Friday, December 12, 2008

I’M IN A PUDDLE AGAIN


***Note to family members***

You may want to walk away right now and come back later. If you choose to stay, get a box of tissues and settle in. Don't say I didn't warn you.***

Recently I spoke of Thistle's challenge to us all to remember to give back, lend a helping hand this holiday season. I loved this idea. While every year I have good intentions of doing something special, the reality is that I usually get so bogged down with my Christmas to do list caught
up in the excitement that I never seem to find the time to accomplish that particular goal.

It's been almost five years now since my beloved mother, Lucy, passed. I miss her more everyday and even after five years will find myself in a puddle at the most inopportune times because of something said that brings back a cherished memory or just a thought that goes through my befuddled head. This tends to leave grocery cashiers, business colleagues, even family members staring at me with the bewilderment and a "What did I do?" look on their face. My Harley Stud has become accustomed to these episodes. While he still initially gets that dear in the headlights look worried that he's in trouble for something again, after a second the lightbulb goes on in his head and he just nods and gives me a hug. This sometimes results in tears in his eyes too. (But don't ever tell him that I told you that because I'll just lie and say I didn't.)

There are so many things I want to say but let's face it, neither you nor I have a lot of extra time right now and the last thing we all want to see is a really long, rambling blog post. Sorry, just sayin'…….. So, I will try to keep this brief. I have been putting off writing this post because even now as I write, the tears are flowing. But today is my birthday. And I can think of no better way to celebrate the anniversary of my birth than to honor the woman who made it all possible. Well, I'm pretty sure Daddy had something to do with it too. *wink*

Lucy died from colon cancer. It was a long battle. But that's not what I want to talk about today. Or any day. There came a time when Lucy's pain became so unbearable it was not possible to manage her care at home. She had the good fortune to be admitted to the Hospice Care Center in North Florida. The care given at this facility was so far and away above anything I have come to expect in the medical field that it would be impossible for me to convey just how much I think of this facility and its staff. Let it suffice to say for now that the people who choose to work for Hospice are a special kind of people and they are the cream of the crop. It is not an easy job that they do and yet they perform their duties in the most efficient, professional and compassionate way imaginable.

I have wanted to find a way to express my gratitude to Hospice since we lost Lucy. The problem has been that I just didn't think I could follow through without falling apart. And since the idea is to give back to them and not to have them comforting me in my puddle, I just keep letting it go. So when Thistle put her challenge out to bloggersville showing that together we can make a difference on a much larger scale, I knew just what I wanted to do.

The Plan:

The plan has two parts:

The first part is pretty easy. I feel confident that I can accomplish this task with little or dare I be optimistic and say no tears. I've been posting recipes of my traditional Christmas treats that I give out every year. I am going to make and take trays of treats to the local Hospice Care Center for the staff to enjoy. Our local center is not the one where Lucy stayed but they do great work there. And I have a plan in the works to visit the center in North Florida during the coming year as well.

The second part could prove to be a LOT little more difficult emotionally. I plan to inquire if there are any patients or patient family members residing in the center who do not receive visitors. And then go visit. I may offer to read to them, just sit and visit, or I could bring my toy microphone and sing Christmas carols. (I kid, I kid, I know that no one wants to hear me sing.) D2 has offered to go with me. That should make things a little easier. D1 won't be home yet at the time we are planning to go.

This particular part of the project is very close to my heart. During the time that Lucy was in the Hospice Care Center, Daddy and I became residents there too. We ate, slept, showered and I worked there (at my job remotely-not for Hospice)from Oct 31st of that year until late January of the next year. I can't begin to tell you how important visitors were to our sanity. And we were so very blessed to have visitors EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Without them, I would probably still require medication five years later. I mean there is only so much Animal Planet (Lucy's preference for tv watching during that time) you can watch. My parents had neighbors and friends from church and around the lake that would come every day. We had relatives fly in from all over the country. My entire office including my boss came at different times. My in-laws drove four hours to visit with us. I had friends who made the long drive up just to let us know how much we were loved. It is a testament to how great a person Lucy was that so many made it a priority to take the time to be there with us when we needed them so badly. We laughed and carried on like you wouldn't believe. We were embraced with a love that is so big that it is still so hard to put into words.

I know that not every patient and patient family is as fortunate to have the type of support that we had during that very difficult time. For whatever the reason many are left alone for this journey. Daddy has since remarried a wonderful lady who I call Daisy here in my blog. Oddly enough, Daisy was going through the same battle with her husband's colon cancer at the same time just a few miles away from us. Daisy had the support of Hospice care givers but did not have the support system that we were blessed with. It is Daisy's story and the idea that there are many others that haunts me. It is a very small gesture but if I can make even a small difference to one or two or three, it would mean the world to me. And of course more importantly, it will hopefully make a difference to them. I mean who wouldn't want a visit from a Smart Mouth Broad, right? I'm blogging about it because if there is a reader out there who reads this and feels so inclined to join me in my mission or create a mission of your own, I want to encourage you to do so.

These contributions are small, I know. But I hope to be able to continue throughout the year and not just during this Christmas season. I would love to hear about it if you are doing something to give back to your community or globally. Some people prefer to keep their contributions confidential and I respect that. Me, I'm a bit of a blabber mouth but hope that maybe I might be an inspiration to others to do something that is meaningful to them.

Together we can GO MAD. Make A Difference!


***Note***

I know I said I was going to try to keep this brief. Once I got started, I just couldn't shut up. (Big SURPRISE!) Sorry. And thanks for taking the time to read this self-indulging therapy session.

22 comments:

smiles4u said...

This is a beautiful post and I really am sorry for the grief you still feel...but, what a beautiful thing you are doing to touch lives, because of what you have been through. I think you have come up with a great idea and what better person than you to be doing it. You will brighten peoples lives with yours. Your story touches my heart in a big way. Thank you for all that you do for others just by being "you". Thank you for sharing your story with us. You will be blessed richly for your efforts and thoughfullness in reaching out to those that don't have people surrounding them.
Sending you a giant (((((HUG))))) and lots of love, Lori

Reader Wil said...

Dear Smart Mouth! You are a very caring and loving person. Yes there are always lonely people around who need to get visitors. Fortunately our church organizes all kind of activities. I have been a visitor of elderly people for 6 years until recently. I wish you happy birthday and hope there will be many more to come together with your family and friends.

adventuresatmidlife said...

What a sweet post. Bless you, my dear. At the office we're forgoing individual presents and all donating to the United Way Sub for Santa, which is nice, but not nearly as personal as your gift. I shall ponder this challenge...

msmeta

goodfather said...

Incredible post, SMB. I've never gone through anything like this in my own life, but you're right, there are so many people going through their own journeys alone.

My wife and I have been talking about volunteering at a nursing home - I think it's time we got off our butts and did it.

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

My family was also embraced by the Hospice workers at the end of my father's life. I don't know how they work with the dying day after day without it bringing them down into that puddle you talk about. They are truly angels here on earth... and I mean that. It took five years before I no longer cried about my father's passing. Now the thought of him just makes me smile.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words of encouragement. I don't want to create the impression that I'm sitting around in my puddle all the time grieving. I live a very happy life. I just miss my mom and sometimes that comes so close to the surface that I "leak".

Smiles-Thanks for the hugs.
RW-Thanks for the birthday wishes.
MsMeta-That sounds like a great program. It's awesome that you whole office is participating.
GF-When I had young kids like you and Julia do it was all I could handle just to take care of them.
BRG-Thanks for sharing that. Maybe five years is the magic #. I'm OK with the crying. It's the way it catches me off guard and in the strangest places that is the problem. LOL

qtpie said...

It makes me sad sometimes to hear you talk about your mom the way you do. I never knew that side of your mom I guess. I wish I had. I always thought of Aunt V as Uncle J's wife. Tom Boyish. Seems like she always had a short sleeve sweatshirt and jeans on all the time. (and sandals (flip flops) seem to come to mind also in connection with her and for some reason I can remember a blue sweatshirt very vividly). I guess I was young enough that I didn't really get to know her and that makes me, I guess sad is the best way to put it. It's like my husband's parents and grandparents. He is an only child and both his parents and grandparents are dead. I'll never get to meet them. (Well in Heaven I will, but hopefully that's a long time from now). It's like I'll always be missing a piece of the puzzle that makes up my hubby, because you can learn so much about a person from their parents and especially their grandparents (they'll tell you anything!!!). I have that same feeling about Aunt V. I really wish I had known that side of her. Maybe I would have spent more nights in your REALLY neat bedroom more often... Love you! p.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SMB....... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!!!! So that makes you 4_ what???? I really know but I'll never tell!!!!

Lo said...

good lord girl!!!!!!! iam CRYING as i type this!!!! first of all, i am so sorry about dear Lucy. she seemed as if she must have lived a really full, happy, loving life.

also? you are amazing.

Midlife Slices said...

Thanks for making me cry for the second time today!!! The story is beautiful, as I knew it would be. You are an amazing legacy left by your equally amazing Mom. Hospice is near and dear to my heart, as well and I'll never know how they do the things they do, day in and day out, and then come to the funeral and cry right along with the family....and then repeat that all over again with the next patient.

Happy Birthday, dear friend. I love you bunches!!

only a movie said...

Wow. Happy Birthday. What a nice gift to give to yourself.

I think Hospice is wonderful. I spent a holiday season with my best friend in Hospice in 2001. She died on the 29th. I've been thinking for a while how I would blog about that, and you have given me a jumping off point.

What a great way to give back to your community. I think your project idea is amazing.

thistle said...

This is a wonderful idea, and i know you will make a huge difference in the lives of the people you visit. Lucy will be happy to see you doing that...

Great post! and Thank you for sharing, with us and the new friends you will be making thru this effort.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

What a powerful and amazing story. I think your plan is so generous of the heart. A great leagacy for your amazing mother.

Happy Birthday!! I love the credit you give to the wonderful woman who brought you into this world, and the wink at the daddy too.

swamp elf said...

Happy Birthday. Everyone needs a self indulging therapy "session." And what a beautiful one yours is. There are so many things we can take away from your post...to do something for someone or an organization that has helped us, that vocalizing our pain makes the hurt go away just a little - at least for a few seconds, that when we're hurting, helping someone else is one of the best cures for that hurt...just to name a few "lessons" you have shared with us.
THANK YOU !

Smart Mouth Broad said...

QTP-Not surprising that you feel that way. I could probably say the same about your mom and dad. In a family as large as ours and living in different towns, it makes it difficult to really get to know our relatives. As kids, we were really only interested in our cousins. LOL Thanks for the birthday song!

Lo-Oops! Sorry about that. You are absolutely, she did live life to its fullest.

MLS-You're quite welcome! *wink* Thanks for EVERYTHING!

Only a Movie-I'm sorry about your friend. I hope your experience with Hospice was as positive as enriching as mine was. Thank you for visiting and I do hope your will come back again.

Thistle-Thanks for the inspiration. **muahhh**

Pseudo-Thanks for the bd wishes. The bd would not have been possible without them. *wink*

Swampy-No, thank you. PS. I got a Rockettes Christmas CD for my birthday that made me not so jealous of your recent trip to NYC. Haha!

Laura said...

Thanks for the moving post. Sharing of ourselves, yes, that truly is a wonderful gift (that is if we are not so annoying that our staying home is really a better gift).

I'm sorry for your continued loss.

Midlife Mama said...

Well happy birthday to you!! :)

And awwww....{{{{{{Big Hug}}}}}}}

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Laura-Well, I guess it remains to be seen if I'm annoying or not. I'll definitely blog all about it if I'm thrown out. LOL Thanks for visiting my site and I hope you'll come back again soon.

Mama-Thanks so much.

smiles4u said...

I totally forgot to wish you a Happy Birthday...so happy belated birthay wishes to you my dear friend. Many hugs and much love being sent your way! Lori

Stepping Thru said...

SMB, you are an amazing woman as apparently your sweet Mother was. You will find that you receive as much or more than you give when you put your whole heart into it. Thank you for the beautiful post. Bless your precious heart!

Vodka Mom said...

that was an amazing post. Yeah, I can identify with you. We lost my FIL to Liver cancer, after a bout with colon cancer. I lost both my parents young, and have walked that walk with grief.

hugs to you.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Smiles-No worries. Muahh! Thank you very much.

ST-Not really so amazing but I thank you anyway. :-)

VM-Thank you so much.

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