marriage thing! Long story, you'll have to read the book for that one!! LOL
My mother, Evelyn, loved my husband instantly! She went by looks at first, and said he reminded her of her father........kind, loving and quiet! All of that was true of my husband and my grandfather!! But by the end of the 5 day visit, they loved him and OMG they let us sleep in the same room together!!! This was huge, my parents did not believe in sleeping together before marriage! That's a whole other blog post!!!
I remember my mother saying she loved how Dennis looked at me! I remember those word now almost 14 years later, like she is sitting here with me, reminding me that the hard times are worth it when you really love each other!! I remember my parents hard times, the fights, the silences, the separation when I was in High School! But they always knew, they were meant to be, and it made them stronger. My dad's stubbornness and my mother always wanting more........more money, more travel, more conversation!
Sometimes I think I am becoming my mother, don't we all after 40? But sitting here now, unable to sleep because I knew it was her birthday today, a day we always celebrated! Both of our birthdays, we made special for each other in some way! For the years after they moved to South Carolina and then Florida, so from 1989-2003, if I was not visiting them for my birthday, I received a triple chocolate cake, frozen, FedEx delivered to my door! I always waited to call my mom and dad before eating it, sometimes it was good and sometimes it tasted horrible, but the singing was always the same! laughable, silly and totally childlike..........but that's who I was to them....their baby!
When it was time for my mother's birthday March 10, I usually planned a trip to Florida! In my abundant years, giving extravagant gifts of Coach bags, jewels and her favorite spa days! In the leaner years, just being with her was enough. Time and attention is what she wanted most from me, missing it from all those teen years when I tried to get away from her as much as possible. If you are reading this and you knew my mom in our middle and high school years...........she was the ultimate detective, sniffing out whatever mischief I was getting into. She knew me well, knew I was the idea man behind many harmless, though sometimes dangerous plots of teenage fun, boys and pool hopping! OMG I left my underwear! (inside joke) PYYMS rise! (inside joke, really inside just 4 people)
In 2004, things were different! I had been dating my future husband for almost 6 months, I had a 2 year old fur baby, a Great Dane, Romeo. Life was busy, working, teaching exercise classes, and living life in 2 houses with my man and my dog! The plan was in the works to live together and get engaged........it was coming soon. I was scared and excited all at the same time. So no trip to Florida in March.....we had just visited in December for my birthday!! So i decided to send a frozen, coconut cake! My moms favorite! The cake arrived exactly on her day! It was a Wednesday and fro some reason I was working late till 7 pm! I tried calling at lunch that day, but my no cell phone parents had been out shopping and having lunch! So on my way home at 714pm I called, the short 4 minute drive home, was almost endless now as I look back! The second the phone rang and my mother answered I knew something was wrong, her voice was weird, drunk OMG my mother 67 years old was drunk on her birthday, and why was she out of breath.........No please tell me you didn't answer the phone while getting frisky mom!!! She laughed and said NO......."I just have a really, really, really bad headache" I laughed........and said "to much wine today mom?" She said no "not drinking, just a glass at lunch earlier" Her voice sounded more mumbled, and a thumping noise came over the phone! I said "what's that" her response.........." I'm banging my head with the phone to get it to stop pounding" "WHAT?" put daddy on the phone
She called out ..........."daddy, daddy, daddy...........Art's here" Now understand my dad is Ron, my deceased grandfather was named Art...............holy crap, my mom would never call my dad, daddy for one........
The tears were flowing, the panic set in as I told my dad "call 911" "mom is having a stroke" He said "don't be silly she looks fine" After some tears and explaining, he called and by the time she got to the hospital she was gone! Braindead, and unresponsive! I knew immediately what I had to do! Have a shot or two of bourbon, call my future husband and get to the airport! My flight was leaving at 6 am. She would be on life support till I got there! I had hope, but in my heart I knew that things would never be the same!
The details are blurry for the next 24 hours, Dennis taking care of the packing, the flight and the dog for me! I collapsed crying, knowing once I got to Florida I would have to be the strong one for my dad. I would be the one to ask the hard questions of the doctors. I would have to find the living will, discuss those forbidden topics. My father was a man of few words, so this was gonna be on me!!
The flight and the drive to the hospital is a blur, now thinking about it I took a cab! Wow I had forgotten the almost 50 mile drive in a cab, crying and talking to the nice man, the retired man, driving me to the hospital. I smile now as I think about it, he was kind, and curious and so empathetic.........he had lost his wife 2 years prior to a stroke! Thank you cab driver for being kind to a red faced, puffy eyed, hungover hot mess!
The 4 days spent in the hospital, with my mom off life support and on hospice was another blur, of walking the halls, sleeping on the sofa and drinking lots of coffee. My meals were oatmeal cookies made by one of my parents friends Corky! Then I must mention Amanda, the hospice nurse was another person in this traumatic event in my life who made it so much better! She was always there with a smile, a cookie or a walk for coffee. I remember some of the conversations about life, career, failed marriages and the fact that we were about the same age, and she had 6 kids.........Thank you nurse Amanda from the Villages Hospital in Florida!
Now I won't end the story with the conversations with the doctor even though I could recite them word for word! My mom was not waking up, would never wake up, would remain like that forever. My dad and I made the decision to honor her living will, and let her go, to be with her parents. My dad could not say the words, we had an unspoken communication him and I. Two peas in a pod, my mom used to say! I said goodbye that day 3/14/04 to my mommy, the women I loved, hated and then loved and hated some more. The one who taught me resilience, before I knew the word, she taught me so much about life, love and people.........food not so much!! (she lived on chips, TAB and cigarettes) Hmmmm wonder why I changed careers, helping other get healthy.......thanks mom for showing me my true path..........making it my personal mission not to end up going down that path of 14 different meds, interactions and wanting to be the best version of me I can. I leaned that from you! Just taking a different path to my healing. Thanks again for showing me this, my own healing had begun!
I started here with I Love You, Please Forgive me, I am Sorry, Thank You........
Let me explain the work of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len
Dr. Len explaines that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life – simply because it is in your life – is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation.
Whew. This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing.
Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life.
This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy – anything you experience and don't like – is up for you to heal. They don't exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn't with them, it's with you, and to change them, you have to change you.
I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in ho'oponopono means loving yourself. If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone – even a mentally ill criminal – you do it by healing you.
Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world. Let me give you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person who sent the nasty message. This time, I decided to try Dr. Len's method. I kept silently saying, "I'm sorry" and "I love you." I didn't say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance and thought! Visit the official website for more on Ho'oponopono
By healing your personal experiences, no matter how caused or affected by another, releasing blame, shame and guilt.......we can then become the sum of our personal experiences and memories Then by sharing with others the gifts and lessons we've learned even from the most negative and hurtful situations that life brings our way! Suzanne